This month is pretty much draws a line under what has come before for smartphones, and defines where the market heads in future. Today saw Nokia and Motorola launch bigger, better models, with new features. But, will the public bite and will they matter in just a few months time as Apple awaits?
Motorola on a Roll
One time kings of the mobile market, Motorola has been looking to win back users with a series of increasingly impressive devices since the original Razr. The new Droid Razr HD from the now Google-owned Motorola comes with a larger 4.7-inch SuperAMOLED HD screen, a bigger battery (unless you own a Razr Maxx) and the promise of 24 hours usage.
Packing Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and Google's Chrome browser, there is a lot of power inside the executive-styled design, but is that enough to make anyone rush out for an upgrade, or to abandon their rival device for a Motorola? Even the promise of an imminent upgrade to Jelly Bean is just par for the course.
Nokia Not Out, Yet
Pretty much as seen yesterday, Nokia took to the stage and launched the Lumia 920, despite a hiccup with the webfeed that left viewers in the cold. Powered by Windows Phone 8, Nokia has good reason to hope for a serious boost to Lumia sales which have now hit 7 million in a little under a year.
UPDATE: Nokia will roll out Windows Phone 8 Lumia devices on 2 November with AT&T, after the official WP8 launch on October 29
To cover a wider section of the market, there is also the Lumia 820, a mid-range and more compact device. But, you know a company is kind of lost when it thinks announcing deals with airlines to put wireless rechargers in their lounges is important. Just how tiny a percentage of the potential user base does that sort of gimmick really appeal to?
Nokia will be hoping to make more of an impact with its free music streaming service, that was announced before the main event. But, again, most users already have a sizeable music collection or are happy with existing services, signing up for another one is just a hassle many don't need. Nokia's stock price plummeted after the reveal, suggesting investors aren't convinced either.
The Falling Apple
For Apple, whatever it does with the iPhone 5 at its 12 September event, it must be slightly boring to know they'll crush this opposition on the first day of sales. However, in the big scheme of things, the only way is down in terms of hype, market share and prestige value. A slightly bigger screen is hardly cause for a big whoop. More power? Who really needs it? Better maps? Yawn!
While Apple has a huge advantage over the likes of Nokia and Motorola, a sizeable percentage of iPhone 4S owners are part way through their two-year contract. With the move to tablets (on recent trips, I've seen large numbers of owners taking their iPad or Nexus out and using it as a camera and social media device on the go), a new phone is less of a must-have.
Yes, Apple will still sell many millions of iPhone 5s, but as the overall concept of the smartphone matures and stagnates, users will have fewer reasons to get excited, enthused and sucked in. Samsung seem to have hit the right note with the in-between Note device, so it perhaps in TV or another area that Apple will look too for its next multi-billion dollar business.