You get the iPhone, I’ll get the mortgage – the rising price of smartphones

A folding dream

Samsung Galaxy Fold
Samsung Galaxy Fold

The only sure things in life are death, taxes and rising smartphone prices, at least if the past few years are anything to go by.

From the likes of the iPhone 4 costing an average of around $500/£500/AU$860 in only 2010, to prices on some phones soaring over $1,900/£1,800/AU$4,500 now with the introduction of newcomers such as the Huawei Mate X and Samsung Galaxy Fold, it can widely be seen that the situation is becoming, on the surface, egregious.

But why has this happened? What has caused these changes, and how can we expect things to pan out in future?

A folding dream

But it’s not just about companies improving the profit margins of their devices. What do the Galaxy Fold and Mate X have in common beside a high price point?

They are both the byproduct of millions spent in R&D. What defines the Huawei P30 Pro? A camera zoom unit created by teams of engineers working near the top of their game.

Building a top smartphone in 2019 requires premium materials, precise craftsmanship, a polished software experience and more – the consumer expects everything. And for everything comes a hefty price rise, one which needs to be passed back to Joe Public.

That isn’t to mention the essential marketing spend, and a changing global economy. Whether depreciating currencies, trade wars, inflation or otherwise, the costs of development and manufacturing have only risen – and will likely continue to do so at least throughout the near future.

An impeccably-made, steel-sided iPhone that feels like jewelry in the hand, with a top-of-the-line OLED screen, an incredible camera and a powerful chipset is a wonderful dream, however it is also an expensive one both for the manufacturer and the consumer.

The shape of the future

So the price of manufacturing is rising, the global market is shrinking and the fruits of continued R&D spending are becoming less frequent, what does this mean for the average Joe?

The saturation of the market has seen a change in the idea of what a ‘smartphone’ is. From being something of a luxury commodity in 2010, personified by the ‘cult’ of the iPhone, now a smartphone is something everyone and their grandmother possesses. They simply aren’t special anymore. More

By Sean Cameron

techradar.com