Another year… Another Smartphone
Like clockwork latest iterations of flagship smartphones are being launched by Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC, Moto and many more vendors on an annual basis
In a never-ending race to differentiate their products & maintain consumer momentum in saturated markets; vendors are constantly ‘tweaking’ their smartphones
Sure enough; these latest smartphone iterations sport new features (water resistance capability, modular add-on capabilities, dual screen), component improvements (dual camera, brighter display, higher memory & battery capacity) and perhaps even the odd hardware omission (G’bye 3.5mm audio port)
As with every new launch; most consumers tend to scrutinize each and every one of these device features to evaluate the overall upgrade benefits
But one feature stands above all for data-reliant users… updated cellular & wireless modules
Carriers are constantly upgrading & updating their network
Wireless Carriers worldwide are working non-stop to upgrade their networks with an intention of providing increased bandwidth, lower latency & expanded coverage to an ever-expanding army of data-reliant devices on their network.
Your local friendly Carrier could be…
- Upgrading the network from 2G > 3G > 3.5G > 4G LTE > 4.5G LTE-A
- Re-farming older Spectrum
- Implementing Carrier Aggregation, Beam Forming, 4X4 MIMO, QAM
- Installing Dark Fiber / Microwave / other backhaul infrastructure
- Investing in Small Cells across dense urban areas
…and other such network upgrades & optimization initiatives.
Smartphone vendors, chipset OEMs & carriers work closely to plan, design and embed these latest network features into successive iterations of smartphones & other data-reliant devices
Exemplifying network advancements with the iPhone
From the above example we can visualize how the original iPhone has transitioned from a ‘single-carrier / limited GPRS cellular’ smartphone to almost a ‘world phone’ in it’s latest iteration (iPhone 7); packing a dizzying array of global cellular support.
All other latest iOS & hardware benefits (or lack thereof) aside, one could easily establish the acute limitations of using an iPhone 4s in today’s advanced network environment. In the U.S alone, the iPhone 4s couldn’t support modern LTE features; leave alone inter-Carrier interoperability or even world phone capabilities
The same trend holds true for modern smartphones from Samsung, HTC, LG, et al.
Consumers upgrading to the latest Carrier-compatible smartphones not only achieve faster speeds, higher bandwidths & increased coverage through the aforementioned technologies but also gain access to latest network features such as VoLTE, VoWiFi / WiFi calling, etc…
…further powering consumers’ data-dependent activities (HD video streaming / conferencing, multiplayer gaming, or even streaming music)
Simultaneously other (short-range) wireless protocols that have seen advancements too. These include 802.11ac WiFi with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC; that support ultra fast wireless, m-Payment and connected accessories
Upgrade frequency would vary by the pace at which local Carriers are updating & upgrading their networks. CAPEX/OPEX discussions aside; many markets are seeing notable changes to their wireless network almost on an annual basis
Tomorrow’s “5G” deployment benefits today’s smartphones
The fact that many Carriers are on a quest to deploy some level of operational “5G” network as early as possible further accelerated the rate of network advancements
As briefly mentioned in an earlier Drones post; “5G“ isn’t just ‘one protocol’… but a combination & culmination of wireless (& perhaps even back haul) protocols that the Carriers are deploying on an ongoing basis to achieve the final goal in the near future
So until a full “5G-capable” iPhone or Galaxy is realized in the near future; you could be assured that the technologies (thereof) that makeup “5G” will be surely be embedded until then
And the best thing… once upgraded to a new smartphone; there are several ways you could maximize the value of your old one.