@pete, I think you are right. As much as everyone wants to believe the big momentum smartphones brought to the industry will continue and possibly morph into the next big thing, that might well be a wishful thinking. The industry needs something new.
The observation that the patent wars in mobile are being settled is astute. This is yet another indicator that the industry is entering maturity and, consequently, stagnation. Volume shipment growth rates have been declining for several quarters, and the volume has now plateau'd for smartphones. There's simply not enough distinction in features and functionality to merit competition on anything but price at this point. You can even see it in the service offerings - lots of cut rate smartphone plans are being offered (though they tend to be bait & switch.)
Consumer discretionary income just isn't there anymore. To see growth again, smartphones will need to demonstrate genuine additional value. They won't get there by 'innovating.' The smartphone developers will have to outright Invent something new and exciting.
@zewde, not necessarily. The point is that allies and foes in the multi-faceted business (where Google, Samsung and Apple are all involved in) could change at the moment's notice.
For example, the Financial Times earlier this week reported:
Rockstar's eight suits, all filed in East Texas, encompassed patents relating to Google's core search advertising business, as well as a handful of other mobile technologies such as messaging and user interface design.
Other Android vendors hit by the legal claim included HTC and LG, but last week Huawei and Rockstar filed a joint motion to dismiss their individual case, suggesting that the two companies had agreed a settlement.
Now, yes, this all seems like the forces to put Google/Samsung against Rockstar indeed exists.
But get this. To make the matter confusing further, even Rockstar is bringing Google to its camp when it comes to certain lawsuits. The FT reported:
In December, Google fired a counter-complaint against Rockstar in San Jose, California. Then on New Year's eve 2013, Rockstar added Google as a co-defendant to its Texas suit against Samsung, over the Galaxy Nexus smartphone that the two companies designed in collaboration.
Go fiture. Things aren't as clear cut as we all want to believe.
This deal may have nothing to do with the Rockstar Consortium, but given the fact that Apple is a part of one and Samsung is part of the other, the temptation is going to be there to pit them against each other. It fits into an Android versus iOS narrative.