Is the Samsung Galaxy era over? Are smartphones dying?

samsung galaxy s9 plus review both
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The smartphone industry could be in for troubled times ahead, according to Samsung’s readings of its financial results from the first quarter of this year.

Despite posting solid increases in revenue and profits as a whole, the majority of Samsung’s growth at the start of this year came from demand for its memory chips, which can power anything from servers to smartphones. Thanks to an increase in demand for these chips, Samsung has seen a rise of 20 percent in revenue and a 58-percent jump in operating profits.

Yet all may not be well for the smartphone industry as a whole. Despite the surge in the popularity of its chips, Samsung saw a drop in demand in more specific components for smartphones, a trend it attributes to an industry-wide slowdown in smartphone upgrades and a rejection of more expensive and premium smartphones by consumers worldwide.

It’s a trend we’ve watched grow over the past year. Demand for the iPhone X was below expectations according to multiple reports, and the latest figures suggest that Apple’s greatest-ever iPhone is being outsold by three-year-old iPhones. While that’s still business for Apple, it’s not a great look for the expensive iPhone X, and Samsung would have us believe it’s a trend that will grow over the next year in the mobile industry.

Samsung has seen a specific drop in the demand for flexible OLED panels, and a rise in competition from more traditional rigid LCD panels. OLED panels — which are required for displays with curved edges, like those seen in the Samsung Galaxy S9 — are generally associated with more expensive, premium smartphones, and a rise in competition from less technically advanced LCD screens signals an increase in demand for lower-priced models across the market.

As pointed out by others, innovation within the mobile market has slowed, and it’s getting harder for smartphone manufacturers to differentiate newer models from old. Add to that the general increase in quality and an increase in the lifespan of phones and it seems that most people are no longer seeing the need to upgrade as often as before. The pressure will be on companies with a large stake in the mobile business to prove why consumers need to spend their money on a new product.

As for Samsung, it seems that the electronics giant is well spread across the entire tech industry, and shouldn’t be too affected by a predicted slump in phone sales in the second quarter of the year. Still, it might be wise to expect discounts on the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus going forward, as Samsung will likely hope to shift a few more of its newest phones.

Product Review

Now that every speaker has Alexa, don't you want the best? Get the Sonos One

To compete in the smart speaker space, Sonos could have just made a better-sounding Alexa speaker. But the company has a reputation to uphold, and went much further. Our Sonos One Review reveals how Sonos does Alexa better than Amazon.

Toyota leads $1 billion investment in Uber’s self-driving tech division

In a move that has been a long time coming, Uber filed its S-1 documents, which sets the stage for the company to finally go public with an initial public offering. The company could be valued at more than $100 billion.

Microsoft reveals details of Surface Hub 2S, coming in June at $9,000

The Surface Hub 2 could be the most expensive whiteboard ever made, but it should be a powerful and capable one. With the ability to connect several of the 50-inch displays together, the picture at least, should be gorgeous.
Movies & TV

Disney debuts the first photos from Star Wars series The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau's live-action Star Wars series planned for Disney's streaming video service, will be one of the most expensive television shows ever made. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Samsung Galaxy Fold woes, zombie pigs, and more

Today's topics: Samsung Galaxy Fold, Facebook A.I. voice assistants, YouTube comes to Fire TV, facial recognition on airline flights, the SpaceX DART program, Yale's zombie pigs, and much more!

Samsung Galaxy S10 update gives manual control of Bright Night mode

Samsung 2019 flagship smartphone lineup is here, and there aren't just two phones as usual — there are four. There's the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, as well as a new entry called the S10e, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G.

Apple iPads and iPad Pros get price cuts up to $150 on Amazon

In the market for a new iPad? Now might be the time to buy -- Amazon has discounted a range of iPad models, including the 10.5-inch, 11-inch, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, plus the standard iPad.

The excellent Moto G6 is just $99 from Google Fi for a limited time

Getting a cheap smartphone can be a great way to squeeze value out of your dollars. Motorola's Moto G-range has always been good value, but never better than this: Get the Moto G6 for just $99 from Google Fi.

Keep your huge phone beautiful with the best iPhone XS Max cases

Apple's iPhone XS Max might be the best large phone the company has ever released. But a bigger OLED display and body means there's more glass to crack. Keep your massive phone safe with the best iPhone XS Max cases.

Ultra Wideband is here, and you can use it with the 5G Moto Mod (and save $150)

5G is rolling out in the U.S., and Motorola’s Moto Z3 is one of the few phones that can use it. Select people can take advantage of Verizon’s 5G service and enjoy a $150 discount with the purchase of a Moto Z3 and 5G Moto Mod bundle.

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a few months off, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.

The 15 most stylish iPhone docks and charging stands for your device

The right iPhone dock does more than just hold your phone. If you’re looking for the perfect dock for your bedroom, or one to sit discretely on your office desk, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here.
Product Review

The Xperia 10 Plus feels great in your hand, but you'll still want to put it down

There has never been a better time to buy a smartphone with an unusual design, and one of the cheaper models out there vying for your attention is the Sony Xperia 10 Plus, with its 21:9 aspect ratio screen.

How to save yourself money by buying a refurbished iPhone

There’s a lot to consider when you’re looking for a new iPhone, and it can be very expensive. Save yourself some heartache and some money with our guide on how to buy a refurbished iPhone.