Given that everyone from Apple to Samsung to BlackBerry has posted disappointing sales for their flagship devices over the past year, it shouldn’t be surprising that smartphone buyers as a whole aren’t feeling the same excitement about new devices that they were just a few years ago. The Wall Street Journal reports that new research from UBS shows the rate of smartphone upgrades declined by 9% year-over-year in 2012 and is projected to decline by another 2% year-over-year in 2013.
The Journal says one reason why many users are upgrading their smartphones less often is that they don’t see any compelling innovation in new iPhone or Galaxy models that make them want to trade up. Mobile carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile have started making it easier for users to upgrade their devices, but the Journal notes that many analysts think the high-end market for smartphones is simply too saturated at this point to create the same kind of buzz that Apple’s iPhones used to generate.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere tells the Journal that the next wave of popular mobile computing devices is just around the corner, however, in the form of smartwatches and other wearable devices.
“I heard this same assessment by the equipment manufacturers right before Apple launched the iPhone that we’ve seen everything we could see,” Legere claims. “There is a whole new generation of wearable devices coming that are going to have some impact on the industry.”