They're just bigger and faster. Emphasis on the big. In fact, many "phones", like the faintly ludicrous Samung Galaxy S3 or its galumphing 5.3-inch brother, the Galaxy Note, are just far too gigantic to even pretend to count as phones anymore. They just make you feel like that Trigger Happy TV guy.
And then there's battery life. Without making phones weird shapes (hello, iPhone 5), it's becoming harder and harder to make them do everything you want while keeping the slim form factor.
The HTC One X, in particular, was a phone I had my eye on for a while, but with running Android 4.1, a phone network, cookies, push email, various sideloaded apps and goodness knows what else, it's gaining a bit of a reputation for a particularly short battery life.
And at the end of the day, I'd really rather just be able to use my phone as nature intended - to phone people - rather than find my battery running out at 5pm because I used Flash a few times.
I've compared notes with a few people on this one, and it seems I'm not the only one thinking this way. There seems to be a growing trend for saving a load of money on enforced two-year phone contracts by either sticking with what you've got (I'm on SIM-only for a tenner a month, by the way, keeping my humble HTC Desire as a Twitter mule) or buying a budget-end smartphone to cover the basics. Both options enable the addition of a £200 tablet while saving around £300 total on a two-year contract.
Mobile phones just aren't wowing us like they used to. Instead, they're holding us back. We don't want to read glorified RSS feeds for our news, or check carefully what apps to use on account of them being "battery drainers".
We don't want to struggle with Angry Bird clones because screens and virtual buttons won't allow any other form of entertainment. We don't want to squint at the latest episode of Breaking Bad while our battery bleeds out after only a two hour train ride.
It certainly feels like Apple's smelling the coffee on the small tablet issue. While it's hardly innovation central over there at the moment, the iPad Mini feels like the company's first real concrete concession to having to keep up with the Joneses, appearing begrudgingly on the high street the other week in a clear attempt to take a bite out of the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD's growing market.
It's almost possible to see a future where a "phone contract" will comprise a lovely slim 7" tablet, 3G or 4G SIM installed, while the actual talking bit is simply a removable, wearable bluetooth earpiece of some kind.
That fits into the BYOD "perfect future" where we all just bring a tablet into the office, stick it next to a terminal and use it to do all our work.
Then we can download our lunch, save our work documents onto our own DNA, and ride home on the back of a reanimated dinosaur.
While some of the above may be a little further off, I wouldn't be surprised if the feature-stuffed smartphone fades away in the next few years, as we all begin to remember that size actually does matter after all.
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