2018, the Year of the Rugged Smartphone?

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The rate at which mobile phones have evolved has been incredible. In just a couple of decades we’ve gone from brick-sized handsets to wafer-thin multi-function minicomputer-type devices and, in the case of rugged smartphones, phones that are more svelte than a paperback novella but rugged enough to withstand the impact of a brick.

Yet despite this, 2017 was somehow a year in which many consumers got a little weary of all the smartphone hype. Of course, there is still a section of devoted tech-heads who await the next iteration of the iPhone, Galaxy or tough CAT phone with as much dedication and hysteria as the most impassioned football fan awaiting their club’s next big money player signing, but the rest of us are all understandably a little weary.

Perhaps it’s because nowadays we are all so accustomed to having our smartphones serve as our diaries, our cameras, our emailers, our web browsers and more that we don’t really take much time to appreciate the fact that it is only a decade ago that such power and potential in a single handheld device would once have seemed confined to the realms of science fiction 2018 Phones information.

But perhaps it is also partly because so many of us have been through the process of “grieving” for a lost or broken phone that we are no longer prepared to invest so much excitement and emotion into our handsets. After all, if you’ve spent £300+ on a smartphone only to drop and break it in one moment of absent-mindedness, it can be quite hard to summon the same levels of feeling for the next iteration of the device, even if it comes packed with new features and capabilities. In some ways it is analogous to being “burned” or “hurt” in a relationship; heartbreak can leave us scarred and damaged to such an extent that we become wary of forming new attachments with anything like the same intensity and enthusiasm.

Perhaps it is because of this that 2018 is set to be the year of the rugged smartphone. A rugged smartphone really is the antidote to the problems of the dropped and damaged or waterlogged device and is, in some ways, the antidote to much of the excessive consumerism that dogs the smartphone market.

This is because rugged smartphones really are – far from their flimsier designed-for-redundancy cousins – built to last. Tough smartphones actually give you confidence that you can form an attachment to your device because you can expect it not only to last but to serve you well in all environments – from the home and the workplace to the construction site and the great outdoors, no matter how wet, rugged or hazard-strewn these places might be.

2017 was a year in which consumers overwhelmingly demonstrated a growing preference for things that are made with love and made to last. People are tired of the shop-bought pap that passes for bread, they want sourdough; they are tired of plastic-packaged pesticide-contaminated vegetables from Tunisia, they want locally grown and organic produce; they are weary of clammy-hand inducing instant coffee, they want hand-roasted artisan coffee. The hipster has become well and truly mainstream, and the rugged smartphone agrees with the hipster outlook: it is no-nonsense and built to last and, crucially, because it does not need replacing every time it is dropped, or indeed even mishandled by a toddler, there is also an argument that it is more environmentally friendly than the alternative. It is easy to see why 2018 is set up to be the year of the rugged smartphone.