Smartphones: What's next? (The Next Big Thing, Episode 3)

Now that smartphones are commodities, what's next? Also: why you may finally wear a fitness wearable, and the hype and hope around flexible screens.

Awaiting you in this episode:

Smartphones have almost unarguably become commodities.
So what's next? Lost cost phones are a big trend to watch, bringing along the still large population that is stuck with "dumb phones" and not part of the always-on/always-on-you revolution.

Fitness wearables have arrived in a big way.
What was once a niche category focused on the extremely fit (or those who aspired to be) is now heading fast toward the crowd that just wants to sleep better or lose 5-10 pounds. But the smartwatch lurks out there, possibly ready to cannibalize the mainstream fitness band.

Flexible screens aren't.
At least not yet. The flex-screen devices that have hit the market lately are flexed by the factory not you, into curved products. But that isn't the same as a device that bends in your hand. We will tell you the three major directions flex screens are likely to bend, however.

E-mail me your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks for watching The Next Big Thing.

Read the full CNET Review

Apple iPhone 5S

The Bottom Line: With an identical design to its predecessor, and the same software you can now get on most iPhones, the iPhone 5S doesn't really offer enough to justify upgrading from the iPhone 5. If you're on older iPhones though -- or you're looking to take your first steps into Apple's world -- its astonishing power, excellent camera and fingerprint scanner make it a great option to consider. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Samsung Galaxy Round

Banish all skeptical apprehension about the Samsung Galaxy's round curved screen and back; the arched shape is an unexpected improvement. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Jawbone Up24

The Bottom Line: If having a screen or Android support isn't a priority, the Jawbone Up24's superb app, clever advice, and comfy fit are hard to resist. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Fitbit Force

The Bottom Line: The Fitbit Force leaps to the top of the fitness tracker heap, with a bright screen, comfortable fit, and a bevy of slick features. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Samsung Galaxy S4

The Bottom Line: Its laundry list of features require time and effort to truly master, but the Galaxy S4 is the top choice for anyone looking for a big-screen, do-everything smartphone. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Samsung KN55S9C

The Samsung KN55S9C is the second 55-inch curved OLED TV available for sale in the United States, but the first we've tested at CNET. And yes, it's the best display we've ever seen. Read the full review. / Read full review

About the author

Brian Cooley joined CNET in 1995 and always comes at technology from the real consumer's point of view. He brings his high energy, often skeptical style to all avenues of CNET coverage, with an emphasis on car tech. You'll also find him frequently on television, radio and the TV screens at Costco!

 

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The Next Big Thing

Consoles go wide and far beyond gaming with power and realism.