One would never think the day would come that homo sapiens would get bored of smartphones and seek excitement elsewhere. But 2020 has been a notable year, and it is the year that every smartphone maker is making smart TVs.
By “every smartphone maker”, at the last count, the list included Samsung, Sony, Xiaomi, Infinix, and even itel. They are all making big, shiny smart TVs now.
No; they have not stopped producing smartphones. They have not stopped selling and cashing out on smartphones. But they sure are investing in smart TVs, and that has to count for something.
The market is about demand and supply, so if smartphone brands are also becoming smart TV makers now, it must be because the demand is there.
But hold on. What is the difference between a smartphone and a smart tv, to start with? Minus the network radio and sin card slot, there is little difference. Basically, a smart tv is a giant smartphone. Well, more accurately, a smart tv is a giant tablet.
That sounds more like it; right? A big screen, Android operating system, a processor, RAM, WiFi, and connecting ports.
That leaves out network access, camera, and a battery. Besides the absence of those, a smart tv is a giant smartphone or tablet.
PS: note that not all smart TVs run Android as their operating system. There are a number of alternative operating systems in use, including: WebOS, Tizen, Roku TV, SmartCast, Harmony OS, and MyHomeScreen.
Bigger Is Better
Fellow Mobilista, EyeBeeKay, and I think that the current demand for smart TVs is tied to the human obsession with large displays. In EyeBeeKay’s words:
Whenever possible, it would certainly be more enjoyable to do on your TV what you would normally do on a smartphone.
I agree. Whether it is watching a movie or viewing fun family photos, everything is more enjoyable on a larger screen.
We have fawned over large screens on our smartphones in the last few years so much that even Apple, who had sworn to never make a big screen iPhone, capitulated and are making them in container loads. And they are selling too.
Our smartphone screens are so large that for most people, tablets don’t matter anymore. Thanks to thinethin bezels,a there are now 7-inch smartphones out there. The 7-inch tablet might as well die. And the 10-inch tablet might be on the way out too if we start seeing 8-inch and 9-inch phones.
So, we want our apps, websites, photos, and videos viewable on larger displays, and smart TVs deliver on that. We are definitely consuming more video content, and lots of people are switching from traditional television stations and channels to Internet TV services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
It could also be that everyone sitting at home in the middle of a global pandemic is a factor in this rise in demand of a big connected screen at home. COVID-19 is on record as having triggered more digital change than 5 years of preaching by digital evangelists have done. What a bug! What a mean bug!
Combining the above factors, the spike in demand for smart TVs is no surprise. Internet-connected big screeniscreens is what the world wants now. How high is the demand? For example, the 98-inch Redmi Smart TV Max sold 1,000 units in just under three-and-a-half minutes . Not bad.
In India, one of the world’s largest markets, smart TV shipments rose 15% in 2019 to hit 15 million units . The growth recorded there was made possible by affordable smart TV makers like TCL, Xiaomi, and others.
And as the demand rises, more smart TV makers are showing up.
List Of Smart TV Makers
Which smartphone makers are making smart TVs now? Here are some of the popular names.
The last two names on this list are not errors. Both Infinix and itel have announced Smart TV products, this earning their names on the list of Smart TV makers. The Infinix TV S1 is available in 43-inch and 55-inch versions.
Mind you, there are scores of other, lesser-known names in the smart TV business. It is a digital gold rush.
It sure looks like smart TVs are the next frontier for family-centric and home-centric connectivity.
Related: If you are new to Smart TVs, here’s a quick tutorial showing 2 easy ways to connect your Smart TV to the internet. It is best to get the knowledge; at some point you will buy one.
- The 98-inch Redmi Smart TV Max is a smash hit for Xiaomi as 1,000 units are sold in just under three-and-a-half minutes (Source)
- Smart TV shipments in India hit 15 million in 2019 (Source)
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.