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We asked, you told us: Google and Apple no longer innovate on smartphones

Readers do believe that one company is more innovative than the other.

Published onJune 11, 2021

Google Apple logo EOY 2020
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Google and Apple are two pillars in the smartphone world. Without either company, it’s unlikely the smartphone landscape would resemble what it is today. Apple gave the world the first popular touch screen smartphone. Google is in charge of the OS that’s used on billions of devices. Both have brought innovations to the table in past years, but is either firm still as influential as before?

Related: 8 things iOS does better than Android

In a recent poll, we asked our readers their views on Google and Apple’s innovation in the smartphone space. Does either company still offer innovation on smartphones? Here’s what you told us.

Do you think Google and Apple still offer innovation on smartphones?


We ran this poll across our website, on Twitter, and over on YouTube. Each platform provided similar results, but readers on the website were more critical of the two companies. Nearly 47% of readers believe neither Google nor Apple offers innovation on smartphones. Just under 21% of readers believe otherwise. If they were to pick one company still bringing innovative features to the table, it would be Google. One in four readers (25.1%) believes the Android maker still contributes to the industry, while only 7.4% of readers side with Apple.

More reading: Is Android 12 Google’s most innovative mobile OS yet?

The votes were closer on Twitter. While 38.9% of readers believe neither firm innovates on smartphones, just over 30% believes the opposite. Again, though, Apple is seen to be the least innovative of the two companies.

Finally, YouTube results echoed what we’ve seen above. Around 42% of the respondents believe innovation is dead for both firms, with 29% feeling the opposite is true.

But if Google and Apple aren’t leading smartphone innovation in the industry, which companies are? Readers outline a few of their own theories below.

Here’s what you told us

  • Tony Talks: The only real innovation these days is from Chinese manufacturers. Google and Apple haven’t been innovating in a long time.
  • Avieshek: Innovation’s lately been only arriving from smaller companies including Chinese OEMs and their small experiments with their software including as-small-as ‘scrolling-screenshots’ as anything original – where Google wide spreads them like OCR and Apple polishes them as with iOS15 to macOS; otherwise, just look at the disappointment of an iPad as a glorified walled-garden for an infinite self-sustaining subscription source of earning though the hardware is there… in every way.
  • DigitalBenny: It’s a shame that HUAWEI was targeted for politics. They were without a doubt pushing innovation.
  • Varusal: It depends. Google really pushes through with some “innovation” in the software department. Apple does not really do anything innovative anymore, at least not something that would be called “innovative.” Overall I think the most innovations we get are from other companies like Xiaomi, Samsung, OPPO etc. In the recent years they showed a lot of new and interesting stuff, like foldable phones, Xiaomi’s alpha phone, rollable displays etc. Apple is good for having a “standard” like the privacy changes which forced Google to step up too.
  • EasyCare: Nobody has made any innovation (that is actually useful) recently. Smartphone in general has matured in many ways, and I believe innovation has declined in terms of demand. What people care the most are the basics; long-term support and most importantly, value. I see where Pixel 5 is aiming but it’s not yet there.
  • Takagi: Not for me. I think we’re already at a point where these so-called “new features” are just existing features named fancily, or enhanced (from one camera to multi-camera set-up, for example). I’ve been using my Galaxy Note 9 since 2019 and I still haven’t found any phone that’s a worthy replacement despite these “new features.” I might probably stick to it until it dies. Even the fancy features on Apple phones aren’t enough for me to make the switch.

That’s it for this poll. Thanks for voting and commenting. We imagine readers will have plenty to say about the topic and the results of the poll. If you have any additional thoughts about either, drop a comment down below.

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