Dear Smartphone Makers.

published on August 2, 2020

Dear smartphone companies carrying on from my video on the frankly abysmal naming of smartphones welcome to eight more things that I really think they would benefit from number eight there is such thing as launching the too many models if you imagine all smartphone

Users together as this massive pool of people here then you can see how launching multiple phones can make sense if each has a different selling point it does allow a company to appeal to as much of this pool as possible but the

Issue is that the more phones you launch the more these phones are going to overlap with each other and what that means for customers is confusion each individual model loses memorability and significance and just the fact that your

Company now has to scatter their support across so many different phones means that by its very nature that support is going to be less good Samsung is pretty guilty of this they released approximately 40 smartphones in 2019

Alone and to someone who isn't in the know if this lineup is almost impossible to navigate take the Galaxy Note series mate used to be one phone and it would be the best firm the company makes full stop if you bought a note phone you

Could rest easy knowing that you'd bought one of the most powerful mobile devices out there but then in 2019 Samsung went from making one note phone to making four different variants and top it all off a fifth one a few months

Later which Ashley had very little to do with the other four phones in the lineup these aren't bad phones just confusing ones and confusion is one thing but more importantly is just this splitting of resources that has to happen then

Instead of focused companies like oneplus that provide every model of their phones with pretty much three years of guaranteed updates Samsung has developed a bit of a reputation for giving just one to a lot of its

Mid-range phones and that to delivering them as late as four months after some other companies Apple uses this concept but to its advantage they focus their efforts on a tiny number of models each year which means yes they give up being

Able to appeal to everyone but the upside is that people can at least keep track of the current iPhone lineup at any given time and the Apple can afford to keep each of these phones up to date with a five whole years after launch

Number seven avoid price cuts as customers we love the concept of a price cut and the idea of paying less for something that's worth more however whilst putting a phone on sale will sell more units in

The short term and price cuts become a bit of a trap nice one of LG's biggest failings was that they would launch a phone at one price let's say nine hundred dollars and then just four months in it would be on

Sale for half the price now that might sound great people will buy thinking that they've got a bargain in getting this phone of $400 but over time as this pattern repeats itself nobody's gonna want to pay the full nine hundred

Dollars for the phone LG has implicitly devalued their own products and this is why Apple launches at one price and sticks with it for the whole year it doesn't even matter if your phone is not initially making a whole lot of profit

Because over the course of that year the cost of production will keep falling as components get cheaper you might know if you've ever tried to sell an old iPhone that they retain their value far better than Android equivalents and this lack

Of price cuts on Apple's end is part of the reason why number six is hyper competitive marketing the last few years have seen small phone companies getting smarter sneakier and social media is playing a bigger role than ever in

Driving hype but some companies just take it too far it's one thing to build a great product and then to create adverts that showcase how good it is but a lot of the marketing that I see now has boiled down to hey you your

Smartphone is not good enough buy ours instead and this ultra competitive behavior can come across as a bit petty while teasing their new x2 smartphone with a 120 Hertz display Yami's Poker brand created a website

That checks the refresh rate on your current screen and basically found some way to tell you it sucked if you had a standard 60 Hertz refresh rate it literally shames you asking you how you feel to be using a technology that's two

Decades old like ouch and even if you have a 120 Hertz refresh rate phone it then asks you whether you feel good about having spent too much money on it another example would be the VP of Xiaomi publicly calling out

Another company as copycats whether or not it's true is not really important you want to come across like you couldn't care less what other brands are doing because your product is so good that you don't need to retaliate it

Doesn't matter and the worst part of this hyper-competitive marketing is so many times companies can't hold themselves to it they'll make such bold claims that they literally end up eating their own words a year later think of

The number of companies that use Apple's removal of a headphone jack to make a quick joke only then to follow suit with that exact same move in there next model or the companies who made fun of others for being too expensive only

To then start dialing up the prices of their own phones even this upcoming poco phone that's ridiculing the displays of other phones it's only a matter of time before sharmee eventually released his another

Normal two decade old sixty Hertz display phone and so really they're just going to end up making fun of themselves I'm not saying Apple make some sort of otherworldly smart phone they don't but their marketing is fantastic that's the

Reason that in 2019 even though they shipped less than fifteen percent of global smartphone units they made over sixty percent of global smartphone profits they practically pretend other brands don't exist in their trailers and

Their videos and that makes their phones come across as being incomparable and that's a profitable strategy number five a phone in 2020 needs to have not just a good screen a good battery good camera but also a set of other services and

Products surrounding it an ecosystem the way I think about it is this almost every single person that buys a smartphone has an already existing tech ecosystem the computer and the air phones they already have as well as the

Products their friends and family use there are many phone companies like oneplus who offer a smart phone that fits nicely into your existing product lineup but even better would be a phone that cannot just fit but complement the

Tech products you already own and Samsung is one of the few Android companies I could see running with this idea Android uses are pining for a feature that allows them to send stuff as simply as Apple's airdrop can and

Samsung is finally delivering with something called quick share but imagine if this could work between not just Samsung phones but also Samsung phones and your Windows laptop that'll be a killer feature and I reckon it's coming

Samsung recently announced a partnership with Microsoft which I reckon means Samsung will start to gain exclusive tie-in features with Windows and the opportunities are endless here but just as an example what if you could use your

Galaxy Note smartphone as a literal stylus input for your computer instead of spending $200 on a drawing slate if this phone can replicate that functionality it drastically improves the value proposition of buying Samsung

Phones Samsung's already got their own Galaxy buds earphones and their own set of laptops and tablets too so if they really push these to make them fantastic standalone products in their own categories and then make sure that those

Work really well with their phones then there drastically increasing the value of their products together now number four if you are gonna give your phone a regional variant then do it

Wholeheartedly many Chinese companies for example create both a China version of their phones and an international version Xiaomi last year came out with the redmi k20 and this was a brilliant phone but then confusingly a few months

Later released the exact same device in the West the label as the Xiaomi me 9t as it is this in itself is already a puzzling move you've got to remember we're living in the age of the internet even though this redmi k20 was only

Intended for asian markets this is the phone everyone ended up reviewing and talking about and so when they eventually released it as the me 90 the biggest thing I saw people talk about whether it was haven't I seen this

Before the point I wanted to make here is related to this it's that if a company is going to create regional variants then it would be great to see the software being tailored to Western taste and not just the name because

Let's face it different parts of the world have different requirements there are so many times when I come really close to recommending someone from the West a Chinese brand smartphone because a lot of them a great value but then I

Stop myself because I'm not sure they like the software before example image processing because of cultural norms in China a lot of Chinese phones are built around processing images in a way that smooth skin adds saturation and makes

Your eyes look brighter than they actually are even if you turn all Beauty modes off it doesn't mean these images are bad and in fact on a technical level I would say the camera hardware and shaumyan will always phones is some of

The best on the market but just the way the images are tuned makes me personally preferred daytime shots on Samsung or Apple's phones even just the way the user interface looks when you're releasing a product in a foreign country

It's important that it feels native and familiar to people there so instead of using the exact same software scheme that originated from China it would be great to see something that aligns better with what Android users want to

See here Samsung is a company that's actually done this really well they're a Korean firm but customers in the UK and US feel right at home on a Samsung device next up pay attention to haptics haptics are the simulated sense of touch

You get on smart phones that use small vibration motors on the inside and this might not seem important on the face of it but it's a massive part of what makes premium phones feel premium I can't even list the number of times I've picked up

A three to five and Dola phone started using it been really impressed by the display the camera the build quality only then to start typing and feeling this mushy whirring happening under the screen good quality

Haptics don't show up on a spec sheet so I can see why companies prefer to save some money and go cheap here but long-term just by spending an extra six dollars per unit a small phone company can make a transformational difference

To the quality of the experience number two the future is mapped or maybe textured you see glass is a relatively good material for use on the back of a smartphone it feels quality and unlike a metal back doesn't interfere with

Wireless charging but just leaving glass as it is has its caveat s' glossy glass shows fingerprints like crazy and from my experience swings wildly between being a sticky surface and then a worryingly slippery surface I would say

Oneplus has come to a nice compromise with the mapped coating they put on their glass smartphones and to be honest the absolute best I felt was the backs of the new iPhone 11 pros and let's be honest now that Apple has done it we're

Probably about to see a lot more of it from other companies but I'm not complaining I can't wait for that the one other really interesting example was the emerald green coloured huawei mate 30 pro while we used a textured matte

Finish towards the base of the phone where you would grip it which slowly transitioned into glossy at the top I think it's a great idea and linked to this it would be amazing to see a flagship smartphone that can safely be

Used without a case you know one that doesn't look like this surveys that have been done in the US show that literally 80% of smartphone users don't feel comfortable without a case that's that is probably the highest of any product

Group in existence if phone makers could use some of the more advanced technologies we see in cases to baked protective components into the design of phone then they can make sure that the end product still

Feels premium they'll have control over how end-users experience their products as opposed to leaving it up to $2 K sellers on Amazon and the protection wouldn't need to be crazy just a subtly placed rubber ring around the camera

Module would do wonders for example or all little padded dots in each corner of the back that would be so much better than feeling this constant need to cover up the back of your phone with what is effectively a glorified plastic sheet

Now for number one we're in the year 2020 why does call quality still suck I've lost count of the number of times I've been on a call and it sounds horrible it cuts off randomly all those times when it has just enough lag

That instead of feeling like you having a conversation with someone you feel like you're playing a game of trying to time words correctly modern smartphones try to address this with multiple microphones and noise reduction

Algorithms these help of course but the very nature of an algorithm means it can't filter out unexpected sounds like people talking around you only the monotone ones like a leaf blower and then even if your phone can record your

Voice properly the audio is compressed to be sent through traditional voice networks in real time and this is often an even bigger choke point phone companies have come up with technologies like HD Voice and volt EE and to be fair

Volte in particular has potential it uses LTE networks to send your voice instead of traditional voice networks and that's an improvement but it's still not great we're in an age where we can stream 1080p Netflix shows over data and

Play complex online multiplayer games but it's just bizarre that calling is where we draw the line so what can phone companies do there's a few options so a would be to work directly with Qualcomm for example the company that makes the

Communication chips inside of a lot of our phones just work with them to build a phone that has the best possible signal reliability and signal strength is might involve using less metal or different types of materials on the back

And using more antenna inside for consistency Samsung actually does this quite well and generally speaking Samsung phones score towards the top in terms of signal consistency or option B would be to develop a software solution

That either doesn't compress your voice as much or compresses it in a way that doesn't damage it as much most internet connections now are more than fast enough to have crystal-clear phone conversation and if someone can release

A smart phone that could guarantee reliable core quality I'd be willing to overlook a lot just to use it obviously a phone company like Samsung they can't redesign the entire phone infrastructure themselves but what they could do is

Build a calling app just for Samsung's it could be tuned from the ground up to take advantage of where Samsung has placed their microphones and the types of antenna they use they could definitely build something that was

Better than using a generic app that's built to work on every device and that's me done for now let me know if there's anything you would add to this list and if you haven't already seen it do check out the first episode of dear smart

Phone companies I think you'll like it and with that being said my name is Erin is mr who's the boss and I'll catch you in the next one

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