Charles Arthur, whose column appears in The Guardian, crafts an insightful quarterly smartphone scorecard. Below is the latest installment, published on his site, The Overspill. It’s an eye-opening read, and below I’ve pulled out my favorite sentences.
Premium Android and the piranhas
“Premium” Android is getting torn apart, piranha-style. Cheaper phones from Chinese companies such as Xiaomi, Huawei, OnePlus, and Oppo are taking away their high-end Chinese business. Slowdowns in developing countries (notably south America) are killing sales there.
And in the west, there isn’t the same appetite for continued upgrades that there was; people are upgraded out. […]
The peculiar thing is that Samsung is throwing everything it has at the premium end. You can now choose (depending on location) from the following:
- Galaxy S6
- Galaxy S6 Edge
- Galaxy S6 Edge Plus
- Galaxy Note 5
and that’s just this year’s models. […]
The iPhone, meanwhile, pulls people in and generally keeps them there too. […]
The point of no return?
I don’t think the crash in premium Android sales is a one-off. The competition from low- and mid-priced devices is fierce now, and yet these companies don’t seem to be putting any clear blue water between them; they’re not offering anything better than they did a year ago. […]
More than ever, the smartphone business is turning into one where only two companies make money from handsets – and increasingly, only one gets the top-end business. For the rest, they need something new to come along that they can get into and make some profit.