In any industry, innovation is the name of the game. Unless you constantly innovate and stay ahead of the curve, the competition will not only catch up to you, but will also overtake you. Perhaps, no other industry embodies that sentiment more than the smartphone industry. There was a time when local manufacturers like Micromax, Karbonn, Intex and Lava enjoyed decent market share.
However, they weren’t able to keep up with the competition, and were overtaken by Chinese OEMs. This is one of the reasons why smartphone brands are constantly on their toes, watching their competitor’s every move, trying to remain one step ahead of everyone else.
Brands today offer innovative smartphone models, in an effort to woo the customers. Whether we talk about luxury models like the foldable devices offered by Samsung and Motorola, or the flagship models, such as Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, which comes with the state-of-the-art 108MP primary camera, brands continue to come up with different ways to offer a unique smartphone experience to the consumers.
But smartphone OEMs do not innovate just to offer a better user experience; we take a look at several reasons why smartphone brands are now launching innovative models one after the other.
The most obvious reason why smartphone manufacturers would focus on innovation, is because they want to capture the biggest piece of the pie in terms of market share. Over the past couple of years, Samsung has seen its grip over the Indian smartphone market loosen, which has opened doors for other brands to stake their claim on the Indian smartphone industry.
Xiaomi made the first move, and has been the top-selling smartphone brand in the country for the previous eight quarters. Brands are now leaning towards innovation to gain a competitive edge, and that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
OEMs will put in more features in upcoming mobile phones, while we will continue to see smartphone manufacturers tinkering with the hardware. Penta-rear camera arrays might soon become commonplace, while the more audacious brands can aim beyond 108MP camera resolution.
When it comes to innovation, particularly in the smartphone industry, there is no cap or threshold for the brands. The only hindrance is lack of imagination, but with smartphone manufacturers going great guns, we can soon see 3D and holographic smartphones becoming prevalent.
Companies care most about their bottom lines, and the only way any smartphone brand, in a price-sensitive market can justify hiking the price is by integrating new technology. For instance, one way of increasing the price of a handset is by embedding an iris scanner for unlocking the smartphone. Today, arguably the best phone under 20000 INR, Samsung M31, which was previously offered only with flagship models or premium devices.
This also helps smartphone brands in reducing manufacturing costs to an extent. The OEM can take a recent model, and “upgrade” it by offering an additional feature using innovative technology. It is a method smartphone brands adopt, thus offering consumers better smartphone models at relatively cheaper prices.
Last but not least, smartphone manufacturers want consumers to choose their models over their competitors’ handsets. At the end of the day, brands have to find some way to distinguish themselves; for instance, OPPO mobile comes with different features and shooting modes. Other brands might use artificial intelligence and machine learning to offer state-of-the-art features like face recognition and AI-powered cameras. Manufacturers can only separate themselves from other brands, and stand out from the crowd by offering innovative features.
Whether this is achieved through pop-up or shark-fin selfie cameras, or the now-alluring under-display selfie cameras, there has to be a unique selling proposition for brands to attract smartphone users. Every brand wants to be seen as the industry leader or a trailblazer, and one of the easiest ways to grab those bragging rights is by offering innovative smartphones with the latest, cutting-edge technology.
Additionally, the global smartphone base is expected to grow even more in the next two years, with the Indian smartphone user base alone expected to grow two-fold over the next 3-4 years. This would mean greater opportunity for the brands, and to truly take advantage of the situation, they have no other choice but to keep innovating.