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Feb 26, 2019 23:44:37


by @keenencharles | 485 words | 1🔥 | 216💌

Keenen Charles

Current day streak: 1🔥
Total posts: 216💌
Total words: 60736 (242 pages 📄)

I've been watching videos and reading articles about all the new phones being announced at Mobile World Congress this week. I've noticed many of the companies who've been struggling to compete with Apple & Samsung are now taking wild swings to differentiate their phones. Most of their ideas seem unlikely to work though.

It got me thinking if it's possible to innovate when the sole motivation is to be different. These companies are all trying to find something that can get consumers to choose their devices instead. They're trying to include more cameras, vein authentication (yes, you read that right), different shapes, and unique use cases. While cool, many of these ideas offer no significant advantage to existing solutions. But they're included anyway because they need something to hopefully sell their phones.

It's a tough position to be stuck in. You either compete on price, brand recognition, or innovation. Companies like OnePlus have carved a niche by having really low prices compared to phones in their range. Google has the brand recognition to create their own phones and attract enthusiasts. No one has really innovated their way into the Apple/Samsung dominance though.

Smartphones seem like they've reached a plateau. They've all converged on similar designs, specs, and functionality. There aren't many problems left to solve in the current form of smartphones. So the "innovations" companies do try are usually solutions for problems that don't exist.

It's the same issue that makers and startups need to be aware of. What problem are you solving? Is it a real problem and will people care that you've solved it? That's what separates innovation from cool gimmicks.

Originally published at keenen.xyz

  • 1

    @keenencharles The only breakthrough idea for smartphones I've seen recently is the foldable screen. Perhaps that will be the last iteration of the smartphone in its current form factor. You are right the plateau has been reached. I think a lot of people create a product and then go out and find the people who will use the product instead of the other way around. The key is to find the people, find the challenges, find the problems they have and provide the solution.

    Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | Feb 26, 2019 08:09:21
    • 1

      @brandonwilson I agree. Foldable screens are the only new idea I think has potential but it'll probably be a few years before it really takes off as the prices go down and the tech betters.

      "The key is to find the people, find the challenges, find the problems they have and provide the solution."
      Definitely and those new phones just showed me that it's not just makers and startups that need to follow this religiously. All the resources in the world won't make a solution without a problem truly successful.

      Keenen Charles avatar Keenen Charles | Feb 27, 2019 00:53:31
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