Will the current smartphones from Apple and Samsung be able to step up to the new competition they face? According to Steve Ranger of ZDNet, the industry is seriously lacking in the innovation department, and these giants are a big part of the problem. While up-and-coming manufacturers are busy cranking out more affordable products, fancier features, and unmatched industry innovations, Apple and Samsung appear to be sticking steadfast to the same strategies. Will smartphones move on without them?
Life is good for consumers looking for better specs on affordable phones. LG plans to debut its third generation L Series models at the upcoming Mobile World Conference in the end of the month. Raising the bar for low-end phones, even the humblest of the new L III, the L40, features a 3.5-inch display, a nice 3MP camera, a small but adequate 512MB of RAM, and a rather impressive 4GB of internal storage. These sturdy, reasonably well-equipped smartphones are poised to capture what little remains of new users in a market that is trending toward affordability over branding.
The new competition doesn’t stop there; if LG has a lockdown on new low-end users, others are jumping in to snatch the remainder of the new smartphones market with high-end phones to face direct competition with Apple and Samsung. Techies are abuzz over the new Xperia UL and Xperia Z2 from Sony. Also set to launch at the 2014 Mobile World Congress this month, the new models represent challenging innovations such as 5 inch screens and professional-level cameras. Sony is cranking out the innovations and upgrades faster than the market demand; a possible sign the brand believes they are ready to compete with brands in the turnover smartphones market.
The other contender that should have Apple and Samsung’s attention is Lenovo, who is on a record high and not expected to come down. Profits are up, mobile technology is up, and with their new acquisition of Motorola Mobility, their global competition is poised to rise as well. Meanwhile, Apple contently cranks out the iPhone for the 6th year in a row, Samsung is still satisfied with the nearly four-year-old Galaxy S series, and neither are generating the same excitement they once did.
Then comes the curveball; what if a handful of innovative new companies completely changed the game? Upstarts such as Phoneblocks, Project ARA and now ZTE might be doing just that.
The new face of the competition threatening the future of smartphones from Apple and Samsung might look a bit like Mr Potato Head. ZTE is pioneering a concept that environmentally-conscious consumers and techies are both begging for; customizable modular devices. The race has begun, and as of right now, there is still time for major brands to abandon their mass-produced models for a modular version with upgradable parts and be the first to reach the market. However, change is risky, and hesitant manufacturers may look at reinventing their brick phones as being as useless as reinventing the wheel, losing their place on top of the very competitive smartphones market.
By Mimi Mudd