MWC 2015 brought some great mobiles to the surface. Revelation of phones like Samsung’s S6 and S6 edge and Microsoft’s Mid-range 1022 were positively received by most and I too felt the same. But that event left me thinking, ‘at the end of the day, it’s just a flat, rectangular phone with minimum buttons and a big screen, isn’t it?’ S6 removed some of the key features that were incorporated last time, like removable batteries and expanded storage. The removal of these features made flagship series more stereotypical. But it’s not just Samsung Mobile – more or less every manufacturer seems to be heading the same way with their ‘unique’ design. Plastic or metal body, 4” or 5” screen, black or white, the bottom line design is still the same.
All this I believe is due to three reasons, meeting expectations, decreasing the risk and saving more money.
People buy smartphones not to sell them the next month. They want their pricy set to last at least a year. Also, not everyone has tendency to take risks. Another thing is that lower margins give manufacturers less room to work with something new. All of these factors combined sort of compel the manufacturers to stick to the basics.
Removable battery means a mandatory back cover with fixtures. It also means more costs in battery insulation and connectivity. Then there are SD card slots. They require gaps in casing and board. Similarly, a single USB port replacing charging and data ports is an example of cost reduction whilst offering a simpler design.
Decreasing the Risk Factor
There’s also a possibility of someone failing with a new approach and finding himself in the middle of blame game. There’s no longer that air of trying something new like Nokia, RAZR and Siemens did a decade ago. The current, flat design has become somewhat a standard in the industry. Expect it stay around for at least another couple of years. The only change I’m expecting in the next few years is along the lines of S6 Edge. With Apple, Samsung and HTC being the big names in smartphone market, small timers are left with very limited options – either to innovate and possibly fail, or follow the industry leaders.