Few days ago we discussed the Saturation in sales of High End SmartPhones. The high end consumer is complaining that the hardware spec is a marketing gimmick and refusing to upgrade. Amidst this backdrop, can the mobile handset makers give consumers a reason to buy new handsets ?
‘Battery Life Consumers’ most frequent complaint about smartphones is battery life, and yet all the new features in today’s flagship smartphones add features that many consumers believe do not improve user experience – but meanwhile shorten battery life. Most Mobile Apps are still based on dual-core architecture, so their performance on quad-core processors is not optimized. As such, quad-core processors are unlikely to have better performance than dual-core processors, but the former is likely to cause shorter battery life.
There is a big wave of migration of screen resolution, as we are seeing a shift from 720P to 1080P for high-end smartphones (HTC One, LG Optimus G Pro, Sony Xperia Z, ZTE Grand S), which pushes high-end smartphones from around 300 plus PPI to 400 plus PPI at a 5-inch device. However, we do not believe such migration improves user experience. In fact, over 330 PPI, human eyes can’t really detect the difference, which is why Apple called its iPhone display “Retina” because the higher resolution would not have made a difference to users.
On cameras, reports suggest that 13MP as having inferior performance vs. the 5MP / 8MP camera due to small pixel size of 13MP (1.1um). Engineering Teams believe that 5MP camera will have better performance than 8MP, which is in turn better than 13MP. This is also why HTC started to use the low-resolution 4MP camera with a large pixel (2.0 um) to improve its overall camera performance rather than moving to 13MP.
With Apple likely unlikely to launch an attractive product for 2013, we believe most iPhone users will stay put with their current iPhone due to their familiarity with the user interface and Apple’s robust ecosystem. This doesn’t mean a benefit to Android camp either. Overall, high-end growth becomes much slower and Mobile Engineers must innovate giving a meaningful reason for consumers to upgrade.