Smartphone makers plan to mirror Apple's approach with fewer models each year

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Four major smartphone makers are reportedly planning to reduce the number of new handsets they produce, in an attempt to capture the success Apple has had in releasing just one iPhone model each year.



HTC, Research in Motion, Sony and Motorola Mobility are all for fewer smartphone models, DigiTimes reported on Friday, citing its industry sources in Taiwan. The companies allegedly plan to focus their resources and marketing on "designated models" instead of diluting the market with too many options.



The only major iPhone upgrade Apple introduced in calendar 2011 was the iPhone 4S. In the just-concluded holiday quarter, Apple is widely expected to have sold at least 30 million handsets, led largely by demand for the latest model.



"The strategy shifts come after Apple and Samsung Electronics have apparently managed to widen their market share against rival vendors by focusing on a single or some flagship models each year," the report said.



Apple's success has already been mimicked by Samsung, which found success in pushing its Galaxy S II smartphone in 2011. That handset sold 10 million units in its first six months, and Samsung is believed to have sold about 32 million smartphones in its record holiday quarter.









By focusing on fewer models, smartphone makers hope to be able to increase their sales, but also save money on development and marketing costs. The adjustments could also allow the companies to reach economies of scale in production, and be more efficient in obtaining components and shipping products.



The apparent change in strategies comes as the launch of the iPhone 4S helped to gain Apple significant market share in the U.S. One report released earlier this week said that Apple's share of smartphone sales in America grew from 26 percent in the third quarter of 2011 to 43 percent in the months of October and November.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 65
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    Too much trouble to proofread the first sentence
  • Reply 2 of 65
    as the point was missed in the article, producing 1 good HW device per year, allows you to concentrate your efforts on the SOFTWARE.

    This is what makes the difference, delivering regular, good updates that can also run on hardware that is 2 or sometimes 3 years old.



    Why can't the other device manufacturers get this? its all about the system you use. Cater your HW to the 90%, and deliver a good eco-system.
  • Reply 3 of 65
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,548member
    They are taking away choice. Sound the alarms!!!!!



    /s
  • Reply 4 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by seanie248 View Post


    as the point was missed in the article, producing 1 good HW device per year, allows you to concentrate your efforts on the SOFTWARE.

    This is what makes the difference, delivering regular, good updates that can also run on hardware that is 2 or sometimes 3 years old.



    Why can't the other device manufacturers get this? its all about the system you use. Cater your HW to the 90%, and deliver a good eco-system.



    Well, in the case of Windows Mobile and Android, the software vendor is separate from the hardware manufactures. Google and MSFT are able to fully focus on the software, but still manage to churn out half-assed builds. Good to see that Google is finally working on a style guide and helping developers make consistent good looking apps, should have been done years ago.
  • Reply 5 of 65
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,735member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by seanie248 View Post


    as the point was missed in the article, producing 1 good HW device per year, allows you to concentrate your efforts on the SOFTWARE.

    This is what makes the difference, delivering regular, good updates that can also run on hardware that is 2 or sometimes 3 years old.



    Why can't the other device manufacturers get this? its all about the system you use. Cater your HW to the 90%, and deliver a good eco-system.



    This seems to be what RIM has missed for the last 4 or 5 years. They've thrown darts in every direction trying to capture some of Apple's success but all they have managed to do is spend more developing multiple models and confused customers as to which BB they want. If I have to walk in and spend an hour figuring out which of the 6 or 7 BB models best fits my needs, I am more likely to spend 5 minutes figuring out if I want the iPhone in black or white. Choice may seem like a good idea, but it can (and does) act as a distraction to the customer and they will often end up doing in a completely different direction. Trying to be all things to all people is a big part of why RIM is where they are now. That and their Cheech and Chong co-CEO's having their heads firming implanted in their asses.



    But Android vendors may not have this luxury since they don't control the whole ecosystem, starting with the software.
  • Reply 6 of 65
    well I never!



    not only does Apple have to show the others how to make a great phone, they have to show them how to do business profitably.



    can Apple patent this new fangled business strategy?
  • Reply 7 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by seanie248 View Post


    as the point was missed in the article, producing 1 good HW device per year, allows you to concentrate your efforts on the SOFTWARE.

    This is what makes the difference, delivering regular, good updates that can also run on hardware that is 2 or sometimes 3 years old.



    Why can't the other device manufacturers get this? its all about the system you use. Cater your HW to the 90%, and deliver a good eco-system.



    It is easier said then done. HW companies have lots of HW engineers and no SW engineers. Traditionally these countries don't educate enough software engineers or designers.
  • Reply 8 of 65
    smart move. this will lead to better quality products.
  • Reply 9 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by seanie248 View Post


    as the point was missed in the article, producing 1 good HW device per year, allows you to concentrate your efforts on the SOFTWARE.

    This is what makes the difference, delivering regular, good updates that can also run on hardware that is 2 or sometimes 3 years old.



    Why can't the other device manufacturers get this? its all about the system you use. Cater your HW to the 90%, and deliver a good eco-system.





    True that.



    Overall this will be good for consumers -- we are deluged with four or five device names from each vendor which have three or even a dozen models and comparison shopping ends up a frustration. In the end, half the people end up deciding that "since we can't afford the iPhone, let's get the red one with the larger screen.' And that's how you end up with that abomination phone that has a million features and somehow doesn't ring when you set it down and you missed a dozen calls...



    ... I just hope that everyone has a Clamshell model available -- and SOMEBODY builds one that doesn't have the drag coefficient of a bar of wet soap. I mean, really? Does it dawn on designers that we grab a phone in the dark, and we want to know which end is up while it doesn't skitter across the floor because of course, there is nothing to grip when you open/slide/multi-click to get it to operate?



    It's too much to ask that they can deploy bumpers or an air bag - that would require innovation.



    So yes, if they all had a couple designs, and concentrated on software, they will have to distinguish themselves on interface design and unique functions;

    And THAT is how we've got 300 different ways to use a microwave and nobody does anything but use the timer on high.
  • Reply 10 of 65
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,875member
    The usual strategy for most companies is to throw a bunch of stuff on the wall to see what sticks. The challenge that these other companies will have to face in emulating Apple is that they now have to make the right choice in terms of which model to put forward.



    We take it for granted that Apple will come out with a single iPhone model every year that everybody will love. But what if Apple made a boneheaded call on the feature mix of a new iPhone? Think about all of the resources that they put in place to support the launch of a new phone -- big component purchases and ramping up to produce tens of millions of units. All of that would be wasted if a new iPhone were a flop, plus they would have nothing to sell but an old model. it would be a disaster.



    Yet this never happens to Apple because Apple is very good about designing that one awesome iPhone model that everyone will love. Can these other companies do that? I doubt it.
  • Reply 11 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by winstein2010 View Post


    It is easier said then done. HW companies have lots of HW engineers and no SW engineers. Traditionally these countries don't educate enough software engineers or designers.



    Thank God they don't!



    As soon as the US becomes the 2nd rate developer, all the good stuff will be in Mandarin and FINALLY, there will be respect for intellectual property.



    Of course it will be YOU paying someone in China, because now they don't bootleg DVDs anymore.



    ON the plus side, our next generation of kids will have better eye-hand dexterity because assembling components for 8 hours a day will really sharpen their skills.
  • Reply 12 of 65
    kerrybkerryb Posts: 270member
    The nerds just got a collective chill running up their spines. What fun it is to go phone shopping and comparing specs and more specs until you decide to wait for a rumored model that will have even better specs. Those days may be ending. The iPhone along with all of Apple's streamlined hardware categories has proven a well thought out and designed product which comes in 3 price points will give clarity to the product line and enough options to satisfy 90% of potential customers.



    I found it exhausting to keep track of the plethora of Droid phones which seem to be released just about every week with names that are overly complex as well. Droid handset manufacturer that figure this out may finally gain some traction against all the other Droid makers.
  • Reply 13 of 65
    red oakred oak Posts: 614member
    One of the main roadblocks to this will be the carriers. They do not want the same brands being marketing across the carriers. They want 'unique' phones. Even if it is a slight re-skin or simply changing the name



    With multiple names for effectively the same phone, the marketing and promotion becomes all fragmented. Kinda of like Android



    It's a blessing for Apple the T-Mobile merger did not go through. They now have a champion for unlimited data fighting Verizon and AT&T. And, they have another carrier that will propagate the marketing fragmentation of similar Android handsets
  • Reply 14 of 65
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,735member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post


    One of the main roadblocks to this will be the carriers. They do not want the same brands being marketing across the carriers. They want 'unique' phones. Even if it is a slight re-skin or simply changing the name



    With multiple names for effectively the same phone, the marketing and promotion becomes all fragmented. Kinda of like Android



    It's a blessing for Apple the T-Mobile merger did not go through. They now have a champion for unlimited data fighting Verizon and AT&T. And, they have another carrier that will propagate the marketing fragmentation of similar Android handsets



    ????? The carriers will still get their 'unique' phones. They will just get one or two per manufacturer per year instead of 25.



    And how is unlimited data from TMobile a blessing for Apple?
  • Reply 15 of 65
    How original.
  • Reply 16 of 65
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,735member
    Jobs once mentioned that the hardest thing for a business to learn is how to say no. Apple learned this the hard way and has been successful since making it a part of their overall DNA. Seems like these other companies are finally starting to realize the truth and value in that model.
  • Reply 17 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


    The usual strategy for most companies is to throw a bunch of stuff on the wall to see what sticks. The challenge that these other companies will have to face in emulating Apple is that they now have to make the right choice in terms of which model to put forward.



    We take it for granted that Apple will come out with a single iPhone model every year that everybody will love. But what if Apple made a boneheaded call on the feature mix of a new iPhone? Think about all of the resources that they put in place to support the launch of a new phone -- big component purchases and ramping up to produce tens of millions of units. All of that would be wasted if a new iPhone were a flop, plus they would have nothing to sell but an old model. it would be a disaster.



    Yet this never happens to Apple because Apple is very good about designing that one awesome iPhone model that everyone will love. Can these other companies do that? I doubt it.





    It's the insecurity and LACK of research by other handset designers that they use the shotgun approach.



    Sure, Apple MIGHT make a boneheaded move (remember the problems with the antennae?) -- but in their case, other than a perfectly machined physical form factor with a screen and two buttons -- almost all mistakes can be dealt with by a software update. I think that's why Jobs rightly moved away from physical keys in the first place (and also because I'm sure he hate's sticky keys with junk between them that will NEVER go away).



    The companies like Motorola had a negative feedback engine to figure out designs in a Darwinistic way; throw out a dozen different physical / features and see what sticks to the consumer. The Razor was very popular for a time -- but it really stinks compared to the newer phones. None of them were that good -- but since the Razor clamshell sucked less, it won the day. It didn't mean the Razor improved, however other than adding an MP3 player.



    >> But at least most all the smartphones have an interface that doesn't depend on a mechanical device. For instance, Androids word prediction as you type throws up a list of possible words that you can just touch and use which is easier than Apple's use of the arrow keys up and down to select and then using the right arrow to use that word... that isn't a revolutionary change, but it's a slight improvement.



    >> There is more risk in a single platform -- but at least you can tell what to improve because you are concentrating on success rather than avoiding failure.
  • Reply 18 of 65
    Good ! All they need to do now, in addition to this, is to design and manufacture insanely great products !



    More seriously, a consequence of this is also that, if by any chance, there are some criticisms about flaws in their "world product" (whether justified or not, if you see what I mean), no one but the CEO has to jump on stage and address the issue ... I am not sure all Apple competitors CEOs are ready for this ....
  • Reply 19 of 65
    Stop making it sounds like all the manufactures are going to copy apple's one phone a year release model. They are only slowing down.



    In 2011, Motorola released 18 android devices. They will most likely cut this down to 8 or 10 devices a year.
  • Reply 20 of 65
    juandljuandl Posts: 228member
    The fact that Apple has had so much success with tha 4s, just goes to show how big Siri is going to be as they put it in their iPads and Macs even.

    If it was not for that, a great number of people would just go with the iPhone 4 still.



    It is gonna be even harder for Microsofts phone to gain traction because I don't think they have anything coming out soon that will similate Siri very well (leave it to Balmer to completely disregard this as a passing fad).

    At least Google is going all out looking for something that will fool the Androits into thinking that they have something just as good. By next year they will realize that it is not the same.



    I really think by the time that iPhone 5 rolls around with all the periferals (I think thats how its spelled). Apple will start seeing the Android wannabees in their rear view mirror.
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