Published On: Tue, Feb 23rd, 2016

Is Smartphone Innovation All Tapped Out?

A row eventuality probing a long-lived heads or tails of mobile device commoditization vs mobile device creation here during MWC 2016 progressing currently listened an engaging operation of views. Speakers ran a progression of mobile makers large and tiny (Samsung, Motorola/Lenovo and Wileyfox), by to chipset builder Qualcomm, choice open Android flavor Cyanogen, and mobile user Telefonica.

Each had their possess spin on what ‘innovation’ means in a smartphone space now, in a context of mature Western markets — and inevitably aligning with their respective business imperatives. And no one was utterly peaceful to pronounce smartphones too tedious to be bought in a sought for quantities to means a mobile expansion engine. Although there were several takes on what being innovative in smartphone terms means now.

Connected inclination fluctuating a capabilities of handsets — and so behaving as an combined offering indicate inducement — are clearly front of mind for some, such as Samsung, that has of march had a worse time in the hyper rival smartphone market in new years.

The thought that both creation and commoditization are function concurrently – with a two-tier smartphone marketplace in play that’s concurrently delivering augmenting value on a one hand, nonetheless still entrance adult with compelled new bells and whistles during a reward tip of a line was also generally accepted.

“On a creation side when we hear innovation’s left from a category… we consider that’s positively wrong,” pronounced Tim McDonough, SVP of offering during Qualcomm, indicating to flagship announcements this week from Samsung and LG. “Innovation in a handset’s not compelled to a 4.5 in. or 5 in. shade in a device; it’s all surrounding it, including a ability to constraint unsentimental existence and watch it and share it over wireless with friends and family,” he argued.

Samsung’s Jean-Daniel Ayme, Corporate VP of a IM division, asserted that the “centre of an ecosystem” is now building around a smartphone – articulate adult a VR angle it was pulling heavily during a flagship launch eventuality yesterday. Its Gear VR headset links to and extends the capabilities of its flagship smartphones so a headset featured prominently in a launch of a Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge (Some competence contend too prominently… ). So we could disagree a flagship phone in and of itself is not longer adequate to spin heads and excite upgrades on a own. But chuck in compelled adequate connected accessories and that changes a game, argued Ayme.

Stephane Maes, VP of product government and formulation during Motorola, now owned by Lenovo, pronounced a take on creation is some-more about building facilities into phones that consumers are honestly seeking for –- noting, for instance, that it is offering a phone that boasts of carrying an unbreakable screen. And articulate up “meaningful innovations that matter to consumers”. So kind of a conflicting of VR then; i.e. unequivocally unsentimental stuff, rather than pure fantasy.

The furious label on a panel, UK smartphone startup Wileyfox, that uses Cyanogen’s season of Android on a smartphones, argued it’s delivering innovative by charity consumers an choice on a two-year conduit agreement that thatch people into profitable a large cube for handset hardware. CEO Nick Muir’s evidence is that handset member costs have been commoditized so that when joined with a lean startup philosophy it’s able to broach ‘innovation’ in a form of a operation of affordable nonetheless excusable (in terms of opening and design) smartphones to budget-conscious customers.

“People might most too most for their mobile devices,” said Muir. “More and some-more people are commencement to see a cracks in a customary indication – and that customary indication being we have to compensate for a dual year agreement to be means to means a device we want… we know that a check of materials allows us to be means to sell a device during a reasonable cost and a reason we can do that is not outrageous scale, it’s not only tier one components, it’s around a fact that we don’t have any sporting contracts, we don’t have bequest pensions, we don’t have potion offices, we all transport by EasyJet and we stay in Airbnb. We are a low cost classification and that low cost gets upheld on to a consumer – and that’s partial of it.”

For Cyanogen itself, that builds a possess program additions into open Android and thus aims to expands a capabilities offering by batch Android (being directed in that goal by seeking a core village of developers what new OS facilities they would like to see), it’s latest program growth is focused on shortening attrition with app interactions.

“Today we announced a height on tip of Cyanogen, called MOD, and what MOD is is radically a post-app communication model,” noted Vikram Natarajan, SVP, tellurian partnerships distribution, referencing a progressing MWC news. “We can take a best of apps and confederate them in a aspect areas of a handling complement – such as your dialer, such as your calendar, such as your close screen, so we have most richer communication models with those services that we know and love, while still potentially going behind to a app for a some-more entirely featured interaction.

“MOD we trust is a destiny of interactions when it comes to these services, and it’s not apps vs MODS, it’s apps and MODs — since MODs extend a app experience. And we consider this is engaging since now from a commodity viewpoint we can partner with handset makers and yield them split over and above unchanging good aged Android.”

Privacy and confidence rising adult a agenda

One interesting thesis that emerged from a contention was that privacy/security is apropos an augmenting differentiator for conflicting players in a commoditized smartphone space. In a Android OEM space we could disagree that’s a sign of a height being steered by Google, a association whose business indication is formed on aggregation outrageous amounts of information about users in sequence to energy a ad targeting business. (Although Apple’s opposite, unequivocally open pro-privacy stance when it comes to iOS may good be enlivening others to follow a lead too.)

So small consternation there has been room for Cyanogen to enhance Android by, for example, pulling a growth of particular app controls for users (a underline that has now trickled down to Wileyfox’s Android devices, for example).

The sole conduit voice on a panel, Francisco Montalvo, executive of a organisation inclination section for Telefónica S.A, also asserted that remoteness will be increasingly vicious as a Internet of Things proliferates — arguing that consumers will turn some-more wakeful of a trade offs they are creation in sell for entrance to some-more and more connected services.

“I don’t consider a smartphone itself will be providing a creation we are expecting. we truly trust a information collected by a smartphone will emanate new use cases for consumers – that’s where a value is. And that’s because for us it’s so vicious that a consumer are wakeful of a information that a smartphone is entertainment – and how that information is common with other third parties. That’s because we are ancillary Cyanogen. That’s because we trust consumers need to be wakeful about a value they are removing in sell of information they are sharing,” he said. “This is where we see – in a subsequent dual years – a lot of movement.”

Qualcomm’s McDonough also talked adult destiny developments entrance down a siren associated to remoteness and security. “We consider a subsequent is a phone is your personal identity. We don’t meant your phone only for payments, or your phone only for your health records. But your phone as a illustration of you. And when we consider about how vicious that device could be for your, as your digital passport, going from nation to country, a need for confidence and authentication becomes so impossibly important,” he said.

“Qualcomm’s investing a lot in things like appurtenance learning, a ability to run all of a sensors in your smartphone all of a time. And with a device that’s wakeful of who we are, what your function patterns are, it indeed ceaselessly authenticates that you’re we – but carrying to put in a pin or a cue or a fingerprint. So consider about your phone as your personal temperament and how vicious confidence is and how we can strengthen that information. we consider that’s one area of innovation.”

“The other is unequivocally your phone as a meditative entity. So again take a ability to run a neural network on your phone, have that neural network wakeful of what’s going on around it from all a sensors that are using on it constantly – can your phone turn a personal partner that’s context aware, can make decisions for you… That’s wakeful of you, your habits and what’s always going on with a information in a phone and a universe approximate it,” he added.

“Those are only a integrate of examples where anyone who’s observant there’s no creation in a smartphone currently is going to be here in a year or dual or 3 is going to be astounded with what a subsequent call of handsets is going to do.”

On confidence and privacy, Wileyfox’s Muir described it as one of a differentiating “pillars” for a affordable Android user experience. “We’ve spent a lot of time on that. we don’t consider it’s right that apps should be means to collect your information and give your information divided to a top bidder or use themselves. You should have some-more control over that,” he noted, inventory it initial in his list of vicious tweaks, forward of even device personalization and comfort.


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