Phone makers may have reached dead end in design

Updated: 2018-03-02 07:08

(HK Edition)

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The launch of Samsung's S9 mobile phones shows that the industry may have reached its technology and design limits.

This latest and newest example from one of the world's leading manufacturers has made little progress from the South Korean company's previous models. They share almost identical design features distinguished by a full screen of similar resolution. The new one uses a faster chip set and has a slightly different aspect ratio.

Other than that, the one major selling point of the latest Samsung device is a more intelligent camera for still and motion picture taking. What's next?

If Samsung, backed by its immense design and development capability, is seen to be facing roadblocks, what's the future of the smaller players, including those dedicated mainland phone producers that have grabbed a large share of the global market?

Unable to wow potential buyers with something new and shinny, many manufacturers will have no choice but to continue producing phones for sale at lower prices to win market share from Samsung and Apple. Doing so could further erode the already thin profit margins until it's no longer worth anybody's while to stay in the business.

The underwhelming new models flooding the market these days should serve as a reminder to investors that the lack of innovation is going to thwart the growth of some high flying manufacturers, some of which are said to be seeking a listing on the Hong Kong and other stock markets.

Indeed, most people looking for a smart phone have already bought one. Without seeing any design or technology breakthrough in the new models, they're likely to hold on to their old phones longer than before.

Some of them may even be tempted to go back to the basic stuff, preferring simpler phones that allow them to make calls and chat on social platforms. The growing popularity of such basic phones produced by the company that bought the Nokia brand, among others, could be an indication of a new consumer trend.

Phone makers may have reached dead end in design

(HK Edition 03/02/2018 page8)