The Endgame is Near for Phones

Discussion in 'Smart Phones and Devices' started by Zorachus, May 12, 2019.

  1. Zorachus

    Zorachus [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Good video on a interesting topic;


    My opinion;

    Smartphones are like appliances, really for the general Joe Blow average consumer, it's like a Refrigerator or Oven or Washing machine. And for sure have become like PC's, once you have a good PC there's zero reason for most people to buy a new one year after year, nowadays you can keep a PC easily for 5 years, but you can upgrade specific parts like VideoCards or hard drives. So yes, the whole smartphone fad is fading and people don't care.

    Plus when flagships are selling for $1,000+ and phones like the Pixel 3a can be had for $399, for the general non tech geek, a $399 smartphone that has a great camera, guaranteed 3 years of updates direct from the manufacturer, smooth OS, a good enough display for most, and generally good battery life. The average regular guy will think, what does this $1,000 smartphone truly get me compared to spending just $399?

    Most people just want to make phone calls, text people, send e-mails, surf the web, use GPS, see sports scores, etc... for the 90% of smartphone users, having the latest SD855 Snapdragon or A12 processor meaning nothing to them.
     
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  2. N4CR

    N4CR 2[H]4U

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    Software is obsolete before the phone nowadays. That's what got my sgs2 under two years ago.. Enough said, that thing came out in 2011.
     
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  3. Zorachus

    Zorachus [H]ardForum Junkie

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    One thing to keep in mind, is people like us on this forum, are the super geeks, we make up 5% maybe 10% max, of smartphone buyers. 90% of the general public that buy smartphones don't give a rats ass about full screen displays or better silicon, or great OLED technology. I know tons of hardcore iPhone users that bought the iPhone 8 Plus over the iPhone X or XS the past year. It was price that swayed them to stay with the older design, plus they felt more comfortable with it.

    The iPhone is like the Big Mac from McDonald's everyone's had one, and it's not the best but the most popular.

    Look at iPhone sales report recently, Apple admitted that 1st Qtr. 2019 compared to 1st Qtr, 2018, that phone sales are down close to 20%. That's a first, and very telling. As well as Samsung sales being down, and Google's Pixel not selling as well.

    I think the smartphone market has plateaued, and people treat them like they do a home computer.
     
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  4. Tup3x

    Tup3x [H]ard|Gawd

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    Huawei is up, a lot though.
     
  5. CHANG3D

    CHANG3D [H]ardness Supreme

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    having a growing middle class with state-controlled media asking you to proudly support the "star" tech company of your country would explain 80% of the sales numbers. The other 20%, Huawei actually has the best camera. When everyone and their mothers have Huawei flagship phones in China, look for this number to drop.
     
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  6. kirbyrj

    kirbyrj [H]ard as it Gets

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    As a Pixel 3 owner, I absolutely would have bought a Pixel 3a instead if it were available. I want the software updates, but don't need a fancy phone. I bet a lot of people are in my shoes.
     
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  7. Zorachus

    Zorachus [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Sort of off topic, but a serious question. So the new Pixel 3a XL is $479, and the flagship Pixel 3 XL is pretty much double that price at $900 to $1,000.

    Over the years we have seen the bill of sale, om iPhone's and Galaxy phones, etc...and I recall true costs of parts being like $250 to $300 or so? And I understand there's way more involved in the pricing than just the costs of parts, you have the engineering, and software, marketing, and labor, and markup, shipping, etc...

    But my point or question, if a 3a XL is $479, and a flagship 3 XL is $900, really what's the major difference in parts that shoot the price of the phone up to 100% double the price? I know a better display, and top processor, and wireless charging, etc... all add up to more, but, if the true parts costs are in the $250 to $300 range for flagships, a good display vs a great display, or a low end CPU vs a flagship CPU isn't dramatically that much more expensive than mediocre parts, but the rest of the bill of material cost remains pretty similar, the software, the labor, the shipping, etc...why such a massive price difference ? Are we just getting hosed and people waking up to it finally?
     
  8. Motley

    Motley 2[H]4U

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    Zorachus, I completely agree with your points. I believe we are getting screwed, and these companies are making huge amounts of profit on flagship smartphones. When these flagship phones started costing a grand, I swore I would never ever buy one.

    Then I got suckered and finally bought my first flagship phone 6 months ago (LG V40). Shame on me for doing it, and I feel I got ripped off now. Hell I don't even hardly use all these features, like the camera, etc.
     
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  9. Domingo

    Domingo [H]ard as it Gets

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    Even as an "enthusiast" there are minimal reasons to buy a new phone if you have one built after 2015. It's basically just the camera and battery. 5G won't be widespread for years and it will still be location-limited. Faster processor speeds and additional RAM don't really impact Facebook, Instagram, E-mail, Spotify, etc.
    They're going to need some type of killer new feature or it going to be like those ancient WinXP machines that people only recently started replacing.
     
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  10. kirbyrj

    kirbyrj [H]ard as it Gets

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    The only real reason I buy new phones is because the battery got weak in my old ones. With a replaceable battery, I'd probably still have my OG Pixel.
     
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  11. Zorachus

    Zorachus [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I bought the Pixel 3 XL when it went on sale the first time, and gave my Wife my 2 XL, and to be honest, at the end of the day, I really do not see a night and day difference whatsoever, not that I expected too, but really not much different at all. I actually like the darker deeper blacks on the screen of the 2 XL over the 3 XL, and the vibration motor feels more powerful in the 2 XL. Performance and speed is impossible to notice a difference, they both super smooth. Camera, yeah the 3 XL is better, but not leaps and bounds better, just barely. Battery life seems better on the 2 XL.

    I think I'm done buying a new phone every year now, will move to a 2 year cycle, as there's ZERO reason to upgrade nowadays. I use my smartphone to make phone calls, text, surf the web, check e-mails, use navigation, take pictures, do video chat, and use Google Now for bunch of stuff. A Pixel 4 won;t do that any faster or better than my Pixel 3 XL or even Pixel 2 XL. Just like the iPhone 11 won't truly be better for the everyday Joe Blow compared to like an iPhone 8 Plus. Only the super nerds "need" or want the upgrade. But the iPhone 11 won't send texts faster, or make gps Navigation 100X better than the 8 Plus.
     
  12. Domingo

    Domingo [H]ard as it Gets

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    Same, although phone repair shops can pop a new battery in many (most?) phones to alleviate some of that. $50-100 is definitely cheaper than what a new phone costs. If my Pixel 2 starts dying I'll at least investigate that before taking the plunge. It make my old Moto X Pure almost like a new phone.
     
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  13. dreadcthulhu

    dreadcthulhu [H]Lite

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    Well, the replacement rate for phones is still going to be a lot more frequent than that of fridges or washing machines, or desktop computers for that matter, for the the simple reason that phones are a lot easier to break & steal. Other than that though, it is amazing how little going from a decent $250 midrange phone to a $1000 flagship gets you.
     
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  14. Zorachus

    Zorachus [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Going back to flagship phones going to $1,000+ lately. I thought a few years ago, all the big manufactures stated something along the lines, that OLED screens will be cheaper to mass produce, and high end processors should never really change in price as years go by, if anything they'll get cheaper due to manufacturing maturing, and with automation, labor should go down, RAM being mass produced in such large scale, pricing should be more affordable, and not go up.

    Point being, shouldn't smartphones actually be getting cheaper, or at least stabilizing in price? Not inching up to $1,200 for a new flagship.
     
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  15. Nasty_Savage

    Nasty_Savage [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Still hanging on to my 6s Plus. Gonna run it until it dies
     
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  16. Tup3x

    Tup3x [H]ard|Gawd

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    Naah... That's not it. They're very successful in Europe too. Here in Finland it's the number one selling brand (combined with Honor) if I remember correctly. I'm personally rocking P30, upgraded from Honor 8. US situation doesn't represent the rest of the world, not even remotely.

    Also Pixel phones aren't officially available here. At the moment Nokia can't compete against Honor and Huawei in terms of hardware. I'll never buy Samsung again and I'm never going to buy anything Apple. OnePlus makes too large phones so those are automatically out.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  17. jmilcher

    jmilcher [H]ardness Supreme

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    Then I bet you’d be surprised how many flagships get sold. Ask apple. Ask Samsung. Flagships fly off the shelf over $1k at a pop.
     
  18. kirbyrj

    kirbyrj [H]ard as it Gets

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    I think a lot of them (at least in the US) get subsidized through things like trade ins and statement credits though. Plus a lot of them get financed at 0% interest through the carrier for 2 years. This isn't the old days where you paid $100 for the latest and greatest phone and upgraded every 2 years under contract.
     
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  19. CHANG3D

    CHANG3D [H]ardness Supreme

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    I said what I said based on geography. A great majority of Huawei sales are in China. Then India. Then Europe far and away... (Maybe it has something to do with population size. *Sarcasm*)

    In China, the primary reason the Chinese purchase a Huawei over a Xiaomi, etc, is branding. But China will probably reach that point where everyone has a smartphone that's good enough to not upgrade every 3 years.
     
  20. GST-97

    GST-97 Limp Gawd

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    Well, back then when you did 2 year contracts and got a "free phone", you were still paying just as much for the phone. The plan prices were way higher to account for your "free phone". When they dropped the subsidies, the plan prices started dropping. So whether you were paying $100/mo for your service and a "free phone" or you are paying $70/mo and $30 for your phone payment, it's all the same, the only thing that changed was the perception of what you are paying for.
    If anything, they are probably making even more money now than they were with the subsidy. Most would trade their phones in at the end of 2 year contract to get another "free phone". Now they give you a tiny amount of money and let you upgrade every year and a lot of people do.
    I was doing the every 2 year thing, my current phone is an S7 and is still plenty fast and capable, battery life is still good. If I end up breaking it, I will probably just buy another cheap S7 from someone who now thinks it is worthless, haha.
     
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  21. Zorachus

    Zorachus [H]ardForum Junkie

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    With these outrageous flagship prices, U.S. carriers have secretly moved customers to 3 year plans, making thier monthly bill still the same.

    So Joe Blow getting a brand new iPhone XS Max 256GB will still be paying his $30 a month, but now it's over 36 months. Where before it was $30 a month but over 24 months

    Point being customers probably don't even realize this, but are happy to be unaware as they are keeping their phones 3 to 4 years anyway now .
     
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  22. T4rd

    T4rd [H]ard as it Gets

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    I bring up carrier financing every time anyone complains about how expensive phones are getting now, because they're the reason the vast majority of sales happen in the first place. Most of the people buying these overpriced phones don't give a shit because it's only a $30-$40/month payment to them on top of their phone bill. I personally know people and have relatives who have near-minimum wage jobs with kids and barely scrape by, and yet have new iPhones and Galaxy S/Note phones every year or so. I know OEMs typically offer financing themselves nowadays as well, but I'd bet that if carriers didn't offer these finance deals, flagship phone sales would all but halt overnight and you would see exponentially more budget and mid-range phones out in the wild these days.

    I know you can apply the same argument to a lot of other things like cars and houses as well, but the difference here is of course a phone is significantly cheaper while also have a significantly higher percentage markup on them compared to their manufacturing cost (typically 200-400% from what I've seen).
     
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  23. Zorachus

    Zorachus [H]ardForum Junkie

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    100% agree .

    If carriers and OEMs suddenly stopped the monthly financing to buy a new smartphone and you had to actually fork out $1,000+ cash out of your own pocket right there at the store, to buy a new phone.

    LOL smartphone sales would come to screeching halt.

    People would be keeping thier phones for 5 years.
     
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  24. UnknownSouljer

    UnknownSouljer [H]ardness Supreme

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    The smart people know what things cost and truly only buy what they can afford. Similar can be said for cars. For some reason people can't save $150-$350 a month in order to buy a car, but they're willing to pay that monthly and perpetually stay in debt.
    100 years ago people were incredibly debt averse and understood that debt is essentially a type of slavery. And now the credit companies essentially run everything because they've figured out that they can buy people in bite sized increments. They're happy to allow people to in-debt themselves permanently.

    Every 2 years get a new phone. Keep paying. Every 6-7 years buy a new car. Keep paying. Buy that thing now on credit (every commercial these days either states "low" or "no" money down). Keep paying.

    I have zero debt. I plan to keep it that way. The only thing I will ever consider going in debt for is a house. Everything else is cash and living within my means.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  25. Trimlock

    Trimlock [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I hear you, but I will be upgrading this coming year. I will not be buying the brand new hotness though, those $1000 phones can go suck-it.
     
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  26. CHANG3D

    CHANG3D [H]ardness Supreme

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    There's a huge difference in getting a loan paying zero interest (which is what typically happens in the US with carrier financing) and getting a loan with interest. Getting a zero interest loan for money that you will eventually have is better for your pocket than spending all that money up front. This means more money in your bank account to collect interest. Someone offer you a zero interest loan and you can totally afford that, you take that free money...
     
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  27. Trimlock

    Trimlock [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I don't think anyone, who at least has a high school education, will argue against a zero interest loan. The main benefit from said loans has little to do with interest gaining savings and more to do with letting inflation devalue the loan itself. Phone loans don't last long enough to offer any real benefits other than to make it slightly more possible to afford something that is more expensive. I'm still not expanding my monthly payment because new phones are decidedly more expensive, I have other loans that are working for my benefit way better than these short term loans ever would.

    When we get our new phones it won't be the new expensive ones, hopefully they'll still do zero interest payment plans on year old or their more affordable models.
     
  28. Sprkd1

    Sprkd1 Limp Gawd

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    I too have and still use an iPhone 6s. Been using it since March 2016. What is your battery health as per iOS? Mine is at 81%. It's amazing how smooth and fluid the phone still is after all this time. I have virtually zero lag/stutter when using the phone.
     
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  29. Nasty_Savage

    Nasty_Savage [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Not sure but it still works for me considering i crank tunes and podcasts all day. Every once in a blue moon it drops drastically while im walking like i pass through some weird electromagnetic field or something, but it hasn't bothered me much
     
  30. Ashton

    Ashton 2[H]4U

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    When I upgraded from my Note 2 to my Note 4, the difference was like night and day.
    When I upgraded from my Note 4 to my Note 9 The difference was like night and day.
    When my mother had me upgrade her iPhone 6 to an iPhone 7 we didn't see much difference...

    Early on in the game, each upgrade was a significant improvement. Today you only see it if you DO skip multiple generations, and when you do, it does feel like you get more value out of the new device. (Remember, "value" is a personal metric, it's not just about $-per-GHz of power, etc) For me, future proofing, the new features, and even the "gimmick" of the S-Pen were worth the cost --- but only looking at it as "I'll keep this phone for many years" because I don't use all these features all the time (except the S-pen, I constantly use it as a music remote and to take notes during phone calls) which ties back into the "Phones are no longer 2-year-upgrade deals"

    As others have said, this is why, I think, a lot of manufacturers are purposefully crippling devices, such as Apple's infamous "your device is not compatible with the latest IOS" and "This app requires IOS X.XX to run (and the old version will not launch even if it should work fine)" with Androids also starting to do this in some cases... along with the non-replaceable battery (I am constantly amazed at how many people are unaware there are shops that can replace these batteries!) Its the only way to get people to upgrade unless they physically break their phone (especially since nearly all phones are virtually immune to water damage these days)

    I'd also like to point out that if you call your carrier when your planning to upgrade, there are often a lot of deals you can take advantage of that will drop the cost. As long as I took the "monthly payment" option, I was able to ultimately save iirc $350 on my Note 9, bringing the cost down to a more reasonable price (and extending its warranty as long as I don't root it --- which I can't even if I wanted to and no longer have a need to) while I do think my monthly bill is a bit high, with a 0% "loan" I'm still paying no MORE than if I bought it outright and in fact save money thanks to the $350 credit.


    Of course, all that being said, the main reason I upgraded was that my Note 4 simply wore out. I tried replacing the afflicted parts but even the new ones still had the same problem (and with the issues of a 4-generation gap, the price to simply replace it with another note 4 simply didn't make sense), otherwise, I would have kept it another year or two because it was still a very capable phone. This is, I think, the main "issue" --- overall there is not a fast enough change in technology to warrant upgrading phones frequently anymore and all the new models come with huge downsides (I absolutely HATE the curved display, and am annoyed at the lack of a swappable/expandable battery --- my Note 4 with the Zerolemon brick battery lasted for DAYS on a single charge!) To this day I am still using my Note 2 as a bedside device for videos, skype calls, and as a remote for my PC ---- something that I think speaks volumes about how slow the specs are improving and how long phones are genuinely still useable.


    One final note about budget vs flagship phones though... when I turned off my landline I purchased several "budget phones" to use for skype around the house, and the build quality was.... lets say "disappointing" compared to my Notes (keep in mind I am talking about the $50 Walmart phones, not the mid-range ~$250-$450 phones) so on the bottom end, yes, those are still frequent-upgrade-devices because if you so much as look at them too hard they're likely to break... so in some cases, yes, there is still a thriving "upgrade" market.
     
  31. coynatha

    coynatha Limp Gawd

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    What's bothered me the most, being a Motorola guy, is seeing prices skyrocket and features disappear. My zForce and Z2Force...no more shatterproof screen, no more 3.5mm audio, no USB-C -> HDMI, no miracast...their newer phones are worse and cost just as much.
     
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  32. YeuEmMaiMai

    YeuEmMaiMai [H]ardForum Junkie

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    not for much longer if China and the US do not come to an agreement....