It has been quite a while since I last published any of my ramblings here, but as time goes by you see certain things that spark an interest to share some of my thoughts with you. So, what will I be serving you today? It would be something like, Microsoft is going down the right path choosing to put their efforts in the low to mid-end devices. Although it might be an unpopular opinion with a lot of Windows (for Phone) fans, the high end is not where it is at anymore. And let me tell why I feel that way.
Let’s start with a small trip back to somewhere around 2010-2012, the entire mobile phone market was still young and it was evolving at a rapid pace. Smartphone saturation levels were still fairly low and people were buying flagships by the boatloads. At the time it made a lot of sense to do so, every new iteration of iPhone, Galaxy or Lumia was better than the one it preceded. At the same time low end phones didn’t have much to write home about with lackluster performance and often crippled by poor decisions from beancounters.
Now fast-forward to 2015, can anyone honestly say that low end and mid end devices are a poor buy? Do those devices not do what one would expect them to do? I won’t (and can’t) get all scientific about it, but I can see what is happening around me. Most people have a set of tasks they want their phone to be able to handle and that is it. There are of course some prerequisites like it not being as slow as a snail in a Boston snowstorm and a couple of camera’s to be able to take some shots of the kids and the all-important selfie (hello FFC-less Lumia’s!).
Those big leaps forward aren’t as common anymore as they once were. I used to be one of those guys that got nearly every single new flagship that came to market. Each time I did, I was content that I bougt that new shining pinnacle of engineering that came with actual noticeable improvements. It was faster, played more advanced games and generally made my old device feel crusty and jurassic.
The lack of appeal
Flagships don’t appear to be as desired anymore as they once were. In part I blame this on ever increasing prices while spec bumps aren’t more than a bigger number on paper. Earlier today I glanced over some prices for flagship devices that came out this year and upon seeing numbers over 700 I just had to catch my breath for a while. More than 700 euros for a phone? I could almost buy an entry level Surface Pro 3 with an i3 for that money, a premium tablet made to meet a high standard. Granted, phones are harder to make, but components like the SoC are way cheaper than any low-voltage Intel Core CPU will ever cost.
It is not only me sees these prices and gets a near cardiac arrest, I see more and more people around me having similar reactions. Who could blame them when half the price of a flagship device gets you all you want and most likely need, albeit in a sometimes little less flashy package.
Is it ok to be average?
This is not a dribble of words to defend Microsofts strategy to go all out in the low end. Halo devices serve a purpose to create buzz and want for the entire brand, yet I feel there is a shift in how people perceive phones and what they want from them. Maybe I’ve entered the cargopants wearing and fattening up stage of owning phones and I just don’t care anymore. Maybe I’ve become the guy that sits on his front porch yelling to get of the lawn, but flagships don’t bother me much anymore since devices from low to high-end perform good enough and it seems I’m not the only one who thinks that way.