In this post I’ll be looking at a something that has been bothering me for a while – How Android Smartphones Are Slowly Turning Into Commodities.
Starting from the end of 2016 till date Android smartphone design aesthetics have moved from being a bit bulky to being almost bezelless.
How Android Smartphones Are Slowly Turning Into Commodities
I appreciate that fact but every good thing comes with a little bad side and unfortunately the bad side of this issue might actually wreck the entire Android ecosystem if companies don’t come up with good enough designs to make people see reasons to actually get a new smartphone.
If you’re wondering what I mean by Android smartphones becoming commodities, well take a close look at this image below.
Can you tell the difference?
Forget about the specs for a while and take a closer look. You know how we all see printers like mere products with different prices, we would see smartphones that way soon. Apart from that the user experience on every Android smartphone is very similar so it’s still basically the same product built on different hardware with an identical design. Doesn’t that remind you of a digital printer or any other computer peripheral?
Even smartphone companies are aware of this hard truth, they want us to buy new phones but with everything in their lineup looking the same it’s harder to sell new flagship device.
So far only Huawei and Vivo aren’t experiencing problems in selling their flagship devices, the rest of the companies , Apple , Google and Samsung are finding it hard to sell their new smartphones and they are responding to this in different ways.
Google announced the Pixel 3A a few days ago, a smaller version of the Pixel 3 , Samsung and Apple have reduced the price of some of their devices (Apple’s price cut only affected China).
Sometime ago, Apple even had to reduce the speed for their older iPhones just to sell the newer ones.
I still give Samsung and Huawei a thumbs up for pulling off the design on the foldable smartphone. However they’re both still very expensive and not something average users would want to spend money on. Irrespective of the mishap that happened on the Galaxy Fold , I still think we can look towards foldable phones to bail the Android OS out. Hopefuly the next version of the Galaxy Fold won’t be a complete mishap.
Apple might actually survive the whole issue since they have total control over their OS, Android on other hand might not. Android Manufacturers should look beyond specs and give us something o
Tecno Phantom 9 is on its way
Just in case you still haven’t heard, Tecno Mobile posted a teaser of their next addition to the phantom series. This was posted on their Facebook page about last week Tuesday.
The phantom series is considered to be Tecno’s top innovations, their flagship lineup. Always incorporated with the best hardware & features from the Chinese company. The phantom 9 seems to be following the same sequence.
From the teaser, we supposedly got a few hints (not sure if this is the right word) of what to expect before it is finally revealed. And it has a couple of impressive specs I’d say.
Here are the following specifications from the teaser;
• 6.4 inch Full view AMOLED display
• Android 9 – the latest android version
• In-display Fingerprint sensor
• 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM
• AI triple camera with dual front flashlight
• 3500mAh battery
I think Tecno needs to be reminded of what a teaser mean, because at this point, you’ll have to wonder how this is a teaser. Permit me to called it a spoiler instead.
What else do they have in store? They literally listed every spec we care about in a smartphone today. Well, only time will tell.
Huawei Ban In The US – The Domino Effect And What Is Really Going On
I’ve been following up the Huawei ban by the Donald Trump and administration and to be frank with you, I really hope this ban is reversed because the effect is something I would call a “Domino Effect”. Can you just picture a pack of dominoes falling ?
I believe you get the picture now, that’s what Donald Trump just set off and I really hope this doesn’t escalate. The US got into a trade war with China and The Huawei ban was a result of the crossfire. This move is affecting a lot of companies not just Huawei and it would slow down a lot of improvements in the tech sector globally.
Huawei is the second largest smartphone company in the world coming in right below Samsung and just above Apple. They even made an excess profit of $100b some time ago and this money comes in from their various buinesses. Huawei happens to be the biggest Chinese brand in this position globally and it’s really disappointing that this is coming just right after the Samsung Fold issue and people were looking towards the Huawei Mate X as the next foldable device to look forward to , even Android Q now natively supports foldable phones but now it’s seeming like we all will have to wait for another foldable phone to get us excited again.
What Huawei Has To Do With The Trade War
Huawei doesn’t make just smartphones, they make a lot of things from laptops to servers to telecom materials and now they have developed 5G.
Yes you read that first line well, Huawei has developed 5G and is working on improving data download speeds and also fixing the problems that come with such speeds . 5G is not just advanced 4G LTE as many people feel, 5G is actually a whole lot faster. You can download a 2 hour movie on 5G within 3.6 seconds.
Yes.. it’s that fast and with the growing number of driver-less cars , smart homes and inter connected devices, 5G would actually make life a whole lot easier. Doctors can even perform surgeries in a location from an entirely different part of the world. The benefits are just too numerous.
The US was actually the first to develop 4G and it added about $100b to their GDP and created over a million jobs. If they had pioneered 5G first, they would have added $500b to their GDP and created almost 10 times the amount of jobs they created. I get the fact that Trump is a businessman but there are better ways to do settle this rather than accusing Huawei of being a pawn of the Chinese Government.
Currently, Donald Trump is literally like a frustrated driver in Lagos Traffic getting annoyed that someone overtook him in traffic after he did the same a few moments ago .The major issue Trump is using to cover up here is that he fears that the Chinese Government would use the 5G network to spy on other countries and personally I feel this is just a bit overblown.
The Effects OF 5G and Why The West Is Scared
Now most of our communication systems already have some sort of encryption in place so I really feel it’s not something that we should be worried about . The only major concern here is the power it comes with and the security concerns have gotten into the UK. The UK already set up a panel to investigate Huawei and make sure there isn’t any security breach or backdoors in the system.
Like it or not, the future of warfare would be totally cyberwarfare, if someone can shut down the communication systems of a country with the touch of a button, the resultant effects would be definitely catastrophic.
I believe you now understand why western governments are scared. I also understand this but I still feel the decision to ban Huawei was rather too hasty even though one Huawei executive was arrested sometime ago for a case related to espionage but I still feel it isn’t enough to pin Huawei completely and start a Huawei ban
Huawei CEO Responds To The Huawei Ban
I followed up an interview where the Huawei CEO was asked to give his views on the Huawei ban is facing at the moment and here’s what he had to say –
“I’m very grateful to the US companies, they’ve grown with us for the past 30 years and made a lot of selfless contributions, they taught us how to walk. Most of my consulting enterprises are in the US for example IBM and many others, Secondly we have received great support from these companies and it reflects
the conscience of the US Firms in this crisis”
“2 or 3 days ago I received a call saying that the US companies are working to solve the crisis by reaching out
to the US Government regarding the ban on Huawei. There a re 4 types of regulations. We are not seasonal control, we received entity control this means whatever US companies are selling to Chinese Companies need to get permission. ”
“Even though the entity control is there the inside of the company would not be affected.
The US is a country with an adequate legal system so US Companies have to abide by the law and so does the entity list. So this affects both US companies as well.”
“We are not quite prepared for our low-end products because we think they will die out soon so those might be affected but our high end products won’t be affected at least 5G won’t be affected. Other companies won’t be able to catch up with us in the next 2-3 years”
“If Google cuts off the support to Huawei it would affect Huawei significantly even though Google is still a good company and we’re working on it to find a solution as soon as possible.”
How The Huawei Ban Would Affect Huawei
Now this ban would actually affect Huawei in two major ways and unfortunately these are the major parts of their company as a tech company – The software part and the hardware part.
The Huawei Ban Software Problem
Google has already revoked their Android License so Huawei can’t use any of their products on future devices. No Gmail, Youtube, Playstore and others. Now these apps are already part of a core Android users mobile experience and you can hardly find a good replacement for that apart from users within China who don’t depend on it.
So basically that on it’s own poses a major challenge for the mobile division of Huawei. Although Huawei has two options in this part to use AOSP (Android Open Source Project) without Google Services or simply create their own OS.
Huawei has already been rumored to be working on their own OS for smartphones , HongMeng OS and according to one of their executives the OS was supposed to be launched this year. If you can recall one of the Huawei GT smartwatches didn’t run on Android Wear but was still a great smartwatch.
Was that actually HongMeng OS?
Well I can’t say for sure but I have a feeling it might be.
In the PC division, there’s the Windows issue, Huawei makes Matebooks which all run on windows. Windows is a Microsoft Product (A US company). So Huawei would still have to chose an OS for their new laptops as well.
The Huawei Ban Hardware Problem
Although Huawei probably has the ability to make a few of the hardware they buy from other companies, if not all but it would still affect them badly. Corning, Intel, Nvidia, Synaptics and Snapdragon are all US Companies and they can’t do business with Huawei immediately after the 90 day period when the ban goes into the effect .
These companies all contribute to Huawei’s products in one way or the other. Huawei has confirmed that they have 3 Months worth of supply stored in their company from each company they buy from, which means Huawei actually prepared ahead of time.
I was confident Huawei would be able to make their own chipsets for their smartphones since they already made it -the Kirin Chipset. Now ARM, a UK based company that makes the components for most of the smartphone processors have also pulled out of supporting Huawei because their production plants are based in Houston Texas. So this still poses a major threat to the development of Kirin Processors.
What lies Ahead for Huawei – HongMeng OS Or AOSP ?
Huawei as basically two options, to use AOSP without Google apps or use a brand new OS – HongMeng OS that is said to make Android apps 60% faster . Hauwei is a big company and has the capability of making the OS a major competitor in the tech market and with so many restrictions at the moment the future seems to point towards HongMeng Os and even though I want the restrictions to be removed , I can’t wait to see the new OS.