Why Apple is the only manufacturer with a “flagship” phone

Why Apple is the only manufacturer with a “flagship” phone

Why Apple is the only manufacturer with a "flagship" phone

The iPhone 5s was released in September 2013. It was followed by the iPhone 6 in 2014, the iPhone 6s in 2015, and then the iPhone 7 last year. It’s been three and a half years, but the iPhone 5s is still on sale and running the company’s latest software. Its hardware may seem a bit underpowered today, but it’s otherwise up to date. What about Android flagships from the same era – offerings from Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG and Motorola? In the same year we had the Galaxy S4, HTC One, Xperia Z1, LG G2 and the first Moto X.

Good luck finding one of those to buy today – and also, good luck in case you happen to have one. That’s because those phones stopped receiving Android updates after Android 5.0 Lollipop – incidentally, still the most popular version of Android at this point.

Apple controls both the hardware and software in its phones, and that’s what helps it get the latest updates for older phones as well; on the other hand, the Android ecosystem is fragmented between several stakeholders, which can be a challenge.

Some of the Android flagships we’ve mentioned are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, and there’s a three-way blame game between Qualcomm, the makers and Google, over why the phones aren’t getting the update. Nougat day.

Beyond that, Android makers have little incentive to support their flagships beyond a short window – Apple releases a few phones every year (not including a few offbeat models, such as the iPhone 5c or the newer iPhone SE) and this year’s flagship becomes next year’s budget model.

With Android, on the other hand, you’ll see variants and new models released sometimes a month or so after the launch of a “flagship” phone. Brands are launching a whole “family” of products, from low-cost devices to high-end flagships, and support for last year’s phones would start to encroach on the territory that other devices in the range are supposed to. to occupy.

Samsung, for example, currently has 27 active smartphones listed on its official website with sub-series such as Galaxy On, Galaxy J, Galaxy A, Galaxy C, Galaxy S, and Galaxy Note series. The remaining marks aren’t far off either. And suddenly, the flagships themselves are quickly forgotten.

When you have 30 products in your lineup, you face crazy aftermarket complexity, with a huge range of hardware parts and many different logistical challenges to manage. Having so many different parts also slows down the update process because there are so many different devices manufacturers need to support.

Apple’s strategy of keeping older devices active also contributes to better brand recall. It’s hard to remember every product made by an Android manufacturer (with exceptions like OnePlus), but it’s not hard to remember every iPhone. That’s why even a 2013 product like the iPhone 5s is still desirable for some people, even though similarly priced Android phones offer much better value for money.

With each new generation, older iPhones simply drop one step down the pecking order — and the price order — and that means they’re supported for a lot longer. Since the company focuses on a few products each year, its goal is to make something good and ensure support for years to come.

On the other hand, in the Android world, there are a lot more conflicts. After the launch of the high-end Galaxy S6 in 2015, the Galaxy A8 followed a few months later with a similar design, watered down specs and a cheaper price of around Rs. 30,000. At this point, the Galaxy S5 of last year was also around the same price – and obviously Samsung was interested in promoting its new phone.

A large family of phones means there’s something for everyone. The cheapest Apple products (which are still usable) can never achieve the sub-Rs. 10,000 spots within reach of a large number of smartphone buyers today. But as a customer, if more smartphone makers took a cue from Apple and cut their lineups so that buying an Android flagship meant anything beyond about a year, that would be great. . And given that Apple devours the lion’s share of smartphone profits, surely there’s a lesson for manufacturers too?

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