The company we are most familiar with in terms of flagship killers is probably one plus. They were a company that came with one plus one fantastic phone and when they came with the oneplus 2 they marketed that phone specifically as the 2016 flagship killer. The whole idea is that you take a phone and you fill it up with great hardware and you price it at this inexpensive price point that competes with premium smartphone brands. And that’s what they did, they did a really good job at disrupting the smartphone market with their inexpensive phones.
Companies like Xiaomi, Oppo and vivo didn’t classify themselves as flagship killers. They did the same kind of thing disrupting the market with inexpensive priced phones. I’m not talking about cheap budget phones. I’m specifically talking about phones that were designed to compete with flagship products from premium brands.
Changes to market
If you look at these flagship killer companies a lot of them have changed how they’re even pushing out phones. They’re no longer making $400 flagship killers. They’re pushing out 6,7,$800 phones that are flagships themselves, like one plus eight, is a full-blown flagship phone.
It’s supposed to have wireless charging, IP rated water resistance and it’s rumored to have an $800 price tag. Companies like Xiaomi, their redmi note 10, 10 Pro those are so expensive than they have been in the past.
Flagship killers – Do they exist?
It really feels like the whole notion of flagship killer phones are no longer part of the equation. There are two things. One, the strategy was like, you make these cheap phones that don’t make a lot of money. But you build a brand you, build a fan base. When you have a large enough audience then you make the premium stuff because that’s where the money is. And that’s what oneplus is doing and it’s great it’s working out for them.
Secondly, the entire smartphone market has matured to the point where companies struggle to deliver features that customers actually want. Like scene features like 12 gigs of RAM on phones. We’re seeing 108 megapixel cameras, we’re seeing 30x, 50x, 100x zooms. And it’s not that this stuff is not cool, it’s cool, it’s neat.
Where is the problem?
But when you pump out phones this frequently with this little innovation in between then you inevitably get phones that become obsolete really quickly. What happens is that phones drop in price super fast. Like barely 1 year old phone the Samsung Galaxy S 10 plus and this is now half it’s price. It’s barely 12 months old and you get the same phone starting at $450 on Amazon right now the price is incredible.
This is a great phone, it’s got Snapdragon 855 and OLED screen with a hole-punch camera. It’s got 8 gigs of RAM, a headphone jack like there’s so much good stuff going on in this thing and it’s $450. These previous years of phones are the new flagship killers. These are the phones that are almost cannibalizing the sales of the current stuff. Because these are so good and so cheap and most importantly they’re so close in feature set to the newest stuff.
Think before you buy
Like let’s say you’re in the market right now for a new phone. You’re looking at the galaxy s20 from Samsung. I’m not trying to single out Samsung here. This applies to basically every Android premium flagship phone in the market right now. But you have to really value the few features that distinguish this phone from the s20 like you really have to love the whole idea of a 120 Hertz screen you have to really dig that 30x camera zoom to spend the extra 4 or $500 on the s20 over the s10.
And this whole thing also applies to companies right now that are trying to be flagship killers. If you look at realme, they have a phone the x2 Pro, it’s a great phone but that thing is it is also $450. If your prospective buyer would you rather spend your money on that or some like the s10 that has a proven camera system, proven software?
Problems the companies are facing
If oneplus came out today and they were trying to do what they did five six years ago I don’t think it would work because these one-year old phones have shaped the market in way that it makes it really difficult for the flagship killer to be exactly that these are the new flagship killers.
The one-year old phones are so cheap so quickly that they’ve now become the things that actually hurt the company, when they’re trying to sell their new stuff.
Samsung S10 India – https://amzn.to/2HNwkCC 35% off.