News digest №73. Risk and champagne

HTC is preparing to defend the right to design HTC A9 to the last, Google is having problems with Nexus, Samsung and Apple are releasing patches at the speed of a machine gun, and BlackBerry trying to turn back time …

Fear is a natural human feeling that is well known to both the coward and the desperate daredevil. It is possible that the latter is even more so. The only difference is that one gives vent to his fear, and the other does not.

Last train

She ran away from me again
The last train
And I'm on the sleepers, again on the sleepers
I go home out of habit.

M. Nozhkin

The announcement HTC of One A9 had not yet died down, as the company's management began to assure everyone of the uniqueness of its design and secondary nature iPhone. And this is not just a game for the spectator – it got to the point that employees of the company are given special 'encouraging' cards with a quote from Vice President Xiaomi Hugo Barr: 'Designers iPhone are clearly talking to us on language HTC '. In parallel, plans are being voiced (or is it better to say 'threats'?) To continue releasing smartphones in this style.


All this somehow reminds me of the excuses of the representatives of OnePlus, who tried to reassure buyers that their Snapdragon 810 is completely special and has nothing to do with the problems of all the other Snapdragon 810. And then it suddenly turned out that Snapdragon 810 is also Snapdragon 810 in Africa. And no nice words will change that.

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Freedom of speech is a great thing, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Who stole what and from whom can be discussed endlessly, this is a very slippery subject. The question here is rather something else – why was it necessary to bring the matter to this situation? Why dig a hole for yourself, then solemnly shoot in the leg, and in the end declare that your competitors have overtaken you solely because of doping? Choosing the A9 design, HTC was well aware that comparisons with iPhone were inevitable. So what were they hoping for? Maybe that Apple will burn out of shame or start paying them royalties? Or will he even recall all sold iPhone?


It seems to me that everyone understands that there could be only one practical sense – to bask in the glory of the Cupertino company and in a difficult time for itself to increase sales due to popularity iPhone. There have been enough people at all times who consider the 'apple' smartphone, if not a style icon, then at least a trendsetter. There are quite a few among them those who will not buy the original iPhone for some reason (maybe they don’t like the OS, maybe they don’t like the price – there are a lot of options), but will gladly buy an 'iPhone replacement' for Android. These are guaranteed sales, which many companies are greedy for.

Of course, HTC here are not the first and not the last. But what to hide, for the current market this is practically the norm. But why then be hypocritical, declare that Apple has nothing to do with it, that all this is an annoying misunderstanding, an accident? And that iPhone is nothing more than a bad parody of the original HTC One? Moreover, citing the words of Xiaomi employees as the main argument, which just herself does not mind going on an apple diet? Here, inevitably, an old anecdote comes to mind – 'You either take off the cross, or put on your panties.'

There is a lot to say about Peter Chou, and not only good things. Especially in recent years. But under him, the company went its own way, producing not always unambiguous, but interesting and original devices. This is what allowed the OEM manufacturer, almost unknown to the general public, to become a world famous A-brand. Another question is that the Taiwanese manufacturer could not keep the set bar, and the dizzying rise was replaced by an equally impressive fall.


Now other people have taken the helm, it is likely that the strategy HTC will undergo changes. And it is very likely that the once distinctive company will turn into another 'Chinese' with slogans like 'the same as iPhone, only cheaper' and 'if there is no difference, why pay more'. This is probably called 'effective management', I don't know.

The trouble is one thing – this approach implies a low price, which is clearly not going to HTC. Their smartphones were never cheap, but it used to be an overpayment for uniqueness. If you don’t want to – don’t pay, but you will not find the same Sense anywhere else. Roughly in the same vein Apple – you can grumble as much as you like that the technical characteristics iPhone of the 6S are not nearly flagship, that selling a device with 16 GB for such money is simply a shame, but if you want device to iOS, you will have to pay this price. Everything is simple, clear and extremely logical. But what would be the point of overpaying for a completely standard device, which does not stand out among the cheaper and famous competitors – a mystery.


I've never liked cases of blindly copying a design. It was a real pity when the company abandoned its own corporate identity in Mi4 and decided to copy iPhone. And it is completely incomprehensible why the SGS6 added frankly 'apple' design elements (like the same design of the speaker, for example), which are sewn to it with white threads. But business is business, money does not smell, and the 'apple' design is one of the tools to increase sales that have been and will be used. From this point of view HTC is no better and no worse than others. But this is just a tool, and not a magic wand. Sometimes its use is appropriate and sometimes it is not.

News digest №73.  Risk and champagne Offtopic: design stealing

Note that virtually all of the big companies that decided to switch to the 'iPhone-like' style were on the rise at the time. The popularity Xiaomi continued to grow, and the Mi4's design only spurred the already excellent sales. This smartphone was perceived by millions of fans not as a cheap clone iPhone, but as a 'symmetrical answer' by the Cupertino-based company.

Lenovo were in great shape, making plans to take over the market, and their S90 was another calibrated blow to competitors' sales.

Samsung in general by all means ask for a direct comparison of their products with Apple, for them this is a matter of principle. The Koreans took this path by no means out of despair, rather it was a challenge, a glove thrown in the face.

In the beginning, each of these companies carefully calculated the odds, made sure that there were more advantages than disadvantages, that their image and brand strength would not be affected.

For HTC, the situation is strictly opposite – the company is now frankly unpopular, it lives exclusively on past merits and in a couple of years it risks being completely erased from the memory of customers. Devices in the iPhone style (with which the entire market is already flooded) only further erode the perception of the brand, reduce them to the level of Fly or Alcatel, from which they expect not innovations, but a pleasant price. A price that HTC could not and cannot afford.

The result of this “effective management” will be another hole dug for itself, from which the company risks not getting out. Probably, in the short term, all this will give some result, sales HTC of One A9 will reach the planned level, and some of the anti-crisis managers will receive their long-awaited bonus. But the fate of the company in this case will be a foregone conclusion. And this is very, very sad.

In general, sometimes it begins to seem that the main driving force in the market is not even the desire to make a profit, but the most common fear. The fear of losing what is left, the fear of appearing ridiculous, the fear of being misunderstood by our own shareholders, the fear of making the wrong bet. Choosing between the necessary risk and the unsuccessful attempt to hide their heads in the sand, companies are increasingly opting for the latter. So a person with bad teeth sometimes delays the visit to the dentist until the last. Realizing perfectly well that every day of delay only adds to his problems, he still hopes that everything will somehow work itself out. Then, when there is no longer any strength to endure, he still goes to the dentist, only it will be impossible to cure such a neglected tooth and it will have to be removed.

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Something similar is happening now with BlackBerry. The company postponed the decision to switch to Android until the last, although a few years ago it was clear that it would hardly be able to avoid it. If they did it in a timely manner, they could well become a noticeable player here, releasing albeit specific, but quite popular solutions. Against the background iPhone with tiny screens and completely faceless and always lagging flagships of Samsung, BB smartphones would be a breath of fresh air. There were enough buyers with a prejudice regarding both “plastic Korean remnants” and “cut stubs” at that time, and what a “qwerty” was, people had not forgotten at that time. Alas, instead of that we were waiting for completely unconvincing tablets and touch phones on a special OS for touch screens, which had practically no chance of a long and happy life.

But now it looks like the train has already left. We delayed this decision for too long, we managed to break the wood too much. The phone BlackBerry is no longer perceived as a serious smartphone for business people by the majority of potential buyers. And even more so as a device that emphasized the status of its owner much more noticeably than set the teeth on edge iPhone. Now this is something niche and interesting primarily for geeks. Business people have long found an alternative to the once popular BB smartphones, and the BYOD principle is widespread in the corporate environment. For ordinary users Android smartphones BlackBerry will be on a par with smartphones Amazon, Android Nokia tablets or devices on Tizen. It seems that somewhere you heard something, but there is no desire to try it yourself. And so it's clear that the 'normal' A-brands are 'cooler'.

News digest №73.  Risk and champagne Blackberry PRIV – photos and specifications

Qwerty keyboards and austere design have long been in fashion, but all sorts of curved screens and covers made of genuine leather. No one will be able to turn back the clock or step into the same river twice. To attract the attention of the general public, BlackBerry will not only have to jump over their heads, but to do it over and over again for several years. Believe it with great difficulty – all the company's past attempts to show something like that ended very sadly.


At the same time, BlackBerry Priv itself is extremely attractive to me, and for the very attempt to revive qwerty sliders, I am ready to put a monument to the company. But the fact remains – a serious player in the market Android from BlackBerry will no longer work. The company will flounder for several more years, but all this will practically pass by the attention of ordinary users. At best, it will repeat fate Motorola – it will produce very cool and interesting products that units will still need. In the worst case, Nokia will follow the path, which has not been able to recover after switching to a new OC. However, the end of these roads is still the same, it is either the sale of the brand, or the dump of history.


Seven times measure cut once.

Famous proverb

It is interesting that while delaying really important and fateful decisions to the last, companies love to fuss and rush on trifles. As you know, fuss is good only when catching fleas, and even then with reservations. It is simply contraindicated in the production of complex technical devices.

We see the results of this haste every day. Google was quick to announce the delivery time of the Nexus 6P to its first owners, and now the company has to postpone the deadline, apologize to customers and offer preorders a $ 25 discount in moral compensation.

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The Nexus 5X is even more 'fun'. Judging by the information on the Reddit resource, many devices showed a defect with the screen. Over time, the display develops an unpleasant yellowish tint, most likely the glue is to blame, which was simply not allowed to dry completely during assembly. The first affected buyers report that Google does not deny the presence of a marriage and is changing the smartphone to a new one.


The question is, what was the point LG to rush to produce devices, sacrificing build quality? And who is doing better now?

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Not everything is smooth with the software part either – the first thing that new users who turn on their device will see is the offer to update. Apparently, updates to Nexus smartphones come out so quickly that sometimes they even get ahead of couriers of the delivery service.

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A well-known company from Cupertino is moving exactly the same way. In Apple they were in such a hurry to present a new version iOS to the world that they still cannot clear up the consequences of this rash decision. As soon as the last update has 'scattered' across smartphones, a new one is on the way, at number 9.2. Developers and beta testers can already install the beta version of this update … just remember that this is a one-way road – no one will let you roll back to the previous version of the OS.


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Not going to lag behind colleagues in the shop and Samsung. Updates to fix power consumption issues are coming out for Galaxy smartphones with enviable consistency. A week ago, the Galaxy Note 5 received such a patch, and a similar update for the Galaxy S6 Edge + is on its way. Positive news? It depends on how you look at it.


For example, I am still interested in the question, what prevented me from spending a little more time on testing new products and correcting such shortcomings even before smartphones went on sale? I am afraid, however, that this question is exclusively rhetorical.

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A similar picture is observed in the accessories market. Someone is once again postponing the release with such fanfare of the announced 'smart' bracelet HTC Grip.


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Others are in such a hurry to be the first to introduce a case for the new Nexus that they do not find time to make holes for a microphone in it. Moreover, this insanity is massive, several well-known companies have gotten into a puddle at once.


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It all looks like a squirrel in a wheel. It seems that everyone is doing something, constantly inventing, improving and updating something. And the final efficiency is somewhere at the zero level – the wheel stood still, and still stands, not a millimeter moved. But safety is guaranteed – as far as I know, not a single squirrel has yet been able to get into an accident in its vehicle.

Google can be blamed for many sins, but cowardice is not one of them. On the contrary, the company loves to experiment and constantly grab onto one thing or the other. But the result is often exactly the same – maximum energy and minimum efficiency. A whole bunch of abandoned projects and unfinished undertakings, constant attempts to improve what is long overdue to leave alone, and periodic throwing from one extreme to another.

If the situation with the update itself Android is more or less bearable (although I will not undertake to calculate how many times this OS has changed its corporate identity in recent years), then the redesign of its own services is a whole song. Google is constantly trying to prove that the best is not the enemy of the good, not paying attention to the fact that such experiments cause only gnashing of teeth in users.

Google Play will soon undergo another improvement. The store will now be split into two global categories – 'Apps & Games' and 'Entertainment'.

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The first tab will hide applications and games, and the second – books, magazines, movies and music. I don't know how beautiful it all sounds in English, but there will definitely be problems with translation into Russian. It will not be clear to everyone why, in Google's understanding, 'games' and 'entertainment' are different things.

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YouTube has also slightly updated – it finally has a paid subscription service called YouTube Red. True, so far only for US residents. In addition to being able to watch videos without ads, a paid subscription will also open up access to unique content. For example, some hidden materials from popular streamers, video bloggers and even film companies.

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The idea itself is good, the question, as usual, is implementation. Hopefully Google won't help users make the 'smart' choice by flooding their free accounts with tons of ads.

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