News Digest No. 71. Sad Issue

About the last days of once famous companies, new smartphones HTC, ZTE and PepsiCo, Force Touch analogues and thoughtless copying …


Companies, like people, are mortal. No matter how anyone lived his life, no matter what success he achieved and no matter what heights he reached, the result is always known in advance. You can consider this a great tragedy or a great blessing, you can take it for granted, or you can simply not think about it for the time being, but the fact remains that in this world nothing lasts forever.

Companies, like living things, really want to live. And they will also fight to the end, trying with all their might to delay the inevitable end. Some even manage to do it – sometimes for years, sometimes for decades. From the very beginning to the very end, the life of any company is a game of hide and seek with death, which is just waiting for the player who thinks about himself too much and starts to be lazy to look for good hiding places, becomes too predictable and stops surprising. From now on, the days of the company are numbered. Those who managed to accumulate enough funds will last longer, and those who did not save anything for a rainy day – less, but the outcome is already predetermined. However, if the player turns out to be cunning or charismatic enough, death may well start playing giveaway and will allow him to 'hide' a couple of times in new places. Perhaps because she knows in advance – no matter how much she gives indulgences and no matter how many “second chances” she gives, in the end the party will still remain with her.

Sinking ship

Remembering death is the best way to avoid thinking that you have something to lose. You are already naked. You no longer have a reason not to follow your heart.

Steve Jobs

While the company cannot choose when its final hour will come, it can decide how it will happen. And it might even be more important.

Realizing that days are drawing to a close, different companies behave differently. Someone hides in the farthest corner and covers their head with their hands (or even tries to hide it in the sand in the manner of an ostrich), someone tries to live as before, hoping that everything will somehow be resolved by itself, and someone- then he laughs in the face of death and gets down to business with redoubled enthusiasm. You can argue which method is the most correct, you can give unsolicited advice or scold the cowardly until hoarse, or you can stock up on popcorn and enjoy the last act of tragedy. It's always easy to talk about abstract situations or other people's problems. Especially when you know in advance that you yourself will never find yourself in the role of the captain of an already doomed ship, which is falling apart right before his eyes. And even more so – by the ship in distress itself.

And yet, the company's recent actions speak volumes. And in many ways they influence how it will remain in our memory and our hearts.

Here we would like to recall the latest Sony Ericsson smartphones. The company was already seriously ill at that time, and everyone understood perfectly well that it might not recover from this illness. And for the employees of the company it was not even a secret. But in spite of everything, SE smartphones remained surprisingly bright and unusual. Yes, often they used not the most successful components, yes, sometimes they came out with a delay. Only a few remember what kind of processor it was in Sony Ericsson Arc, and its design has sunk into the soul of many.



And that at one time I did not buy a Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray, I still regret it. It was a model of the middle segment, which, according to all canons, should have become a deteriorated copy of the flagship. Minimum investment in design development, maximum recognition and return on existing advertising, reliable slogans “almost like a flagship, only more fashionable” … now even the most successful companies do this, which are not at all constrained in funds. And Sony Ericsson was then one step away from the abyss. But the company did not compromise and released a smartphone with its own face. For the market, this device has become another breath of fresh air, and for this alone it is worth saying a big thank you to SE.



And even speaking about such failed products as the same Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, one cannot but admit that the company tried to perform a miracle to the last and jump over their heads. And this is worthy of respect.


Maybe these words will make someone smile, but it seems to me that all this then gave a result. SE officially passed away in February 2012, but looking at the company's desperate struggle, Nothingness decided to give it a gift. True, in its own, somewhat special manner. The company got a second chance in its new reincarnation – as Sony Mobile. If Sony Ericsson had given up from the very beginning and began to rivet the same type of plastic bars, it is far from a fact that the Japanese would have seen any prospects in it and would have decided to buy out the share from the Swedish Ericsson. And so something of the company still remains.

Something similar happened with the American Motorola. It was a truly great company that has written its name in history forever. But time does not care about other people's merits – it is equally inexorable for everyone. Slowly and at first almost imperceptibly Motorola began to age. The slightly arrogant boxing champion missed a couple of punches from young rivals – and then suddenly it turned out that he was not at all in such great shape as he was several years ago. Probably, then the situation was not yet critical, it was possible to do physical therapy and start running in the morning. But the company was simply scared, urgently canceled all cases and went to a private American clinic for a long time.

As practice has shown, this became a fatal mistake for Motorola – not only did bed rest not help to restore the former athletic form and finally undermined health, but also former fans wrote off the once great champion during this time. Now nobody cared about him, and only in his native country the name Motorola still continued to mean something.

And nevertheless, we must give the company its due – even realizing that there is practically no chance of regaining its former popularity, no one in it thought to give up or start doing hack. New smartphones were really worthy of the proud name Motorola, and many of her ideas were subsequently adopted by many manufacturers around the world.


January 4, 2011 Motorola Inc. was split into two different companies – Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility. In May 2012, the latter was acquired by Google – we can say that it was at this moment that the old Motorola finally ceased to exist. On October 30, 2014, most of Motorola Mobility was resold Lenovo, thus the once American company turned into a Chinese one.

And yet, the last effort Motorola was not in vain – although it was believed that Google made this deal only for the sake of patents, and Lenovo for the sake of the famous brand, there was something else here . I don’t know if these deals would have happened if there was some Chinese company that produces outright rubbish in place Motorola. Even with a sonorous name and the same set of patents. But one thing is certain – neither Google nor Lenovo would have allowed any further low-quality handicrafts of this Chinese company. And so the spirit of the company still lives on, in any case, smartphones in the tradition Motorola are still being produced. Even if legally Motorola inc. long and completely dead.

You can call it an accident. Or it is possible – the result of the struggle until the last breath. And in some cases, even after it.

Repetition of the past

You and I can worry as much as we want about the untimely death of SE or the fate of smartphones Motorola, but for the world of mobile technology, the collapse of once great companies is a common thing. This has happened many times before and will clearly happen more than once later. You don't have to go far for examples – now Sony itself is in a very similar position, a couple of steps from the same cliff is HTC.

But these two companies behave completely differently in this situation. No improvisations, no sudden movements – all the same smartphones from the same assembly line. Calmly and methodically, they continue to bend their line, as if nothing had happened. And as if this very line did not lead them into the dubious position in which they find themselves today.

Everything about Sony is more or less clear here: everything that could be discussed has already been discussed a dozen times. Both the AMR pages and the articles and comments on MR. Since HTC, everything is still not so clear – until recently, the design of smartphones, and the points on which they were focused, changed almost every year. The main exception here was HTC One (M9) – the flagship, which outwardly almost one to one repeated last year's smartphone.

Many people believe that the company has finally found its own style, created an almost perfect design that no longer requires any cardinal improvements. Sony is often cited as an example, delicately not noticing that the Japanese company is not doing well at all. And these are not only offended fans of the brand, but also much more sober people, many of whom I have great respect for.

News Digest No. 71. Sad Issue Timeless Design Case Study HTC One M9 / M9 Plus

And yet, the very idea of ​​some kind of mythical style icon that can be sold for years, in my personal opinion, does not stand up to criticism. Moreover, there are enough examples of both approaches on the market and it is not difficult to see who and what this led to.

Take, for example, the company that understands 'style icons' better than all the others put together … at least judging by sales. We are talking about Apple, which has always put pressure not only and not so much on logic as on emotions. And the dog ate on the design in all its senses, from the external design of the smartphone to the internal design of the OS. So, Apple changes the design of their smartphones every two years, although the number of people who are ready to confirm that the appearance of the current model is the same mythical ideal is measured in millions. And this is no less an important component of the success of Apple smartphones than any other.

I don’t know who and when decided that the design was not worth paying attention to. That a new processor may be a reason to change a smartphone, but a new appearance may not. That a status item (and mobile phones have always partly belonged to this category) can be reduced to the level of typical household appliances, but still convince buyers to run for a new model every year or two. This is partly to blame for Samsung, which has proven that cool hardware does have a price in the eyes of buyers. And that if you wish, you can even sell a pebble-style smartphone (this is how SGS3 was once described).


But the point was not just the technical characteristics of SGS3 (unlike the situation that was a year earlier, they were not so different from other smartphones of that time). It's more about the effect of novelty – the idea of ​​uncompromising power was then a novelty, before that, ordinary buyers did not really think about the hardware of smartphones, it did not occur to them to be proud that their smartphone is the most powerful, most progressive and most technologically advanced. Then they were measured mainly in thickness – and on this, by the way, many managed to earn very good money. Suffice it to recall the same clamshells Motorola RAZR, for example.

News Digest No. 71. Sad Issue RAZR from Motorola – an unexpected success story

Is it worth throwing out all the yellow, blue and green colors from your set at the sight of a popular painting made in crimson tones? Should we forget about everything in the world, paying attention only to perfectly matched shades of red? And then, when the fashion for this type of paintings subsides, to be surprised that there is no trace of the former popularity?

In terms of hardware (and even more so the price / quality ratio) HTC it can hardly surprise everyone. Neither were the strengths of the Taiwanese company even in its best years. Sense is now also out of work – the most lightweight shells are in fashion, and ideally – the 'clean' Android of the latest version. All the extra bells and whistles only complicate the manufacturer's update of the device and do not allow you to fully enjoy the OS innovations.

As for the interesting design, the company abandoned it itself. In any case, even after it became clear that the new HTC One is not selling as well as expected, we did not see anything new from the company. And judging by the latest data, even a few signature features are gradually being sacrificed to popular styles.

According to the latest leaks, the company's new smartphone, currently known as HTC A9 or HTC Auro, will look like this:



The speaker connector on the bottom end resembles a solution in smartphones Apple (although by this time there were also a good half Android of devices, starting with the same SGS6), the 'Home' key evokes associations with products Samsung and Meizu. And the case itself, in my opinion, is much more 'iPhone-like' than the case design in HTC One. Nothing at all unusual, bright, memorable.

Let me remind you that according to preliminary information, HTC One A9 is a mid-range device. It is built on a processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 617, equipped with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal memory (there is a slot for memory cards), a 13 MP main camera with an optical stabilization system. The screen of the device, according to unofficial information, is 5-inch AMOLED with a resolution Full HD.

Link to news

There is nothing wrong with spotting interesting ideas from competitors. It is important to be able to use them correctly in your product, try to look at an old idea from a new angle, and not just copy everything that is bad. Here is the usual set of stamps, which by this time had already become quite boring.

Even among the news of this week, you can find announcements of similar smartphones without any problems. For example, the InFocus M812, which will soon start selling for $ 300. True, to begin with, only in India, there is still no clarity on the markets of other countries.


The same all-metal body, clearly inspired by Apple smartphones, a standard Snapdragon 801 with 3 GB of RAM, a 5.5-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1920 × 1080. And its own shell is also present.

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If you want a customer to change his old smartphone for a new one, show him a really new device. Or wait until the battery of his old device swells, the screen breaks or the case is cracked. You can, like Apple, get a rabbit out of your hat and turn an old machine into a new one with a couple of new features and the 'S' prefix – great. No – if you please come up with something different, so that the user really wants to buy a new smartphone. I realized that the old device is no longer a cake and is outdated. Stamping bricks of the same type (it does not matter, plastic, glass or metal) is obviously much more difficult to do.

It is even more difficult these days to prove its right to be called an A-brand (now it's not about having its own production, but about the attitude to the brand), when even PepsiCo is thinking about releasing its own smartphone.


In any case, such a picture appeared on the page of the Chinese representative office of Pepsi in the local social network.

Link to news

According to the information available at the moment, the first PepsiCo smartphone will be called the Pepsi P1 and will receive mid-range characteristics, as well as a corresponding relatively low cost.


Presumably it will run based on processor MediaTek MT6592 and operating system Android 5.1 Lollipop. The amount of RAM is 2 GB, and the built-in memory is 16 GB (there is a slot for memory cards). The smartphone will also get a 5.5-inch 1080p touchscreen display, 13MP rear and 5MP front cameras, and a 3000mAh battery. The price of Pepsi P1 in the Chinese market will be about $ 205.

Link to news

On the other hand, HTC is a little fortunate that the release of Meizu Pro 5 (without whose influence the HTC Aero obviously did not manage) is delayed until November due to an accident on one of the factories in China. When he gets to the markets of other countries, it is not at all clear – it may well be that it will not be possible to quickly produce the required volume of devices now.


Let me remind you the main technical characteristics of MEIZU PRO 5:

  • Support for communication standards: 4G / LTE (FDD / TDD); 3G WCDMA / TD-SCDMA; GSM
  • Dimensions: 156.7 x 78 x 7.55mm
  • Weight: 168g
  • Processor: octa-core (4xA57 2.1 GHz + 4xA53 1.5 GHz), Samsung Exynos 7420, support for 64-bit instructions
  • Platform: Flyme 4.5 (based on Android 5.1)
  • Display: 5.7-inch, Samsung Super Amoled, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 2.5D Gorilla Glass 3
  • Camera: 21 MP (Sony IMX230), laser phase focusing, sapphire lens protection, backlight, support for 4K video
  • Front camera: 5 MP (OV5670)
    Audio Capabilities: Hi-Fi ES9018K2M audio chip + OPA1612 amplifier, passive filter, ceramic film capacitors, NXP TFA9890 chip
  • Memory: 3 GB RAM / 32 GB internal or 4 GB RAM / 64 GB internal, slot for microSD memory cards (up to 128GB instead of one of the SIM cards)
  • Communications: Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac (2.4 / 5 GHz), Bluetooth v4.1 + LE, NFC, USB Type-C with OTG and USB-HOST support , GPS / A-GPS / GLONASS / BeiDou / QZSS, 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Battery: 3050mAh + fast charging mCharge (up to 65% in 30 minutes)
  • Other: mTouch 2.1 Fingerprint Scanner, Electronic Compass, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity and Lighting Sensors

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The fifth leg principle

Of course, not only the company can be blamed for developing devices according to the 'copy / paste' principle HTC. Thoughtless copying of other people's ideas has long become the norm, which is certainly very saddening. Sometimes you just want to ask – why is THIS here? But, of course, there will be no answer. And if it does, it will be in the style of Cheburashka: 'I don't know what, for nothing.' And nothing that turned out to be a coffee grinder with a built-in vacuum cleaner or a pillow with an iron function – but everything is at the level of competitors.

For example, I absolutely do not understand the fashion for the ForceTouch-style functions, which began to seep into the world Android under a variety of names. I don’t know how things are in iOS, but the 'green robot', in my opinion, needs them no more than a dog's fifth leg. The application interface itself Android was originally designed for two types of tapes (regular and long) in the same way as Windows was designed for two types of mouse clicks (left and right buttons).

Of course, on a computer mouse there are often additional buttons with which you can flip through pages in the browser or copy / paste text. In the same way as some Android smartphones support additional gestures for taking screenshots, mute and more. But these are nothing more than a few very specific 'chips', they do not pretend to change the logic of the OS interface.

It's pointless to come up with some new options for clicks or taps here – they do not initially fit into the OS logic, because it was developed without looking at these new actions. Moreover, it will continue to be developed, because new functions appear only on some part of smartphones, moreover, very insignificant. And the developer of any application is interested in making it work equally well everywhere.

One of the first smartphones with its Force Touch counterpart could be the ZTE Axon Mini. However, this is not its only striking feature. Among other features of the novelty, it is worth noting an interesting body material – a special alloy of aluminum and titanium, which is used in the production of the Boeing 787. In addition, the device supports several additional unlocking methods, including voice, fingerprint or eye scanning.



The characteristics of the smartphone are as follows:

  • Super AMOLED 5.2-inch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution and 2.5D glass;
  • Snapdragon 616 octa-core processor;
  • Graphics accelerator Adreno 405 GPU;
  • 3 GB of RAM;
  • 32 GB of internal memory, microSD slot;
  • Main camera 13 MP with phase detection autofocus;
  • Front camera 8 MP;
  • Battery 2 800 mAh.

So far, the novelty is sold only in China, but will soon appear in other countries, including Russia. The issue price at the moment is $ 362.

Link to news

It is interesting that in the company itself Apple, which still cannot forget the famous phrase about 'good artists who steal', they are in no hurry to copy whatever they get. In particular, despite the fashion trends, computers on OS X do not and will not have a touch screen.


The explanation is simple – this system was originally developed for mouse control and, unlike iOS, is not designed for finger control at all. So why sacrifice usability and add problems to users in pursuit of fashion?

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Sounds more than reasonable to me. It is a pity that not everyone thinks about it.


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