Do you remember those days in 80’s when most of TV and HiFi top models were made in Germany? In that time, Japanese industry has to offer all range portfolio and in order to gain market share, had to cut some retail prices (except Sony). Top notch TV didn’t come cheap back then and if you wanted well TV with balanced performance/price you had a choice of Japanese brands to choose. During the 90’s, that story was pretty similar. This time, you had top notch models made in Japan, some in Germany and great performance/price balance in models from South Korea. During 2000’s, LG and Samsung has made it’s name in top models across most of consumer electronics, while Finnish telecommunications brand Nokia was on the throne of phone business. If we look at smartphone offer today, the force is strong in Apple, as the company created the best iterations of smartphone. When it comes to sales, Samsung rule them all. When it comes to balance between price and quality, look no further than China. There is so many smartphones that will blow your mind with great performance, wonderful design (sometimes copycat), unique features and affordable price (major selling points).
Guess the Chinese know much more about smartphones than we think. So, let’s take a look at brands coming with impressive launch lineup and successful line of smartphones from China.
For a years it’s first Chinese brand that comes to my mind. Huawei P7, Mate 7, Honor 6 is trio that make this brand popular lately. Let’s be honest, what is driving sales are entry level phones and this manufacturer know how to offer it, Y330, Y530 came at the unbeatable value for the money in this segment. Beside that, making a 5G technology and providing portfolio that includes wearable tech is just invitation to keep this brand under our radar.
In 2014, Lenovo was the world’s largest personal computer vendor by unit sales. During the same year this company decided to acquire the Motorola Mobility from Google and succeed.
Lenovo sold its smartphone and tablet division in 2008, in order to focus on personal computers and then paid double money to buy it back in late 2009. Lenovo managed to increase its market share in mainland China, which makes more than 80% of it’s smartphone sales.
Vibe Z2 Pro was one of the first phones with Quad HD screen. Massive 4,000mAh battery should provide a busy day or two. 16-megapixel camera is the great snapshot grabber.
This model, along with wearable portfolio in mind, should be a sign for great future for this brand.
Alcatel / TCL
TCL is one of the leading displays company. This company acquired French Alcatel, so now we have a synergy of innovation and tradition. In some country present as Alcatel in some as TCL. Providing offer from entry level phones up to flagship devices and, of course, wearable – watch.
Idol Alpha combine metal frame and translucent edges, offering solid performance and affordable price.
Xiaomi is the world’s most valuable technology start-up. This is brand with unique story that inspire me on so many levels. First, it started with MIUI ROM with fast and fluid UI. Then, we noticed it’s amazing MI smartphone series. Then, in 2013, Hugo Barra ex Vice President of Android Product Management at Google, joined Xiaomi. This start-up company offers smartphones, tablets, fitness bands, smart TVs, routers and air purifiers, bunny dolls and clothes at low prices.
Do you need more?
This brand gained so many respect and big fan base due to it’s devices music playback performance and great benchmark results. Recent cash injection from Alibaba makes this brand very interesting. Beside that, Xiaomi’s CEO and co-founder Lei Jun, was investor of Meizu not so long ago, little known fact, unheard of at the time. Two big players showing so much support to this brand will make me convinced to keep my eye on this brand.
Oppo has it’s own formula how to make top choice smartphone for power users. Latest chip, camera with giant number of pixels and large screen. Add premium look and afordable price tag, you are in the game. Cooperation with CyanogenMod ROM and it’s own Color OS can give them boost in sales and hook for advanced users.
Oppo Find 7 is a great phone. Despite outstanding performance, wonderful screen and great camera most buyers will think again before buying it, because of brand recognition. If you buying a car or suit, you will probably choose BMW or VW over SSangYong or Hugo Boss or Armani over no-name suit. Brand name will give you confidence that your money is spent well when it comes to premium models. Also, it’s a good conversations starter and unfortunately, for some people it’s hard to talk about it’s not-well-known-brand smartphone so they choose by the name.
I like Oppo for it’s game changing features. Unique feature seen in N3 is amazing. Rotating camera will give you the best selfies.
Where Xiaomi and Oppo struggles to find it’s way to the victory, One+ manged to make a buzz across the USA. Amazing design, brilliant performance and attractive price along with invitation only model to buy it are simple product mix. Cooperation with Cyanogen secured stock ROM for One+, which means flawles UI and good performance for consumers. On the other hand, Cyanogen tried to stop One+ from entering Indian’s market, regarding exclusive deal with Micromax. This might be a good thing, because One+ is about to develop its own Android ROM – Oxygen OS.
It’s model One+ One is coming with a clean, stock Android CyanogenMod and costs almost twice as less compared to the competition. Horse in smartphone form.
Back in 2009, I’ve had opportunity to speak with great Cisco manager who is outstanding analyst for smartphone markets by his hobby. One of our theme was – who will be big player in this business by the end of 2020. He mentioned his visits to ZTE HQ in China and his impressions how he feel that ZTE can step up in this business and crush all other players. Let’s wait and see if he was right. In the meantime, in the present day, ZTE is a major telecommunications provider and consumer electronics manufacturer.
ZTE Grand S can be the first phone ever with James Bond style eye-based bio-metric security features. How cool is that?
Company that make Blu and Kazam branded devices is Gionee. Slim, sharp-looking phones with great cameras. Gionee make a buzz with slimness of it’s models and well designed body.
Gionee Elife S5.1 looks hot, with octa-core processor, good selfie camera, beautiful screen and good matched price. Slim and sexy! Let’s see what we can except from Gionee.
Coolpad holds 4.2% of world’s market share in smartphones in 2014. Trendforce forecast tells us that Coolpad will be around 4% at the end of 2015. Good point to keep our eyes on this brand.
Coolpad Ivvi K1 Mini is the world’s thinnest smartphone at this moment. Just 4.7mm thin, price tagged somewhere around $200 or 175 eur should put this model in one of most challenging segment.
The fact that we have so many useful features on our smartphones shows us how far the technology has come. GPS is here for a while, heart rate monitors for some time as well as finger print reader. What about eye-reading-bio-metric security sensors? Has technology gone too far? I don’t think so. It can be used as an educational tool for kids and students, it can makes our business go mobile and provide us entertainment on the go. I’m wondering what wearable tech can bring us new and how it can make our lives easier and better.
One thing is sure, Chinese brands are taking it’s place in smartphone business with exciting features, great performance, good prices and lately with slim and sharp design.
Featured picture: Add Color / Usha Peddamatham / 500px