Running out of magic tricks

Amol Gokhale
Saturday, 16 September 2017

Remember the McDonald’s commercial, where the jingle goes like, “Hum hain different different, but together...!” that’s exactly what has happened with all major smartphone manufacturers in the last five years.
Everyone is trying their level best to stand out from the crowd with something new to offer to their loyal customers, but cannot really afford to not take a leaf out of their rivals’ book.

Remember the McDonald’s commercial, where the jingle goes like, “Hum hain different different, but together...!” that’s exactly what has happened with all major smartphone manufacturers in the last five years.
Everyone is trying their level best to stand out from the crowd with something new to offer to their loyal customers, but cannot really afford to not take a leaf out of their rivals’ book.

Samsung, LG, HTC, Motorola, OnePlus, VIVO and now even Nokia all have Android powered operating systems optimised for their own devices trying to deliver best user experience possible with Google itself setting the benchmark with their flagship Pixel devices. On the other hand, Apple despite leading the industry in few areas, had to tweak their iOS to keep up with some of the really useful features of Android such as widgets and now with iPhone X even swipe up to unlock!

Here’s a quick look at things that are now on offer on both iOS and Android platform

Security
Having first introduced the Touch ID to unlock the phone, Apple has led the industry when it comes to privacy and security. Now, almost every single phone is equipped with the fingerprint sensor with Samsung even providing iris scanner as well as face recognition.

But Apple has upped the ante again with Face ID on new iPhone X with which company claims that possibility of someone else managing to open your phone with their face is 1 in 1 million.

Fast charging
Day by day applications are becoming more power hungry. The augmented reality and virtual reality are draining phones real fast despite companies claiming all day long battery.

The fast charge feature allows one to charge their phone up to 60 per cent in a matter of few minutes along with the option of wireless charging.

Artificial intelligence
When it comes to AI, it’s the company from Mountain View which leads the global market. Despite the fact that upcoming iOS 11 (set to be released on September 19) has made Siri more smarter, ‘Google Assistant’ is just way too ahead because of the vast resources Google has its disposal. With Android Oreo, it has become even more powerful as Google showed off how well ahead they are at machine learning compared to Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s Bixby.

Better cameras
It is one area where Apple has beaten all other manufacturers hands down. They are the trendsetters in this regard - they put a dual camera on the back of iPhone 7 plus and rest have just followed the suit, up to an extent that companies like VIVO have even put dual front cameras as well.

Although high end models like Google Pixel, Samsung S8, Note 8, LG G6 have come pretty close to matching what Apple delivers on the camera front, the Cupertino-based company leads the way.

Ditching the body parts
Although Apple launched iPhone SE last year claiming people loved their 4” model, which is true; their 5.5” models show that bigger display is what is needed in today’s market. But 2017 has seen the trend of ‘infinity display’ with an edge to edge display with companies ditching the bezel as seen on iPhone X, Samsung S8, LG G6, and more likely on upcoming Google Pixel XL.

The market demand has forced companies to make their devices dust and water resistant and to achieve it, phones are becoming unibody designed. Getting rid of headphones jack is the easy way to do it as Bluetooth technology is becoming better for using wireless headphones.  
Although, Apple was trolled mercilessly for getting rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack (including Google in their Pixel launch video) Apple got it just right, as others are following the suit. (Yes, Pixel 2 is  most likely to ditch the 3.5mm jack).

The last of flagship phones- Google Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 will hit the market on October 4 to complete the cycle of bigwigs flaunting their new toys. There is a lot less wow factor to it, especially with the lofty price tag attached and similar specifications on offer.

The companies have surely understood that it’s not a cakewalk to sell their phones in the competitive market unless they watch and learn from their rivals.

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