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What is the best way for China phone companies to stay relevant?

by shanos 9


When I first started to get in to China phones, there were a few main brands that put out one maybe two phones a year, they tended to be higher end (well higher end china based mediatek) phones, the rest of the market was taken up with a mix of clones (of Apple and Samsung phones) and low end, low budget phones.

Over the last two years things have really started to change, with the release of newer 64bit soc’s from mediatek that are able to keep up with and in some cases beat soc’s from the likes of Qualcom, the newer breed of china phones are really starting to get noticed outside of China.

But with all these great features now becoming ultra affordable, there appear to be a lot more companies entering in to the market, most are offering rebranded handsets with decent specs and in many cases undercutting the original prices of the phones they have rebadged, whilst other companies are pumping out new phones at an incredible rate.

Many people are getting upset by the constant shift in new phones, that phone you ordered on pre-release last month with great specs and a great price, is just starting to ship… and the company announces their newest model will be out soon on pre-release… I can understand how frustrating this might be for some people and totally appreciate the annoyance it must cause to them, but if you look at it from another perspective is it really such a bad thing?

Whatever we buy in our lives will eventually be replaced with something newer and shinier, that is just inevitable.

I like the rest of you (hopefully) research my purchases based on what is currently available in my price range, if what I want and need is available in my budget I buy it and use it to do what it is that I purchased it for, happy in the knowledge that it fulfils my requirements and has done so within my budget.

Should I be upset that another phone is released soon after? or should I just be happy with my purchase? lets not forget that pretty much any current Mediatek 64bit SOC based phone will be fast enough to perform without problems and throw plenty of pixels around to keep even the most intensive games playing smoothly.

Yes its nice to have the latest and greatest phone, but over here in England where most handsets are given as part of a phone contract (on a subsidised basis), you are stuck with whatever handset you choose for 18 months to 2 years!

So if you were to choose for instance a S6 Edge (the phone will cost about $80 upfront + $80 each month for unlimited texts and calls + 4gb of 4g data) and get it on its release date, you would still be using that phone until the S8 Edge 3 is released.

At least with the current raft of China phones that we are luck enough to have access too, we can purchase a phone and use lower priced sim only packages, the same $80 monthly package on sim only is just $25

S6 Edge on 24 month contract

$80 upfront + $80 x 24months  = $2000


China Phone over 24 months on sim only 

$180 upfront + $25 x 24months = $780

or to put it another way 

$2000 – $780 = $1220

$1220 / $180 = 6.7777 

That means that including the original China phone that you purchased at the start of the contract you could purchase an a new phone every 3.5 months over the 24 month period… sounds great but it gets better!

If you consider that you are likely to be able to resell your handsets for $100 + the number of new handsets you could have over that 24 month period becomes crazy.

Based on that math you have the choice to change your phone for the latest and greatest offerings or too be happy with the handset you picked and purchased (that lets not forget ticked all the boxes you needed at the time) and enjoy the financial savings each month on your contract.

Lets stop hating on companies like Elephone that are putting out lots of new phones and instead enjoy the innovation and speed at which we are able to get new tech, buy continually pushing the boundaries we are seeing ever greater products at amazing prices.

Hopefully with Elephone announcing the release of source code for the P8000 it will make other phone companies in China take note and do the same, this will help to ensure that older handsets continue to receive support they deserve.

If it was the other way around I would be a lot less happy as a geek than I am now, more toys for less money is better than less toys for more money.

Let me know what you think in the comments below, hopefully I have given a different perspective to a current issue.

Regards Shanos

Buy Chuwi CoreBook
  • Farid Seyed

    Great insight on your article Shanos, I also live in UK and Chinese phones are the way foward. The only biggest problem I have is, whenever I decide upon a new phone a better one comes out 🙂

    At first I was adamant to purchased the Mizu 4 where the Asus Zenfone 2 came out, I thought to myself 64bit 3GM ram is wonderful. The for half that price Elefone p7000 and LETV One, all followed by annoucemnets of the Mizu Mx5 and Honor 7 which was released today. I keep having to wait and its driving me nuts haha. My mind is set on the Honor 7 however shipping will start from 7th July and expected mid August by the time re sellers distribute it.

    • Shanos

      We are in a constant state of flux mate, tech is changing so fast but with phones at $200 that are as good as they are, I find that they can be passed on to others for close to what they cost to buy.
      If you saved £25 a month in a phone slush fund it’s safe to say that when a new one you fancy is announced you would probably be in a position to trade up.
      By mid July the Elephone vonwey could also be on the list along with an m8 and an mx5 pro etc 🙂

  • csak1user

    Compare a Chinese phone to the S6 Edge is a little brave.
    I compare these phones to “brand” phones with the same price since your budget is a fixed parameter.
    My problem with this frequent similar phone model making is that I can’t imagine that these small Chinese companies can provide proper support for such a high number of models.

  • Rigge

    If they fix simple things like software issues.. then Chinese Phones will easily destroy iphone, samsung, etc.. What would they be? Kernel sources, installed google play, latest android version along with stability check.
    The hardware is already there, but the software is lagging.. Only fanatics like us buy Chinese Phones.. once the mainstream(normal) people will think chinese Phones are easy to handle in software it will be gameover Iphone/samsung/lg.

    • Shanos

      I think that companies will start to make it easier for devs to work on phones, in order to become more mainstream you are correct they need to have a good degree of software support.
      But let’s not forget that companies like samsung also struggle when it comes to software updates and smooth roms.
      touchwiz has always been a hog on resources and a constant cause of complaint.
      its a shame that miui is not more known outside of China as it goes a long way towards making phones simple and elegant in use.

    • Shanos

      Hopefully Elephone releasing sources to devs will give the other companies the unsentimental to do the same, we need more devs like the guys over at xda that will work with low level code to not just fix issues but to innovate for our China phones.
      I can forsee a world where coders embrace the power of China phones and make them mainstream by making it impossible for people not to be impressed by the specification, the software and the price.
      but I do think some China phone companies need to rethink their names 😉 lol

  • quodvadis

    Their hardwares have been good, but most of the time their softwares are total no show. It’s fine for people like me who don’t mind and am able to use custom rom but people like me aren’t many compared to the mass.

    • Shanos

      I am hoping that software support will become a thing that is not an afterthought, I hope that China companies will get on board with kernel sources and help to ensure that the latest versions of Google os are supported much quicker than the likes of samsung and HTC etc can, given that the reason for the long wait on major companies getting new os is down to having to try and customise the rom for all off the different phone networks and providers.
      China phones should be more like nexus devices that have a pure base rom that can be released fairly quickly, from that base you can choose a modified rom to put on top.

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