Are Smartphones turning Gimmicky?


Smartphones are going through an interesting transition. While on one end of the spectrum, the principle of Better, Faster and Cheaper seem to be driving Smartphone innovation, on the other end however, smartphones seem to be suffering from problems of differentiation.

When all phones start having more or less the same Operating System, the same hardware specifications, what can smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung or Nokia do to stand out? Smartphones of 2012 may arrive with few extra “features”; some remarkable, some outlandish and some just makes you wonder: Are Smartphones turning to Gimmicks?


Nokia PureView 808


Nokia’s recent spurt of radical innovation has taken newspaper headlines by storm. With incredible amount of advertising being done for its Lumia range of phones and a spree of events happening all around the world, Nokia have clawed its way back into the minds and hearts of the people.

It wasn’t surprising then when Nokia launched the Nokia PureView 808 that seemed more like a Super mammoth Camera with a phone than a phone with a camera, that only a few souls in the world would miss out on the excitement.

One begs to wonder however, whether such a massive 41MP camera on a dying Operating system is really valid? Symbian Belle’ is no doubt a good operating system and can definitely cater to all the basic smartphone needs.

But as the world moves on to decide whether to move to Windows phones by Nokia or not, such a mammoth offering by Nokia may just lead consumers to be confused. The 41MP camera (phone) is a never before innovation in itself thanks to the Remarkable picture quality, mesmerizing video quality but is it wasted on a Symbian phone? For now, India gets to see the phone first before anyone sometime in the end of May.

Sony Xperia Sola

clip_image004Sony Mobile communication has come out with the new line of Xperia phones under the Xperia NXT brand line. Sony’s Xperia S , Xperia P and Xperia U will attempt to woo the smartphone customers in the upper, mid and the lower mid-price range respectively. Xperia Sola however has gained the most attention among the consumers and gadget fans around the world mainly due to its Floating touch technology.

Floating Touch technology lets you highlight hyper-links on the web pages just by hovering your finger over the mobile phone screen. What would be interesting to note however, is whether the user really cares?

While Sony has promised a slew of self-developed applications to support this new technology innovation as well as open up for more developers to make their own applications. On the face of it, this technology is definitely appealing, but one wonders, why the remaining models of Xperia do not have the same feature?

Whether Xperia Sola will fly out of the shelves solely based on its Floating touch, considering its specifications are below that of Xperia S and Xperia P in terms of processor, screen size and camera is to be watched. For an average user however, the specifications of Sony Xperia S is more appealing than the Floating touch feature of Sony Xperia Sola.

Sony Xperia Sola is now available for a reasonable mid-range price of Rs 19999.

Samsung Galaxy Note



The excitement over the “category killer” seems to have died down a bit. People seem to still prefer smaller phones or larger tablets than go for the “phablet”.

With Samsung delaying the release of Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade for Samsung Galaxy Note, it is clear that Samsung Galaxy Note is not the future of Samsung’s mobile innovation. It begs the question then, is the world’s largest smartphone really a technological innovation or were we being shown just another gimmick gadget with moderate form factor innovation to stand out among a crowded array of smartphones?

Samsung Galaxy Note features a massive 5.4” AMOLED capacitive touch screen, which made the phone just too unwieldy as a phone. People would definitely admire the giant screen while you show off your favorite videos and photographs but may just feel a bit a bit ticklish as you proceed to answer an incoming call. The phone has proven all the form factor critics wrong by selling over 2 million units in 2011.

The phone is currently priced at Rs 29,700.

Samsung Galaxy Beam

clip_image008Samsung has in store for the typical android fan, the ultimate show-off piece with the Samsung Galaxy Beam.

The phone features a 1 GHz dual core processor and running on Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich. The phone features a 4” AMOLED capacitive touch screen. The most remarkable aspect of the phone isn’t however its brilliant specs, but the HD Projector mounted on the top of the phone. It is interesting to see a projector on a smartphone.

While it can be justified, stating of course how so many businessmen would prefer having their presentations ready to be transported via smartphone and displayed on the projection screen, or how we often find ourselves in company of large amount of friends and need a big enough screen to share those fun pictures or videos.

What is interesting however is if this is a technology that seems “innovative” enough? The projector quality has been stated as being top of the notch, in fact (see video below) even better than the regular run on the mill phones or projectors.

Whether Beam is accepted as a technological must have or whether it will be overlooked as another gimmick is to be seen when it will finally make its entry in Q3 2012.


Smartphone manufacturers continue to innovate and produce better hardware and software manufacturers work to make equally enthralling Apps. However, with continuous innovation on all ends and smaller product development life cycles, products are soon becoming irrelevant.

It isn’t surprising then that innovation takes a life of its own and companies come out with a few Gimmicks to keep customers interested. While a Giant screen phone, Floating touch or mini HD projector on the smartphone may seem appealing ideas one does still wonder if they would be the norm tomorrow or would they just be a fad.

What do you think about these Innovative models?

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