There was a time when you had to shell out huge sums of cash to get a proper Android phone that didn’t, well, suck at its job. That, or you could get a cheaper phone that would likely become unusable once you started filling its memory with apps and other data. Fast forward to 2015 and you can get pretty much a good phone for as low as $300. With 1080p displays, 64 gigs of internal memory, RAM that is more than what is in your old PC and a killer CPU, decent Android phones have become cheap thanks to the foray of Chinese players into the market. However, this leaves us with one question that nobody seems to want to answer? When you can get a good Android for so less, why bother spending so much cash on a premium one?
Unlike the iPhone, Android phones have rarely been associated with class or a level of aristocracy that the iPhone commands. The phones who buy Android phones are those looking for a cheaper alternative, or a few of those who do not want an Apple product in their pocket. So now that this is out of question, let’s look at some advantages that the expensive Android phones have to offer. You see, people still have a bit of mistrust associated with the phones from the east, since they often associate them with low quality hardware churned out in factories in China. However, players like Xiaomi and OnePlus have addressed that to an extent by using the same components as those used by their global peers. They’re using the same processors made by Qualcomm, battery tech from reputed companies, and cameras sensors made by Sony. Yes, there’s still room for improvement in build quality, but we’re talking about a price difference of $300-$400 here. We can atleast forgive these makers if they’re not able to match the Galaxy S6 or the HTC One in the final product finish.
Another thing often associated with premium brands is longevity. Yes, due to their higher grade materials they might last longer, but here’s where Google’s broken Android update program and the rapid pace of technology evolution comes into play. Even with a top of the line phone, you’ll likely replace it after two years given the outdated hardware and software. Consider this. Even if the cheaper phones last 1-1.5 years only, you can still get two and still save on costs rather than getting a flagship from Samsung which will likely need a replacement in the same time frame (see anyone using the Galaxy S4 much?). That is how technology is and will likely to be for a few years.
This leaves players like Samsung and Sony only with the option to evolve and bring out innovations that their Chinese counterparts can’t match (atleast for some time). We’re talking about camera tech, curved displays, new sensors on the phone and what not. Otherwise, they will have no choice but to discount their phones considerably to be a fair match to the likes of upcoming Mi 5 or the OnePlus Two.