Similar to its competitors, mid-range smartphones have improved quite a lot over the last few years. By the time One UI made it to market, Samsung had rolled out a plethora of devices offering value for money. However, since Huawei, its biggest competitor, was removed from the picture last year, this movement could be nearing its apex.
Most recently, Huawei has challenged Samsung at all price points of the market. Granted, in the flagship market, where brand equity still trumped the real bang-for-buck ratio, this may not have meant all that much. But it would be foolhardy to imagine that Samsung’s devices might be without the benefit of competition from Huawei and to a lesser degree, Xiaomi. The primary cause of the line blurring between entry-level and mid-range smartphones is the intense competition in the market.
Can Anyone Fill the Void Left by Huawei?
Huawei is among Samsung’s top five clients, but the two companies’ rivalry in 5G network devices, laptops, and mobile device processors is heating up (APs). Huawei’s contribution to Samsung Electronics’ revenues will drop dramatically six years later, according to industry analysts, as China pushes for “China Manufacturing 2025” to improve self-sufficiency in memory semiconductors like DRAMs and NAND flashes.
Sure, Huawei maintains that the US sanctions were merely a graze on the skin. It’s still wasting money pretending to be important in the new foldable niche, for example. However, in fact, the company’s brand is rapidly fading.
The bizarre events that put the whole world on lockout for the remainder of 2020 simply played in Huawei’s favour because they obscured just how crippling the trade sanctions were. Of note, it’s already the biggest loser in the 2020 mobile shopping race, but in the midst of a global crisis, the success turnaround doesn’t seem as catastrophic.
With Huawei out of the picture, few companies are left to drive value rivalry in the mid-range segment. The other two clear options are Xiaomi and BBK, but only Xiaomi has widespread brand popularity in the West. OnePlus, BBK’s Western experiment, has been a positive so far, but it lacks the resources to fully compete with a multinational giant like Samsung.
The Silver Lining, or How Samsung Isn’t Taking It for Granted in This Case (Yet)
From here on out, it’s not just doom and misery for customers. The fact that Samsung has recently increased its efforts to include Software and protection upgrades for its smartphones and tablets for much longer than ever shows that this current period of diminished rivalry has certain advantages as well.
That isn’t to suggest that the reason updates are improving is because Samsung is saving money on rivals. It’s just that, for the most part, pretending that security patches sell devices is pointless. All requires them, but few are conscious of this and far less comprehend why. Sure, it will be ideal if the typical user was well-informed, but it may never happen.
We should also find solace in the fact that, due to a lack of competitiveness, Samsung has focused increasingly on marketing mobile protection and, as a result, has informed more customers. However, it’s impossible to understand why the firm wouldn’t try to take advantage of this scenario in the future by lowering costs on its mid-rangers or just raising premiums when it now has some breathing space. If the name isn’t Apple, gross margins for something below flagship-level hardware haven’t been fantastic recently… or ever.
The iPhone SE, by coincidence, seems to be one of the only few smartphones worthy of holding Samsung on its toes in the mid-range market. If the rumors are correct, Apple has agreed to make these low-cost iPhones an annual event. In reality, after Huawei’s early demise, another ferocious Samsung-Apple rivalry will be what the doctor had just ordered for us consumers.