Just how many variations on the same design can the market take? I guess the fair answer to that is different from person to person and there’s always the good old saying according to which you shouldn’t fix something that is not broken (or, in this case, that still sells).
Apple’s iPhones look fairly the same; of course there are differences from one major iteration to the other (3, 4, 5) but the design principle is alike.
Before Samsung launched its Galaxy S 4 I was praying for a new design because the current pebble-like aspect has been used and abused like a good old… Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, everything in between, and now the Galaxy S 4 and probably a dozen other 2013 phones. For those of you who have not watched our live coverage of the unveiling, this was my reaction upon seeing the Samsung flagship for this year, in terms of its outer aspect.
I can totally understand the reasons behind such a move, from brand and model recognition to not redrawing things that are still selling like hot cakes. I can even put up with time and budget constraints resulting in recycling the same design, even though we’re not talking about a garage-shop here but behemoth industries that spare no dollars when it comes to marketing and product development. However, despite all the reasons and understanding them, I don’t have to necessarily accept them as a user, a phone owner. And I don’t!
The Nokia N9 brought a revolutionary and bold design to mobile phones. As our review stated: “We definitely like the looks of the N9 and appreciate that nothing on the phone reminds us of the iPhone, HTC devices or any other generic design principle OEMs apply and use nowadays. It is fresh and it is unique.”
All this was happening in November of 2011, 17 months ago. Fast forward to today and Nokia has been using and reusing the design of the N9 like a champ. It’s really hard to tell which of the two companies did a better job at recycling designs, Nokia or Samsung.
Maybe I’m too picky and you’ll dismiss this, maybe you’ll resonate. It is really up to you, but in any case, answer just one question: how many subsequent phones reusing the same design is OK and when is it too much already?
Samsung’s reached the point in my book, and so has Nokia. Apple’s getting there, and quickly!
Those who were interested in following and reading my thoughts will remember what I said about the Galaxy S 4, before it was launched: “it will have to collectively bring two things (a new design and a better camera than the HTC One) for me to even consider it”. Sorry, Samsung, one of the two just won’t suffice in my book!
What about Nokia? Here are my (exact same) thoughts: the next Lumia flagship will have to collectively bring two things in order for me to consider it: a real PureView camera (no, not the OIS PureView Light/Ver. 2 on the Lumia 920, but a combo of oversampling — 808 — and low light sensitivity with stabilization – 920) AND a new design.
The recent Lumia 928 leaks suggest a Verizon Lumia 920; I can put up with it, it’s a carrier model.
However, the next flagship, whenever it happens, whatever its codename will be (Catwalk seems to be a trending topic), and whatever numbers Nokia decides to label it with, has to bring something new in terms of design.
That, or I’ll pass!