By Joe Levi | February 10, 2014 7:24 AM
Generally speaking, whenever Apple introduces a product, many claim it to be “perfect”. This always strikes me as odd when a new iteration comes along, and somehow “improves” on the previous one (which was supposed to have been “perfect”). One thing that was “missing” from Apple’s phone offering until recently was a “low priced” device. When the iPhone 5C came out, many saw a new era of low-priced iPhones in the not-too-distant future. That future has thus far failed to materialize.
When it comes to smartphones, adding a splash of color not only makes otherwise “bland” devices more “pretty”, but it also adds a personal touch. In the past, Apple users have been forced to customize their devices with cases — which third-party manufacturers are more than happy to produce and sell en masse. With Apple’s introduction of the iPhone 5C, the requirement for every user to purchase an accessory to add color was eliminated — only it wasn’t.
At the same time Apple released the iPhone 5C, the company also released the iPhone 5S. The differences, other than color, were a disappointment. People wanted the latest and greatest iPhone, but wanted it in various colors as well. They didn’t get it. Instead, they got a “cheap iPhone”.
Unfortunately, this “cheap” phone is anything but. The 16GB version costs US$549, and upping it to 32GB adds another hundred bucks to the sticker price. Some will still claim they can get it for $99, but that’s carrier subsidized. In other words, you’re paying for your phone by over-paying for your monthly cellular service — and a lengthy contract.
Meanwhile, Google had been experimenting with a new approach: selling a flagship device at a relatively inexpensive price point. The Nexus 4 it was only available in black, but Google introduced a second color with the Nexus 5: white. I’ve really enjoyed my white Nexus 5.
Google’s flagship phone, unlike Apple’s “cheap” phone, really is relatively inexpensive. For under $350 you can pick up the 16GB Nexus 5, and an extra fifty bones will nab you one with double the storage space. The really interesting thing, it’s now available in three colors: black, white, and red. Sure, that’s still two fewer colors that you can get if you opt for iOS over Android, but for the price, I think you’ll be happy with a couple less choices.
That’s not even the point of comparison though. We’re talking about one company’s top-of-the-line device, compared to another’s “entry-level” version. Once we start comparing apple to apples (if you’ll pardon the very deliberate pun), the Nexus 5 compared to the iPhone 5S, the price difference jumps even more: $649 and $749 respectively. If you ask me, that’s just insane.
Red Nexus 5 Versus iPhone 5C
The iPhone 5C isn’t exactly flying off the shelves. People realize that it’s last-year’s specs wrapped up in a colorful plastic shell — and they don’t want it. They’re either saving money by going with last-year’s model (the iPhone 5-proper), or to this year’s iPhone 5S… leaving the poor iPhone 5C abandoned. Unwanted and unloved.
Google, on the other hand, has a much better price point for its flagship, and is now offering it in a very brilliant color. You can’t get much more bold than red! As a matter of fact, it’s so popular that it’s already sold out. Who knows if Google and LG will offer other colors like blue and yellow. They don’t really have to. They’ve already proven than the “right” way to offer variety in bold colors is to offer it on their flagship — not by trying to create some Frankenstein device that nobody really wants. It’s a great lesson to be learned, and Apple would be wise to stick to what it knows best: selling a single flagship at full price, and last-year’s model at a discount.
For the rest of us, we’re happy buying our unlocked, flagship phones, and even happier to know that we can have bold colors without sacrificing specs.