In­no­va­tion Is Back

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch - - INDULGE - Ra­jiv Makhni

SMART­PHONES ARE be­com­ing bor­ing. Ev­ery com­pany seems to be only in­cre­men­tally adding small fea­tures or up­ping the hard­ware specs frac­tion­ally. Most com­pa­nies play it safe and go with the phi­los­o­phy of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. W hen is the last time a fea­ture or a new add-on in a phone made you go wow!?

I hear state­ments like this all the time. W hile I some­times at­tribute it to peo­ple get­ting jaded with tech­nol­ogy and numb to new fea­tures, the last two years have given me pause for thought. Could it be that smart­phones have lost the in­no­va­tion edge? Al­most all cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy has first ap­peared on smart­phones and then per­co­lated down to other cat­e­gories like tablets, cam­eras and note­books. But things seem to have slowed down to a crawl now. W ith ev­er­in­creas­ing de­mand and a mar­ket on fire for the last few years, com­pa­nies have taken the easy road to suc­cess and played a sim­ple ‘add one or two small things and call it a new phone’ game. Could the re­cent slump in smart­phones sales worldwide be a re­sult of that? I’m glad to an­nounce that innovations in phones are back with a bang and here are three prime ex­am­ples:

If you too think that smart­phones are los­ing their sheen, think again. These three new phones will make you go wow

THE SMARTRON tPHONE

Let’s make this sim­ple. If you’re a new com­pany try­ing to break into the Indian phone mar­ket, your chances of suc­cess are as much as Johnny Depp get­ting a hit movie. Es­pe­cially if you don’t want to go down the road of com­ing up with a bil­lion-dol­lar cam­paign of 50 front­page ad­ver­tise­ments in newspapers and a TV blitz. Your only other choice is to have re­ally out­stand­ing prod­ucts. Thank­fully Smartron has that. Af­ter the stun­ning suc­cess of the tBook, the tphone is the real test. And they have to­tally aced it. It’s all de­signed and made in In­dia and sur­passes al­most any­thing worldwide. Truly stun­ning de­sign, four colours, 4GB RAM, in­cred­i­ble cam­era, pow­er­ful hard­ware and all of it for about 20K. But the real in­no­va­tion comes from the TronX built-in. This is the plat­form where you get in­stant ac­cess to your pro­file, data, con­tent, ser­vices, cloud, care, com­mu­nity, and can con­trol mul­ti­ple IoT de­vices from any­where in the world. The fact that it’s com­pletely id­iot-proof and can be used by a five-year-old makes it be­yond unique. Smartron could be the gi­ant killer from In­dia that could dom­i­nate the world. The tPhone starts that jour­ney.

THE LG G5

LG’s smart­phone his­tory is pretty unique. They started off well, lost the plot, tried to rise from the ashes many a time, finally made a huge come back with Nexus phones but never re­ally dom­i­nated the mar­ket.

This de­spite the fact that they ac­tu­ally make great phones. The G5 could be the come­back phone of the year as it is jam-packed with in­no­va­tion and has a rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent ap­proach. It’s mod­u­lar, so the bot­tom part comes off and you can add the LG CAM Plus mod­ule (cam­erastyle hand grip with phys­i­cal but­ton cam­era con­trols and its own larger bat­tery) or the LG Hi-Fi Plus (made by B&O with speak­ers and a Hi-Fi DAC for au­dio play­back), plus more mo­d­ules are about to be re­leased. Then there are dual cam­eras at the back and one of them has fish-eye ca­pa­bil­i­ties. It also has a dual dis­play sys­tem in which all the in­for­ma­tion you need is show­cased even when your phone’s main screen is off. And, it may well be the only phone with a metal uni­body and a re­place­able bat­tery sys­tem. Great innovations all crammed into a sin­gle phone. If LG mar­kets this right and gets a few more mod­u­lar add-ons out fast, this could be a killer phone in the G se­ries.

THE COOLPAD MAX

W hat do you get if you’re a Chi­nese gi­ant, en­ter In­dia, get great suc­cess but only in the un­der-10K mar­ket and as­pire to move up the price chain? You get a ‘Mis­sion Im­pos­si­ble’ la­bel! In­dia is a ruth­less mar­ket where low­priced brands find it im­pos­si­ble to sell mid and high-end phones. Coolpad de­cided to chal­lenge that rule and took the in­no­va­tion ap­proach. A top-end phone with great looks and ev­ery­thing that a flag­ship phone would have, and then added a dra­matic twist. They made it into a dual OS phone. W ell, at least that’s how it op­er­ates. You press a but­ton (it can be a pri­vate but­ton too) and the phone switches from one setup to a com­pletely pri­vate OS. In here, you can op­er­ate the phone just like a sec­ond phone. A sec­ond W hat­sApp, pic­ture folder, doc­u­ments, con­tacts, mes­sages, ev­ery­thing and any­thing. And it all lives right here and doesn’t leak into the first area at all. The pos­si­bil­i­ties and us­age of a sys­tem like this are end­less. Home and work con­tent com­pletely sep­a­rate, us­ing the phone in In­dia or abroad, peo­ple who live dual lives (you know who you are) and peo­ple with lots of se­crets (ditto). The mind bog­gles to think how much this was needed and how no one has ex­e­cuted some­thing like this be­fore.

There it is! Phones that make in­no­va­tion their main plat­form and refuse to play it safe. The suc­cess of these phones will make sure that other com­pa­nies awaken from their self-in­duced slum­ber. It’s time to put the wow back in smart­phones and these three make a fine start!

PACKED WITH FEA­TURES

LG’s G5 could be the come­back phone of the year as it is jam-packed with in­no­va­tion and a rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent ap­proach

MADE IN IN­DIA

Smartron’s tPhone has stun­ning de­sign, an in­cred­i­ble cam­era and pow­er­ful hard­ware at a great price

DOU­BLE THE FUN

The Coolpad has great looks and a dra­matic twist as well. It is a dual-OS phone

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