What An­droid phones can learn from the iphone XR

It’s about giv­ing and get­ting value.

PCWorld (USA) - - Contents - BY MICHAEL SI­MON

If you have a thou­sand dol­lars to spend, there’s no short­age of pre­mium An­droid phones to choose from. The Galaxy Note 9( go.pc­world.com/gon9), Pixel 3 XL ( go.pc­world.com/px3), Mate 20 Pro ( go. pc­world.com/m20), and LG V40 Thinq ( go.pc­world.com/v40) all cost up­wards of $1,000, and Sam­sung, Google, Huawei, and LG would be more than happy to take your money.

If you opted to pur­chase any of them, you’d be get­ting one of the best phones money can buy. They all have top-of-the-line specs, gor­geous de­signs (for the most part), and innovative fea­tures and cam­eras. We can de­bate whether any phone is worth four fig­ures, but any­one who buys one of the thou­sand-dol­lar An­droid phones on the mar­ket will un­doubt­edly be get­ting a valu­able piece of tech­nol­ogy.

Of course, none of these An­droid phones would have been brave enough to push the thou­sand-dol­lar bar­rier with­out Ap­ple. When Ap­ple un­veiled the iphone X with a $999 start­ing price tag, it opened the flood­gates for An­droid phones to do the same, much like the iphone X’s de­sign launched a thou­sand notches. An­droid fans and Ap­ple fans can ar­gue till the end of time over whether the Galaxy Note 9 or the iphone XS is the bet­ter phone, but it’s safe to say the Note 9 or Pixel 3 XL wouldn’t have bro­ken the four-fig­ure bar­rier with­out the iphone X.

Maybe Sam­sung and Google can take another page from Ap­ple’s iphone play­book with next year’s crop of phones. In ad­di­tion to its thou­sand-dol­lar-plus phones this year, Ap­ple has also re­leased a new model called the iphone XR, which on the sur­face is an “af­ford­able” ver­sion of the iphone XS. But re­ally, it’s much more than that.

HIGH RISK, HIGH RE­WARD

In the lat­est episode of An­droid Con­fi­den­tial, I take a look at the pre­mium An­droid mar­ket ver­sus the iphone XR. The XR brings one thing the iphone line has been miss­ing for years: value. ‘Lux­ury value’ might be a bet­ter term, given that the iphone XR’S $750 price tag is hardly in­ex­pen­sive. But it man­ages to take the best parts of the iphone XS and put a semi-af­ford­able spin on them with­out com­pro­mis­ing speed, de­sign, or other char­ac­ter­is­tics fun­da­men­tal to the iphone’s great­ness.

The iphone XR isn’t about big ver­sus small, or old ver­sus new. It’s about cre­at­ing a new tier of iphone that ac­com­plishes three things:

1. It fills the price point left by the death of the iphone 8 and 8 Plus.

2. It cre­ates enough sep­a­ra­tion be­tween it­self and the iphone XS to jus­tify the $250 dif­fer­ence.

3. It brings enough fea­tures and specs to make a $750 price tag seem like a bargain.

That’s no easy task. With the iphone XR, Ap­ple has built a phone that truly stands in a class by it­self, with the specs and de­sign of a pre­mium phone, and just the right down­grades and de­ci­sions to give not the il­lu­sion of value, but ac­tual value. It has the new­est soft­ware, the best chip, cut­ting-edge bio­met­rics, and a great screen and cam­era, even if it’s not tech­ni­cally the best.

Think of it this way: No one who buys an iphone XR will feel like they’re get­ting a cheap iphone, and no one who buys an iphone XS will feel like they over­paid. The dif­fer­ence are Watch now at go.pc­world.com/ixr

WITH THE IPHONE XR, AP­PLE HAS BUILT A PHONE THAT TRULY STANDS IN A CLASS BY IT­SELF, WITH THE SPECS AND DE­SIGN OF A PRE­MIUM PHONE, AND JUST THE RIGHT DOWN­GRADES AND DE­CI­SIONS TO GIVE NOT THE IL­LU­SION OF VALUE, BUT AC­TUAL VALUE.

sub­tle, but if you’re will­ing to pay the pre­mium, they’re worth it to you.

There’s no equiv­a­lent to the iphone XR on An­droid. Sure, the Galaxy S9 is cheaper than the XR at $720, but you’re also get­ting a smaller phone. By putting a larger screen in the iphone XR than the XS, Ap­ple is mak­ing peo­ple choose be­tween a 6.1-inch LCD and a 5.8-inch OLED. And no mat­ter which you end up with, you’ll be happy with your de­ci­sion be­cause you’re choos­ing be­tween val­ues, not com­pro­mises.

Some­thing sim­i­lar could be done with An­droid phones. Just this week, Oneplus re­leased a $550 hand­set with a Snapdragon 845 pro­ces­sor, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of stor­age, along with a gi­ant bat­tery, dual cam­era, and near-stock An­droid 9 Pie. But Oneplus is a dif­fer­ent sort of an­i­mal. I’d like to see the real pre­mium An­droid play­ers, namely Sam­sung and Google, take a crack at it and put their own spin on the lux­ury value phone.

Plenty of peo­ple are happy to spend a thou­sand bucks on a phone, and many more will spend $500 for a lesser ex­pe­ri­ence. There are ru­mors that Sam­sung is go­ing to re­lease a third model of the Galaxy S10. I’m hop­ing it takes a page from Ap­ple’s play­book and isn’t just a cheaper phone with less fea­tures, be­cause I’d love to see an An­droid phone that splits the dif­fer­ence.

The Pixel 3 XL is a great phone, even if it costs $1,000.

What if Sam­sung re­lease a Galaxy Note 9 Lite like the iphone XR?

iphone XR

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