One of my first truly mobile devices was a little cube-like Sony cellphone with a protruding antenna and a protruding microphone. It was one of those inelegant phones which required me to stand a certain way to get a good signal.
Thankfully, those days are gone but Sony is not. Some time soon both Sony and Apple will introduce new smartphones. The Sony Xperia XZ3 and iPhone XR. The latter starts at a mere $749 while the former starts at $699. Since iPhone XR is the least expensive X model but comes with an excellent camera, good battery life, superb display, and the fastest CPU, I expect it to be Apple’s most popular iPhone X model.
What about the Sony Xperia ZX3? iPhone killer? Or another wannabe from an aging brand that has lost its way? Specifications and price tag are similar.
Xperia ZX3 has a 6-inch display to match the iPhone XR’s 6.1-inch display. Both have 4GB RAM and 64GB storage to start. Sony’s cameras have more megapixels, both front and rear. The Sony has a fingerprint sensor while iPhone XR has Face ID. They weigh about the same, 193 vs 194 grams, respectively. Both run the latest OS; Android 9 and iOS 12.
Is this an iPhone killer?
Sony’s Xperia ZX3 is little more than another Android smartphone that borders on the premium space occupied by Samsung and Apple, but otherwise has little going for it other than Sony’s brand.
Why is this not an iPhone killer?
Product marketing has certain time honored rules. To disrupt a mature market and to carve out a space of success, a new product must have all that the reigning products have but needs to be priced notably less. That means similar features and quality, but for a lower price point. Otherwise, what’s the incentive for customers to switch from one brand to another.
Likewise, but at the other end of the scale, a new product with more advanced, market disrupting features that set it apart from mainstream competition, must be priced nearly the same as competition, because, again, there needs to be an incentive to make a switch.
This explains why Android smartphones have captured the most marketshare but not the most revenue or profits in the smartphone space. Cheaper devices that do the same thing sell more. Expensive devices need more features to justify their prices. Differentiation is key and Apple differentiates iPhones from competitors more than competitors differentiate their products among themselves.
iPhone launched in 2007 and 11 years later there still isn’t an iPhone killer on the market. Even Sony can’t make one.