OPINION: Smartphone launches have traditionally been exciting events, but the new trend of teasing features ahead of reveal has taken the fun out of it.
I’ve always enjoyed covering smartphone launches – which should come as no surprise as the Mobile Editor – but in recent years they’ve become a bit boring. Why? Because brands are now slowly teasing and announcing features sometimes weeks ahead of the reveal to drum up interest.
That’s fine, the marketing machine needs to do what the marketing machine does, but it takes the fun out of the actual big reveal. It’s kind of like if you were told ahead of time what you were getting for Christmas as a kid; it’s still fun to get the present, but it’s not exciting and it’s certainly not a surprise.
I want that child-like sense of excitement back when I watch phone reveal events. I want to feel genuinely surprised when a company reveals a new smartphone feature not available from any competitor, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
Don’t get me wrong, not every company does it – companies like Apple stay very tight-lipped about future products and features – but it’s becoming more of a trend on the Android side of things.
It all really started with the plucky new mobile startup OnePlus back in 2014, which used to drum up hype by slowly eking out details about its upcoming smartphones ahead of time. It’s easy to see why OnePlus did (and still does) it; it not only builds hype within the community but it basically ensures a continuous flow of media coverage in the weeks leading up to the big event.
Fast forward to 2023 and it’s not just small companies that want to get the edge on big players that are teasing features ahead of launch; companies with a loyal fanbase and great brand recognition like Xiaomi are getting into the action. The company fully revealed the design of the Xiaomi 12 series on Weibo an entire week before it was revealed in China.
Even Samsung is getting into the trend of teasing and announcing features ahead of launch.
Take next week’s Galaxy Unpacked for example. Samsung has posted a raft of teasers that seem to focus on low-light photography and possibly even astrophotography with the presence of a well-lit moon in one teaser, essentially confirming improved low-light camera performance on the upcoming Galaxy S23 models.
There has also been confirmation that it’ll be using the next-gen Gorilla Glass Victus 2 with improved drop resistance against concrete.
Sure, it’s not quite as dramatic as companies like OnePlus revealing the entire design of the OnePlus 8 weeks ahead of its actual announcement, but it’s two fewer potential surprises for the keynote event.
Can’t we just go into a reveal without knowing anything for a change?