Have Infinix and other Chinese brands hit the innovation wall?

A few days ago, images and specs of the upcoming Infinix Hot Note 2 leaked. Amidst all the glee, something struck me – a thought I’ve been harbouring for months now. You see, there’s a problem Chinese Android phone manufacturers are currently facing. We all know they mostly offer cheap (or rather, value for money) smartphones. A closer look will tell you that many of these phones no longer come as cheap as buyers would like.

Infinix Zero 2 and Hot 2

With every new iteration, there’s a subsequent bump in specs, which leads to a commensurate bump in price. Hence, striking a balance gets more difficult. The questions for concern are these:

How far can cheap phones get? For how long will cheap phones remain cheap?

I’m beginning to feel we’ve gotten to a kind of peak – an extreme in limit to which specs can be stretched with prices remaining cheap or affordable. Balancing specs with price is becoming a more and more arduous task. One cannot help but wonder, “What next will these guys come up with?”. This may all sound like jargon, so I’ll explain, using Infinix as a case study:

How it all started.
All these began with the launch of the Infinix Hot. It was initially released at the price of N12,900. Shockingly cheap, especially compared to the specs the phone had at the time. 16 GB of internal memory with 1 GB of RAM, 5 MP/2 MP camera and more, all for that insanely cheap price. It sold in droves. It is probably their best selling phone till date.

After that, we got the Infinix Hot Note. Then all other variants of Hot Note Pro that came afterwards. That was also a runaway success, as it matched great specs with affordable price. The phone is virtually in every hand out there.

Next in line was the Infinix Hot 2. If you check our comparison with it’s predecessor, there’s only a marginal increase in specs and complimentary increase in price. But then, the phone is also selling in droves, but this is where the problem starts.

Now the problem.
Following all the successes of the Hot Note/Pro series, I felt Infinix has gotten to a climax. How much higher can they go while still keeping prices low?

You see the dilemma. They can’t just add a new feature that doesn’t currently exist. It’s not like they have the finances to foster new technology, or come up with an entirely new feature we’ve never seen before. That would even fire up the price. See what happened to the price of the Infinix Zero 2.

To make matters worse, they can’t start diluting specs now. Not after spoiling us with all the great features. So a regression in specs would spell bad market for them. Conversely, if they decide to add any new feature such as better display, finger print scanner, or even 3 GB RAM, prices would spike. Who would then buy? This defeats the USP of Infinix – offering value for money.

The leak of the Infinix Hot Note 2 goes further to even buttress this dicey situation. From the leaked specs we’ve seen so far, how much do you think it would cost? I highly doubt the price would remain same with it’s predecessor i.e. the Hot Note series.

The Infinix Hot was the cheapest phone money could buy, and was priced at N16,500. The next best cheapest phone is currently the Infinix Hot 2 which is priced at N20,500. Now unless there will be lots of trade-offs, I doubt the next phone in this series will be any cheaper. The trend means that the prices of newer releases will go higher. What then becomes of those still in need of that “affordable” value for money phones?

Will Infinix spin off another set of phones to cater for them? Or should they just go out there and buy another brand?

Unless Infinix’s engineers have something up their sleeves, I don’t see a way out of this dilemma. We shall find out during the launch of the Hot Note 2. November 27th isn’t so far away any more. Do you think I’m taking this too far? Your thoughts.

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13 comments

  1. Do you think I’m taking this too far?

    Yes, I do.

    Value for money does not necessarily imply low price. VFM is a ratio. A comparison of value (specs) with the price similar to which it it is offered.

    No, I don’t see any dilemma.

    Besides, there is something called economies of scale. Now that Infix has ingratiated itself into our psyche, they can afford to do some yanga. If the next phone is pricier than your budget, they have enough spread.. go for the cheap alternative in their stable. Finish

  2. I think Infinix has gained some kind of popularity especially online. They can’t just be jerking up specs at every release with higher prices. If they follow this trend, they are definitely heading for the brick wall. Low specs phones should also be released to cater for those that can’t afford the mid-range ones. They should ask how Tecno mobile has been doing it

  3. There’s a way around this – lower the price of the earlier model, make the newest one slightly more expensive so that when you go shopping your option are the previous model a few months old at x price, or the newest model for about a few Naira more.

    The best strategies usually have the old and new models straddling the previous price of the old model.

  4. I think price will necessary hike except if buyers are ready to make do with inferior specs. Another way is to trade-off old phones for new. They should really consider that

  5. This competition would have pulled massive crowd Mr Mo, if it had been that Camon C8 phone ooooo

    MY friend uses it and I swear, I envy HIM!!!!

    1. The line of innovation these brands are towing is quite impressive, I hope to own the Camon C8 someday though…

  6. I think Tecno has gained some kind of popularity especially online with their own specs though I know they are responsible for these Infinix devices too

    1. They are actually different line of business. Merging the two together (tecno and Infinix) would save them less stress and help boost their market credential.
      This two brand name is only causing unnecessary competition

    2. brand competition is a good thing. Nigerian Breweries owns Star and Gulder, you won’t see them resting either brand or merging them anytime soon

  7. Specs will always determine the Price of a device, nobody would have a problem buying a great phone with amazing specs from Infinix even if price goes up. Is really nothing to worry about.
    And back to what you said about Infinix reaching climax, i think they are trying to be more Organised at releasing phones and flagships, they don’t wanna take a big leap like Tecno did with Phantom 5 not long after Camon C5 was released (Tecno is over-releasing phones), you’ll never know what next with Infinix after all the HOT AND HOT NOTE SERIES, probably till next year. All these are I.M.O

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