The traditional smartphone release cycle for new models is yearly. When a smartphone model is launched in one year, you had to wait till the following year for the release of its successor or upgrade model. That is why Apple iPhone models are released yearly. It is the same reason that Google Pixel smartphones are released annually. Same goes for Samsung smartphone models.
That was the way everyone did it for decades – Nokia, Motorola, Palm, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc. The Galaxy S9 is released one year, the Galaxy S10 follows the next year, and Galaxy S20 the year after. But since last year, 2019, Transsion’s brands, TECNO and Infinix, have bucked the trend when they began to release smartphone successors within a space of months.
So, we began to see multiple TECNO Camon models released each year. Multiple TECNO Spark model launches are now spaced months apart within the same year. For example, TECNO Spark 5 was launched in May 2020, and Spark 6 models are already hitting the markets in July. We have seen the same pattern with Infinix smartphones too. Infinix Hot 7 and Hot 8 were released in 2019. Hot 9 followed in March 2020 and if the pattern continues, we shall definitely see a Hot 10 (or whatever they name the successor) before 2020 is over.
And now, we see OPPO borrowing from that new playbook and doing the same thing. OPPO Reno2 was released in 2019, and was followed with OPPO Reno3 and Reno3 Pro in March 2020, and while we are yet to recover from that, OPPO Reno4 and Reno4 Pro have been released in July of the same year. And if the information coming my way is anything to go by, we can expect to see OPPO Reno5 before 2020 runs out.
That will make it three (3) models following one another within the same year. Sounds like an overkill. Perhaps OPPO has decided that if they are going to go the same route, they had better beat the originators at it.
Is this new smartphone release cycle a good thing or a bad thing? I do not know. I doubt that is the way to look at it. It can be quite confusing, considering that our minds are used to annual phone releases. This new flurry of launches certianly throws everyone off. We are used to annual cycles that it takes some getting used to. I don’t fancy it, but I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing.
But the question is, Who made the rules in the first place, and who says that smartphone successor releases must be annual? TECNO and Infinix are clearly trying to sell more smartphones, and perhaps it is working. And if that is the case, OPPO is going to be reaping the fruits of that move as well. And we can expect other manufacturers to follow suit.
That is the way the business world works: one play hacks a new winning formula, and everyone else latches on to it. Expect a flurry of multiple smartphone releases from other manufacturers as well. And again, as with the COVID-19 Coronavirus, the change started in 2019 but is going mainstream in 2020. 2019 sure is smart: it makes 2020 takes the fall for everything it started.
The good thing is that, so far, we haven’t seen this done with flagship models. At least, I haven’t. The new smartphone release cycle by TECNO, Infinix, and OPPO has happened only with budget and mid-range smartphone models. Can we keep it that way, please?
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.