Smartphones
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When’s the last time you bought a phone? What was the reason behind your purchase? Was it to replace your lost phone? Or your previous phone had gotten too old? Or did a new phone just come out and you couldn’t help yourself but lust after it?

Regardless of your answer, there are certain factors that you consider before deciding which phone to buy. The common ones are camera, battery life, brand, design, budget, yada, yada, yada. But what if I told you that you probably settled on the phone you have due to hype?

No? Or you don’t know what I mean by hype? Ok, here’s a quick explanation; Hype is when a product manufacturer advertises their product intensively while exaggerating its importance or benefit. Are we on the same page now? Hope so.

Smartphone manufacturers have slowly mastered the art of hyping their devices and ensuring that customers will buy them, not because they need them but because they simply like the idea of having them.

The Leaks

Smartphone leaks. The epitome of hype! Believe it or not, these leaks come from the manufacturers themselves. Leaks have now turned into a marketing strategy. Leaks generate hype. Hype gets you sales.

Look at what leaks did to the Galaxy S8 – over 5 million units sold within the first month. There were Galaxy S8 leaks all over, we literally knew everything good about that device way before it was announced, so much so, during the announcement, Samsung officials admitted that everything about the device had been leaked and practically gave a confirmation that the leaks were true.

Everyone was excited by the S8 before the launch, why? We knew what it was packing and we wanted it.

HTC U11. Another leaked device. The edge sense feature was leaked heavily, we even had promotional videos about it leak way before we knew which device would be launching with the feature. Just like Samsung, HTC also admitted that all the leaks about the U11 were true and did not spend that much time explaining the features during the launch.

Interestingly, HTC admitted that they decided to add the edge sense feature to the U11 after they saw that fans were getting excited by the leaks.

We have even seen smartphone brands that sell locally try to leverage leaks as a way to generate hype. Case in point, Infinix.

The Gimmicks

Smartphones have become boring, whether you agree or not, they are all slabs of glass or aluminum with displays, batteries and software.

Read More: Smartphones Are Getting Boring, So What’s Next?

So smartphone manufacturers have turned to gimmicks, “Infinity displays” – #hype, squeezable frames – #hype, curved displays – #hype and dual cameras – #hype, to set apart their slabs from the rest of the crowd.

These gimmicks are what generate the hype.

Manufacturers will make you believe that your flat display is dysfunctional and you need a curved one. They will make you believe that squeezing your phone is a thing and that shouting out commands to your phone is natural.

Smartphone ads will make you want a display that flows edge-to-edge, what they won’t tell you is how easily it breaks edge-to-edge as well.

They will make you believe that you can only be as beautiful as your selfie camera will let you be – show off your quality selfie?

The Sale

Why are we buying into the hype? Because we want to feel special. We want to have the latest and greatest. We want to have it all.

This is why Samsung will reuse the same camera optics from last year and barely talk about the phone’s camera so as not to draw this attention, screw up the fingerprint reader and make you believe that the iris scanner is better. Even small companies like Infinix and Tecno do something similar. Infinix have been using the same processor from 2015, Mediatek MT6753, on most of their devices and will avoid mentioning the processor in all their marketing content, it’s always been just “Octa-core”.

They focus on what will “generate hype”; a dual front facing selfie camera, a newer way to secure your device, a borrowed design, you get the point.

Most people cannot tell you exactly why they bought the phone they have and not an alternative one, even if they do, they will cite a gimmick (read hype) as the reason to choosing one over the other.

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