Did you see the big ad splashes in weekend newspapers advertising a slew of smartphones at attractive prices? If you haven’t guessed why -- as millions of Indians may not – the reason lies in New York.
Apple is expected to announce the next generation iPhone, as well as its rumoured wearable device iWatch on Tuesday. They are expected to be available for purchase a week or two later. The news is that there are specialist queue companies to whom would-be buyers pay hundreds or even a coulple of thousand dollars to reserve places in advance ahead of the store launch.
What brands such as Samsung, HTC and Google-owned Moto G were probably doing at the weekend was what they call ambush marketing. I could see significant value for money for Android phones.
Every Apple launch pushes the marketplace to a new frontier, and stocks of old phones head out of fashion. More important, the Californian leader has shed its famous inward looking behaviour and has started offering stripped down or cheaper versions of its flagship devices for non-US markets (read: Asia). This would mean Apple may offer older models at lower rates.
Rivals cannot possibly wait for that to happen. And, given that Android phones themselves have several brands competing (including homegrown Micromax, Karbonn et al that increasingly offer high-end models), it is natural for any brand not to miss an opportunity even as obsolescence bites the old stocks.
What this means for consumers is a great opportunity. If you are willing to shed that I-hold-the-latest-gizmo-in-my-hands obsession and the imagined or real social status that goes with it, buying a product that has just slipped into the second spot may be a great thing.