Smartphones and Phone-y Pricing

It’s that time of year.  All of the major players in the cellular and smartphone market are “leaking”, announcing, and releasing new phones, just in time for the holidays.

Motorola just officially announced the Droid Turbo 2 and Maxx 2, which are practically copies of each other, save for a couple physical features, and storage on shipment (the Turbo 2 coming in 32gb and 64gb options, and the Maxx 2 coming with 16gb).  Both are priced to what the market will bare, $624.00 (Turbo 2 32gb, no frills), $720.00 (Turbo 2 64gb, no frills), and $384.00 (Maxx 2).  Only the Turbo 2 is enabled in the Moto Maker web app, where frills are abundant, but the only extra cost is the “pebbled leather” option (at $24.00).

Phone Storage Cost
DROID Maxx 2 16gb $384.00
DROID Turbo 2 32gb $624.00-$648.00
DROID Turbo 2 64gb $720.00-$744.00

Google also announced two phones in September, and is shipping one of them now.  The Nexus 6P and 5X (the one that’s shipping now), and like Motorola, they have some options in storage, but not as many frills (only three case color options per device, not nearly as granular as the Motorola offerings).

Phone Storage Cost
Nexus 5X 16gb $379.00
Nexus 5X 32gb $429.00
Nexus 6P 32gb $499.00
Nexus 6P 64gb $549.00
Nexus 6P 128gb $649.00

Hardware comparison wise, the offerings from Motorola win in the camera field in just pure pixel capture.  The Turbo 2 and Maxx 2 come with a 21 megapixel camera built in, as did the Turbo and the international version, the Moto Maxx (not to be confused with the Droid Maxx, which is Verizon only), and the Nexus 5X and 6P come with 12 megapixel cameras.  Reviews from around the Internet say that the 6P is the superior camera in all lighting conditions, but they’re only comparing the 5X and 6P, not against the Turbo lineup.

Let’s focus on just the two bigger phones for the moment, the 6P and Turbo 2.  In terms of hardware, they are equal contenders, but here’s the differences between the two:

Nexus 6P Turbo 2
Networks All of them Verizon
Screen Size 5.7″ (~518ppd) 5.4″ (~544ppd)
Protection Gorilla Glass 4 Shatterproof*
microSD No Yes
Back Camera 12mp 21mp*
Front Camera 8mp 5mp
Qi Charging No Yes
Battery 3450 mAh 3760 mAh
Price (64gb Model) $549.00 $720.00

* We don’t know what Shatterproof means, and I haven’t seen any tests.  How much damage can it take?  Who knows?

** With the DROID Turbo (1), we have a 21mp camera too, but in order to use that, it forces the camera to a 4:3 resolution.  Don’t know if that’s still the case with the Turbo 2.

In that comparison, almost apples to apples, the price difference is $171.00.  The one with the bigger screen, the same chipsets and memory, and minor differences to features, is cheaper.

To the smartphone industry, I ask the question: Wat?

Why the obvious price gap?  Huawei produces the Google Nexus 6P, and is a newcomer to the market, when compared to Motorola, who created the first and most popular cellphone of all time, the StarTAC!  Shouldn’t Motorola have the resources and the contacts to make their phones cheaper?  Or way better than any of the competition?

And why does the price jump by $100 for the Turbo 2 32gb model to the 64gb model, when the Nexus 6P jumps only $50?  While I know phone storage is slightly different, a 32gb flash based storage drive is $20 for the cheap stuff, and a 64gb drive is $30 from Monster.  MONSTER.  The company that seems to enjoy ripping off customers!

So, dear Motorola, I will not be upgrading my phone to the Turbo 2 this year.  Your features are neat, but your price point doesn’t make sense.  Maybe next year.

Posted in Opinions, Rantings.