Does the color of a smartphone really matter?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: May 18, 2013

If you’ve been keeping up with the news around these parts, you’ve probably seen that there has been a significant amount of coverage aimed at the Nexus 4 and how we will most likely be seeing a white variant released sometime in the near future. Since we didn’t get our updated Nexus 4 fix from Google I/O, we have instead been getting our Nexus 4 fix by honing in on the fact that, oh my goodness, it’s coming out in a new color.

Now, I do think that having different color options is a great thing to have in a smartphone line – but don’t wait months to issue a white version, or a purple version, or a blue version, when you should just release them all at the same time so people have choices. I mean, is this really the only way we can keep the device relevant when it comes to sales?

You know the Nexus 4. You’ve been waiting for it since last year. You’ve asked for it, and it’s about time we deliver. So without further ado, we present to you – the exact same device, but in white.” (Not an actual quote, but it looked better in quotations.)

Wow, super exciting. I can’t wait to get my hands on that baby now that’s sporting an all new color and all. It’s way different now.

Having different color options on a smartphone used to be a big deal to me – like, maybe when I was 16 and having a different color phone was the only feature that made your phone cool. I mean, it was practically a feature in itself, back when the list of features stopped somewhere between Bluetooth compatible and WiFi enabled. Nobody mentioned processing power or internal memory or any of that mumbo jumbo. But now that we have more important things to focus on, we still manage to make the color of the device a big deal.

In some cases, it is a big deal. I gave the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 two big thumbs up for including multiple bright, eye-catching colors in their lineup; but the thing about that was that the colors were all part of the original lineup, not re-released as some sort of status refresher a few months later.

And maybe I’m just feeling especially finicky about the Nexus 4 because, as I see it, it was primarily released as a developer’s tool. Not to say that developers don’t care about how suave their device looks, but I don’t think that anybody who hasn’t already purchased a Nexus 4 is going to run out and buy one just because it comes in white now.

Do colors really mean that much in a device anymore? Maybe this is just my thought process, but even when I get a colored device I always end up putting a case on it anyway so that I don’t see actually see the color of the device. Sometimes the color even clashes with the case I want on my phone. Regardless, although I used to spend a lot of time choosing what color I wanted my device to be, I tend to always roll with black as it seems to match just about any case that I could ever want – as a case hoarder, this is important to me. But maybe the original color of device is more important that I think it is.

I think if Google wanted to make more money off of the Nexus 4, they should have released a more expensive version for the general consumer. A Nexus 4 that features LTE and more memory space might allure more customers to want to purchase the device. But, you know, I guess a device with a different color might also do this too. I’m no marketing major, but I do know that I have no desire to purchase a Nexus 4 just because it comes in a flashy new color.

Readers, what are your thoughts on releasing devices with new colors? LG and Google are certainly not the first companies to do this as Samsung, HTC, BlackBerry, and pretty much every other manufacturer are guilty of doing so too. Does it entice you go out and purchase the device once the color you want is released, or would you rather see the company provide more updates to the phone itself instead of focusing on producing more colors? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Images via SlashGear, Engadget

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