Launch the premium version first

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: June 11, 2014

Manufacturers have always known that the easiest way to make as many people happy, at least in the mobile market, is to release as many different devices as possible, usually within a short amount of time. I know, that sounds crazy, but it really is the truth. Flooding the market used to be the standard go-to methodology for most of the companies out there, and while it's been toned down a considerable amount over the last few years, we can still see companies release plenty of new products into the market to a wide range of success (or not).

The unfortunate reality is that not everyone is looking for the same thing when it comes to getting a new device. Some people want a big display, and some people want a bigger display than that. Some folks want a ridiculously good camera, while other people just want to make sure that the display they're looking at is the best one on the market. Some folks want a metal phone, some want plastic... You get the idea. We've all grown accustomed to our smartphone manufacturers building devices that cover a wide range of needs, and that's not going to stop anytime soon.

Because it's what works.

Recently, though, there's been a lot of noise made about high-end flagship devices being replaced with "premium" handsets almost immediately after the original device has been announced. Or, in some cases, just a different version of a handset that may actually be a little bit more worthwhile to some customers after they bought the original device. We can see this mostly in "mini" devices, and sometimes in the bigger "max" or "ultra" or whatever else variants. These variants exist because manufacturers are trying to keep these devices inside a single brand name "One", "Galaxy S" and so on. They aren't just flooding the market with a ridiculous number of devices anymore. They're keeping it cool and using measured amounts, while keeping it all in the family.

That whole "premium" situation hasn't really popped up yet. It keeps getting rumored and teased and suggested, sure, but it has yet to actually happen. We don't have a premium Galaxy S 4, and we still don't have a premium Galaxy S5 (though, it's supposedly still coming!). There's even a premium HTC One M8 rumored to be making an appearance here soon, but again, that's missing right now, too. The "fear" that these devices exist and will launch soon after their original counterpart, therefore making them obsolete, is still very real. For good reason, of course. A lot of people would see the premium version of any device a *replacement* of that first handset, and therefore their purchase would have been made in vein because most people would probably want that "better" device, right?

Manufacturers would tell you that they're filling out the family line. You get a small (mini) device, a medium (original) device, a better-spec'd (premium) device, and maybe even a big (max/ultra) device for good measure. It's all about the tiers. They can price these handsets at varying levels, and then the premium Galaxy S5 is no longer a replacement for the original Galaxy S5. It's an entirely different device!

There could be an easy fix to this, though. Just switch up the launches. That's right, just switch it up. Instead of starting with the "base" model, and then launching the premium handset some length of time later, start with the premium handset. And don't make it a secret, either. While the company is on that stage showing off their new flagship handset, they should be quick and repetitive in pointing out that the device is their premium, truly flagship device. And then any device you launch after that? Well, fill in the blanks: small, standard and large.

At least you know that you've already got your flagship, high-end model covered. (And Samsung could just lauch a new Galaxy series and call it good, no longer having to worry about "But it's a Galaxy S!".)

It's just a thought. Obviously, there'd still be upset people out there no matter how any company chose to launch devices throughout the year, so maybe this is just the way it's going to be because why not. Still, I'd prefer to see the premium device launch first, and then work around that to fill in the blanks. This seems like the best plan, until companies get around to announcing all of their devices at the same time.

Products mentioned