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Slack Battle: Ought to we pay for Android Premium?


The NextPit ring was getting a bit of dusty, because it has been some time since we have had a duel right here. However now, it’s that point once more: I formally problem Antoine to a different spherical of our NextPit slack battle! As all the time, it issues a tech matter the place we have now utterly opposing opinions. Now, earlier than I squeeze into my superhero gear to move into battle towards Antoine, let me offer you a fast overview of what it’s all about.

A paid model of Android: The answer to all our Android issues?

Think about choosing up your bloatware-clogged and ad-infested mid-range smartphone the place you pay a month-to-month subscription payment and voila! The smartphone not presents advertisements and different undesirable bloatware, whereas sporting new options and common software program updates! These updates are additionally accessible for not simply two, however all the way in which to 5 years!

Would that be a mannequin value striving for or is it merely a pipe dream? Antoine and I’ve very completely different views on this, so let’s get this battle into the ring and clear the stage for spherical 1!

Spherical 1: Costly smartphones have their worth, low-cost ones too

Casi: Hey Antoine, I lately learn a textual content someplace about some form of “Premium Android”, i.e. an Android model that it’s important to pay for which additionally removes all bloatware and promoting on price range smartphones. Would not one thing like that be completely superior?

Antoine: Yeah, yeah, I believe I learn the identical article as properly. It is an attention-grabbing angle, however presenting this potential actuality with none crucial thought or cynical view is a very harmful factor, IMHO.

As you’ll have guessed, I’m largely, not 100%, however largely towards this concept of a premium subscription for Android. I don’t suppose that software program updates and options needs to be introduced as DLC. On the very least, not hidden behind a paywall for chosen customers. A smartphone is a product, not a service. A subscription-based software program improve would solely deliver short-term advantages by way of pricing, however could be detrimental in the long term, particularly in terms of the UX (consumer interface) and customer support.

Casi: Haha, I virtually anticipated that concept to not obtain any traction from you. You have already talked about a ton of factors, so I am going to check out them so as. Let’s first speak in regards to the pricing problem that you simply introduced up: Such pricing is commonly related to firms like Xiaomi the place they provide actually good high quality {hardware} at surprisingly low costs.


Take a look at our article about the very best Xiaomi fashions of the yr and take a look on the costs of present Xiaomi smartphones:

The best Xiaomi smartphones recommended by NextPit in 2021


These low or extremely inexpensive costs are made doable provided that the producer sponsored it in a technique or one other. That is why they prefer to fill our smartphones with bloatware that nobody wants, however it’s essential for Xiaomi (and its cohort) to take care of inexpensive pricing. I perceive that they’ve to show a revenue, however that is the place a subscription mannequin for a premium model of Android turns into a chance: We pay a small quantity every month and in return, we obtain a pleasant, clear machine that’s free from bloatware and annoying advertisements. Let’s not overlook that bloatware can be accompanied by its justifiable share of promoting. Generally, you may have them on the lockscreen itself, within the apps, and even within the notification bar or within the settings. Would not or not it’s a good deal to do away with all that for only a small month-to-month payment?

Antoine: I perceive that time. I perceive the will to pay for comfort. However that is precisely the form of lure that producers exploit, which is why I hate this whole marketing strategy within the first place.

I imply, what’s the principle argument right here? “Individuals need cheaper smartphones with higher specs”. So OEMs needed to reduce prices on software program prior to now, proper? That is why mid-range smartphones do not get up to date so long as flagship fashions and in addition lack the particular options present in flagships, or they embrace bloatware and/or advertisements, such as you talked about.

But when low-cost {hardware} has to make sacrifices within the type of much less polished software program, why ought to I pay extra simply to take pleasure in a barely respectable consumer expertise, huh? Why not simply pay only a few extra {dollars} proper from the very starting to acquire a superior handset in all facets and a clear, ad- and bloatware-free smartphone ? Huh? TELL ME, CASI!!!!!.

one4
Samsung’s One UI is likely one of the hottest interfaces constructed on prime of Android / © Samsung

What bothers me about this idea of premium Android is that you simply’re principally paying for the producer to take away software program restrictions that they’ve determined to incorporate within the first place. I do not thoughts paying extra for extra, however I am not going to pay to get the identical factor that I ought to have obtained after I bought the product within the first place.

If Xiaomi or Samsung needed so as to add options to the UI of their smartphones simply to compensate for the “alleged” lack of income from promoting me a less expensive smartphone, then I do not need their foolish cheaper smartphone. I’d gladly spend extra to personal a tool that does not pressure me to take care of all this crap. The client should not be punished with crappy software program within the first place as a result of they do not need to fork out $1,000 or extra on a smartphone!

Casi: Okay, I can really perceive that whenever you ask why producers do not cost an affordable worth for respectable merchandise within the first place. However you possibly can’t put the genie again within the bottle. Within the meantime, we count on to buy a smartphone for $300 or $400, with which you’ll snap respectable footage, play some video games right here and there and, in fact, surf the Web and be on social media always. If a producer have been to abruptly cost a Benjamin extra with out something noticeably completely different other than the shortage of bloatware and promoting, individuals would merely transfer on. They’d proceed to choose up a smartphone from one other producer that also expenses a less expensive worth.

Have you ever EVER seen individuals say issues like, “This was beforehand free and abruptly it prices a lot extra? That appears like an excellent thought!”??? Nobody ever says something like that!

As for the extra options that producers are together with in their UIs, I am ambivalent about this matter. On the one hand, there’s a number of stuff that we do not want, however there are additionally helpful options that can later make their manner into the Android platform regularly. Samsung, Xiaomi, and others are those that drive the event right here. As for the choice whether or not I just like the interface or not, I’m the one who will find yourself making the choice earlier than choosing it up within the query of a premium Android model. My level is, we will decide whether or not we need to stay with promoting on the smartphone or not. Take Amazon’s instance: A Kindle comes with promoting, and the identical machine is obtainable for $20 extra with none promoting. Seems like an affordable idea, does not it?

Antoine: Your instance has its weaknesses at some factors. If Xiaomi abruptly decides to lift the value of its mid-range smartphones as a result of they do not include advertisements and bloatware, that may clearly be a foul transfer for them. It is because one other Chinese language OEM could be ready to exchange them virtually instantly.

The one factor that you simply didn’t appear to take into accounts is, most producers depend on their mid-range catalog. It is not simply out of generosity that Samsung determined to replace the Galaxy A52 for 4 years, which is on par with its flagships. It is because Samsung is aware of that it sells extra models of the Galaxy A52 than it does of, say, the Galaxy S21.

So that you’re complicated this positive stability of energy. Producers do not promote inexpensive smartphones to do favors for his or her clients. Producers NEED inexpensive smartphones as a result of 99 % of their clients will not pay greater than $300 for a smartphone.

So it is not the buyer’s duty to assist the producer make a revenue as a result of they’re dropping cash in order that we will have inexpensive smartphones.

It is the producers’ duty to make it possible for inexpensive gadgets stay enticing, not simply by {hardware}, but in addition by software program, as a result of in any other case individuals would not purchase their different choices.

Charging me further to compensate for limitations imposed by the design of my machine strikes me as extraordinarily misleading habits. They’re monetizing the answer to an issue that they themselves have created merely for financial causes.

Spherical 2: We’d like quick, common, and lengthy updates

Casi: Okay, let’s speak about software program then. Since you’re proper: In any case, it is not simply in regards to the advertisements or any pre-installed bloatware. I simply think about the perfect of Android, the place premium Android will assure safety and software program updates.

  • Not having to attend for half a yr or extra for a brand new model of Android to reach on my smartphone!
  • Month-to-month safety updates as an alternative of as soon as simply each three or six months!
  • 5 years of assured software program assist as an alternative of discovering after two years that you’ve got a completely purposeful smartphone however the software program is outdated!

I’d pay a month-to-month subscription for such a service, the place the smartphone producer makes use of the subscription to fund the crew behind these safety and software program updates. It appears like an affordable enterprise mannequin to me!

You may say, “Properly, why not allow them to embrace higher software program within the first place?”, however that is not the way it works. Improvement is progressing at neck-breaking speeds and we will do issues with our smartphones right now that we could not simply three or 4 years in the past. So when you had paid $100 extra again then, they nonetheless would not have been in a position to implement the brand new options which might be accessible right now.


Just lately, we requested you in a survey about Android updates:

Poll analysis: Yes, you’re into updates!


Antoine: I can think about paying for brand spanking new Android variations. I imply, do you pay for brand spanking new variations of Home windows or macOS? Do not get me incorrect, I do not WANT this sort of system in any respect. But when it means receiving updates for the subsequent 5 to six years with none additional delays, why not?

However why? Why, Casi? As an instance I pay $300 for a smartphone. I’ve 2 main Android variations and three years of quarterly safety patches “without spending a dime”. How would you place a price on 3 extra years of software program assist? How a lot does it actually price? What number of subscriptions would a producer must fund the manpower and R&D over all these extra years?

Even when the subscription prices solely $10 month-to-month, that is $120 yearly. In case you have been to pay for a further three years, that is $360, on prime of the $300 that you simply initially shelled out for the smartphone.

So once more, sorry to be the annoying boomer who retains repeating himself, however WHY NOT PAY MORE?

Do you actually suppose the low preliminary entry worth of a smartphone and splitting the assist prices by way of a subscription system makes the general possession price extra acceptable than when you have been to pay all the pieces upfront?

Casi: Happily we do not have to work out the pricing mannequin, my pricey Antoine. The producers themselves ought to sit down and take into consideration what sort of worth construction works. Check out what our smartphones are able to and you may see that there are very sensible individuals with a number of concepts.

They need to get a bit of inventive and give you new options for his or her premium clients along with a pricing mannequin. Many customers are already overwhelmed with their smartphone features. So why not provide a extra rudimentary model of Android for the common consumer and a feature-laden one for paying clients?

In any case, we stay with a free model of Spotify in trade for advertisements and fewer options. Then for Spotify premium, there’s a complete cornucopia of options. Why should not that mannequin work for Android as properly? It’d even have the aspect impact of constructing the “primary Android” quicker to replace sooner or later as a result of it is not so stuffed with options.

I do know you are going to inform me that they need to cost extra money proper from the get-go as an alternative of counting on a subscription mannequin.

However let’s not overlook that mid-range smartphones are additionally promoting so properly as a result of merely individuals both cannot afford or don’t need dearer smartphones. If individuals needed to purchase one thing dearer, it is typically beneath the guise of a sponsored contract. I pay $20 extra on prime of my common telephone invoice and get a pleasant, premium smartphone of which I could not afford if I needed to pay the total worth proper now.

Asking this query to the person on the road whether or not individuals could be keen to pay a fiver every month for a premium subscription or if they might relatively pay $180 extra on the time of buy, and I am very certain that lots of people would select to separate the fee.

Antoine: Happily? So that you’re defending an thought/idea for a subscription with out even imagining what it could price you? That does not make any sense. That is such as you saying a smartphone has the very best worth/high quality ratio with out figuring out the value.

“Why not provide a extra primary model of Android for the common consumer and a extra feature-rich one for paying clients?”

Wait a minute. First, you talked about {that a} subscription mannequin would imply paying extra to get extra, however now you are speaking about taking one thing away from common customers? That is really precisely what I am afraid of with such a system.

Take DLCs in video games, for instance. It started with add-ons, extras, and utterly non-obligatory content material that you simply needed to pay further for, however would not take something away from the principle sport when you did not. If we have a look at the state of the DLC economic system and in-game purchases right now, it is a whole mess. From extra and non-obligatory bonus content material, we now have virtually obligatory premium purchases that it’s important to make simply to take pleasure in a good base expertise.

I discover it attention-grabbing that you simply see good software program assist and a feature-rich UI as a bonus as an alternative of a primary proper for shoppers. Should not or not it’s one thing that we, the shoppers, deserve instantly once we pay for a accomplished product?

That is actually worrying, Casi, actually, actually, actually worrying. Are you feeling all proper? How a lot is China paying you?

Casi: Nah, I suppose we misunderstood one another there (otherwise you’re doing it on objective to make me look dangerous right here). I do not need to take something away from “regular” Android customers, I simply suppose that many shoppers aren’t even ready for a slew of latest options after they buy a smartphone. They’re proud of what they’ve as a result of they will snap photographs at events, ship out Instagram tales and WhatsApp messages, and be reachable by their smartphone.

We are able to speak in regards to the pay fashions in mobile games individually someday. I am certain we’ll largely agree on the matter. However sorry, the comparability with a completely purposeful Android and a premium variant is lame!

Antoine: My dangerous, I misunderstood you then. Nonetheless, I believe you are incorrect. In case you may quantify the state of affairs (of which you’ll’t), however when you may, then the huge consumer base would have seen the next adoption charge of low-cost smartphones in contrast amongst these of pricey fashions, so the declare that these individuals could be proud of fewer options or a extra primary model of Android is FALSE.

Spherical 3: Premium Android or not? Everybody ought to have a selection!

Antoine: I agree with you that individuals ought to have a selection. The one downside with that’s the smartphone business depends on the mass-production mannequin. It is probably not that versatile, because the semiconductor scarcity disaster confirmed us. So I doubt that producers will be capable of predict and match the orders of primary customers and premium customers. I significantly can not think about any of them bothering with that.

And I actually do not know in the event that they’d make any extra money doing so in comparison with promoting a brand new smartphone mannequin each month that individuals maintain for 2 years earlier than the darkish cloud of programmed obsolescence covers them.

If we have been dwelling in a science-fiction dystopia, you would be a type of wealthy, evil CEOs dwelling of their micro-city within the sky whereas the poor individuals stay in basements on the bottom with no entry to scrub air or water, and so on… “Simply pay the premium package deal for humanity.”

Casi: Oh come on, Antoine – do you really need me to deliver examples of workplace suites, picture editors, or thousands and thousands of Android apps that are available free and premium variants? It is a completely completely different case of whether or not I’ve to supply a smartphone in numerous variations, or whether or not I put completely different software program on it.

However at the least we agree that individuals ought to have a selection. So give me my premium Android, dammit! I would like it right now!!! I need to be higher than these common Android customers!

…And me as an evil wealthy CEO wanting down on individuals with no entry to scrub water or air? That is not a dystopia, that is a utopia! HAHA!!!

Antoine: Apart from the truth that you do not have to pay for a free app regardless of having already paid for a smartphone, premium or in any other case.

Casi: That is true, Antoine. However then once more, the consumer does not pay something for Android – it is already there whenever you purchase a smartphone. However let’s verify with our readers to see what they suppose.

And now, as soon as once more the query is explicitly addressed to you: Are you able to think about paying an inexpensive quantity for a premium model of Android if you’ll be able to obtain longer assured assist, extra options, and freedom from advertisements in return?

So, after this disagreement, I am going to mud off the sector sand from my garments and wait to see the way you, our pricey readers, consider the matter. In any case, it was an honor as soon as once more to go up towards Antoine and I hope there can be one other Slack Battle quickly!

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