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The paradox of the smartphone box in 2021: the racane high-end, the low-end gives it its all

The original iPhone box, from 2007, included the device itself, charging cable and adapter, headphones and even a charging base to keep the phone upright. The box of the iPhone 12, year 2020, includes the terminal and a Lightning cable, full stop. The headphones and the charging adapter were discontinued for environmental reasons.

The gift charging base today sounds like a funny utopia. Apple sells it separately for 55 euros. The charger, at 25; and 19 headphones, to which we must add 10 for the Lightning adapter for any iPhone released since 2016. It’s the market, my friend.

Iphone Box

It was Apple, precisely the company that achieves the most profits from the sale of telephones, by far, that crossed the Rubicon with the decision to scavenge the contents of the boxes. It cost him the joke of several competitors, such as Samsung, which promoted on social networks something so trivial until then as that its terminals included the charger in the box.

A few months later they had to delete those contents, when Samsung announced that it would also stop delivering a charger and headphones along with its phones, as well as microSD cards.

Something symptomatic in a manufacturer that was always especially splendid with the contents of the boxes. Three years earlier, a brand-new Galaxy S8 was sold along with the USB cable, microUSB and USB-C adapters, AKG headphones (no generic ones), several ear pads for those headphones, the SIM extractor and a fast charger. In 2021, the Galaxy S21 are sold together with the data cable and the SIM puller.

Samsung boxes
Samsung boxes

Most manufacturers followed similar paths. Even Xiaomi, one of those brands that has always maintained an extremely accommodating profile for its users, announced that it would stop offering the charger in the box of its flagship, the Mi 11. Then it backed down: all for the My Fans.

Almost a year after Apple’s decision that shook the industry, we are left a curious paradox: the high-end terminals have lost the charger from their box, but the low-end keeps them to a large degree.

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And that is in the low range where the margins are the smallest, although the volume is higher. Four dollars of savings per phone sold can be a lot for someone who sells cheap devices, but it can also be a sentence if buyers detect this lack and end up choosing another model that does include it.

The low end of telephony, with honorable exceptions, is populated by devices of identical design, specifications and prices. It costs a lot to stand out in the positive, and very little to stand out in the negative: just something like not offering what the next phone does. Goodbye sale.

An example of someone fighting this battle is Motorola. A few days ago he presented the Moto G60s, a terminal of 249 euros with commendable specifications and a box much more complete than that of the iPhone or Samsung with four figures: headphones, USB-C cable, fast charger and even a case. Incentives to scratch sales.

In the high-end, the incentives are others that have more to do with the exclusiveness, even if it is at the cost of pointing the user the way to go through the checkout. Samsung has bet so hard on its exclusive folding that it has killed the Note range along the way.

And so we come to 2021. With cheap phones that bring everything and expensive phones that do not even bring the essentials, since they assume that we have a charger at home. The upside down life.