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This year should have been huge for phones. Now Samsung, Apple face a crossroads

The spread of coronavirus around the globe has brought the mobile industry sputtering to a near halt, just as it began revving up for a potentially blockbuster season. From my stance as a CNET phone reviewer, the need to scale back is crushing but necessary given COVID-19’s serious nature and the staggering toll coronavirus has already taken on lives. But while the industry scrambles to plan its next steps, there’s one thing brands can do: Grasp at the opportunity to refocus their portfolios, designs and campaigns on features that matter.


This was the year 5G-ready devices were meant to go mainstream and foldable phoneswere going to prove their right to exist. 2020 would belong to top-tier handsets adopting groundbreaking features for photography and 8K video recording, we thought. But then COVID-19 hit and the dominoes toppled, taking out enormous events like Mobile World Congress and Google I/O along the way. Others, like Apple’s WWDC, are moving online.

Phone releases haven’t entirely flatlined. Some brands continue to dribble out announcements and review units. Oppo and Huawei, for example, turned to online press conferences to launch the new Find 2X and P40 Pro flagship phone, respectively.

Savvy brands will continue to sell what they can in less affected countries, and to homebound buyers seeking the sweet embrace of retail therapy.

But, during the downtime, phone brands have a chance to clear out the bloatware and rethink the old ways of doing things, the constant need to push out X products Y times per year. continue from —


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