The most effective and worst smartphone branding partnerships

OnePlus 6 Marvel Avengers Limited Edition

It’s powerful to face out among the many best phones in at present’s aggressive smartphone market. In consequence, manufacturers each large and small often associate up with names from different industries to assist promote their newest smartphones whereas highlighting the partnering model.

Whether or not it’s for advertising and marketing functions or simply for enjoyable, particular version fashions are definitely nothing new to the smartphone business. Let’s check out among the finest and worst partnership concepts to have cropped up up to now few years.

The trendy digital camera partnerships

Producers seemingly can’t launch a high-end smartphone today with out partnering with a digital camera lens specialist. Leica and Zeiss brandings have popped up on numerous smartphones over the previous few years and Hasselblad just lately joined the get together with the OnePlus 9 series. As images is a massively vital think about shopper buying selections today, digital camera partnerships maybe do assist to promote smartphones, though business giants Apple and Samsung have, thus far, kept away from collaborating on this development.

See additionally: The best camera phones you can get

Simply how a lot distinction these partnerships really make stays hotly debated. Some branded smartphones have earned loads of plaudits however underwhelmed by way of gross sales, resembling Huawei’s Leica branded P40 and Mate 40 sequence (the US trade ban gained’t have helped) and Sony’s Zeiss branded Xperia 1 II. Though, within the case of the latter, it’s laborious to call a smartphone model that Zeiss hasn’t partnered with sooner or later. This positively diminishes the enchantment of any supposedly unique branding train.

Nokia 9 PureView Review

However these partnerships don’t at all times work out for one of the best. Nokia’s twin partnership with Zeiss and Mild produced the bizarre-looking Nokia 9 PureView (pictured above). Mild’s multi-sensor know-how was fairly experimental on the time and hasn’t been repeated since, which tells you every part it is advisable learn about how this cellphone turned out. Even leaning on the much-beloved PureView branding couldn’t persuade us that Nokia’s five-camera setup was price all of the hype.

Whereas some digital camera partnerships have labored out, they positively aren’t a assure of images high quality.

Supercar smartphones

Digicam manufacturers aren’t the one large names to be discovered within the partnership recreation. Apparently, smartphones and supercars are additionally a match made in heaven too.

Huawei’s Mate sequence has just a few entries daubed with Porsche branding and bodywork. The latest examples embody the Huawei Mate 40 RS in addition to its Watch GT 2. Likewise, OnePlus has suped up a few its flagships with the help of designers at McLaren. The latter partnership ended after the OnePlus 7T Professional version, so we in all probability gained’t see any extra OnePlus-McLaren smartphones sooner or later. Let’s not neglect the Oppo Find X Lamborghini Edition both.

In fact, premium manufacturers command premium costs and these telephones weren’t low cost. The OnePlus 7T Professional McLaren Version price £799 (~$1,121), a full £100 greater than the usual mannequin for a bit of greater than a paint job. Huawei’s Porsche branded fashions had been much more costly. The Porsche Design Mate 20 RS price €1,695 (~$2,048) in 2018, considerably greater than the Mate 20 Professional’s €1,050 (~$1,268) price ticket. Overpriced? Nearly definitely, though clearly these telephones had been aimed to show heads somewhat than promote in large numbers.

Luxurious purchases for the elite or pointless race to the underside of the branding bucket? I’ll depart it to you to determine on this one.

Trendy and fabulous

Cameras and vehicles are simply the most recent branding developments within the cellular enterprise. There’s at all times been an uneasy bridge between tech and trend — simply have a look at the very actual iPhone snobbery phenomenon. We’ve additionally seen trend manufacturers flirting with handset partnerships way back to the characteristic cellphone days. A lot of the outcomes have been fairly gaudy, verging on hideous.

A number of favourite classics of mine embody the Dolce & Gabbana Motorola Razr V3I with its £399 (~$560) gold paint job that didn’t even include any equipment, though it did have a particular D&G ring tone pre-installed. And who might neglect Vertu? The British model that was spun out of Nokia offered a small vary of $10,000+ smartphones with out-of-date {hardware} specs. Not surprisingly, this enterprise mannequin led to bankruptcy in just some brief years. However Vertu someway struggled on, fleecing prospects in China with its Aster P comeback mannequin that prices as much as 98,000 yuan (~$14,000).

At the moment’s high-end smartphones aren’t exempt from trend partnerships. You should purchase the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Thom Browne Version, full with signature stripes, for $2,480. That’s basically double the price of the usual Galaxy Z Flip. The Thom Browne Galaxy Fold 2 prices an excellent heftier $3,299, however as Samsung places it, “it’s not simply an ecosystem — it’s a way of life.” I suppose that’s true for the fortunate few who don’t want to fret about worth tags.

LG Prada KE850 Back With Prada Box

Trend merchandise haven’t all been full garbage afterthoughts although. Though not a smartphone within the trendy Android sense, 2006’s LG Prada was a trend cellphone with some surprisingly respectable {hardware}.

Whereas the construct high quality was, satirically, somewhat shoddy, the LG Prada got here with Bluetooth 2.0, a capacitive touchscreen, and a microSD card slot, which had been all cutting-edge improvements on the time. The cellphone additionally got here with a extra complete 2MP digital camera and a flashier bundle than that of the unique iPhone. Speak about luxurious. That mentioned, the cellphone lacked Wi-Fi and a full keyboard structure, but price a whopping $849 again within the day.

HTC and Beats

HTC Beats

Love or hate the model, Beats has by no means been shy about placing its title entrance and middle. In its early years earlier than Apple purchased it out, Beats was really owned by HTC (bear in mind them?). The corporate was eager to leverage its 2011 buy, slapping the Beats Audio brand throughout a bunch of smartphones. Handsets included the HTC Sensation XE all the best way again in 2011, adopted by the HTC One X, One S, and One V, together with just a few others up till 2013.

Learn extra: Did you know: HTC owned Beats before Apple

Whereas HTC did ultimately carve a distinct segment out for itself as one of many few firms to supply respectable stereo front-facing audio system, the Beats partnership wasn’t notably appreciated on the time. Regardless of the advertising and marketing hype about audiophile sound, HTC’s Beats integration was little greater than a flowery equalizer. The form of factor you could find in mainly any music participant app. Customers rapidly noticed by way of the ruse and all of it ended up with HTC being closely criticized for overcharging its prospects. Moreover, the HTC One X didn’t even include Beats earbuds within the field within the US, Canada, Australia, or most of Europe. Speak about a advertising and marketing mess.

In September 2013, Beats purchased again all of its remaining shares from HTC and ended the partnership — and never a second too quickly. The HTC-Beats partnership positively goes down as one of many largest smartphone partnerships fails. That’s proper, I’d mark it extra harshly than the HTC Butterfly S Hello Kitty tie-in.

Superhero Samsung

Motion pictures are definitely no strangers to branding partnerships and superhero tie-ins have discovered a well-liked house within the smartphone market. As one of many largest names within the enterprise, Samsung has seen its justifiable share of comedian book-inspired spin-offs.

The thought began out with the Iron Man Galaxy S6 Edge (pictured above). The intense purple colorway wasn’t the worst-looking cellphone design ever, however the Iron Man helmet etched into the cellphone’s again and bundled Arc Reactor wi-fi charging pad had been designed with the fanboy in thoughts. The next 12 months, Samsung switched sides to the DC Universe with the Galaxy S7 Edge Injustice Edition. Once more, the shiny black shade possibility was really fairly putting and was paired with a gold Batman brand on the again and a number of wallpapers.

Samsung isn’t the one smartphone model to play sidekick to the superhero industrial advanced. OnePlus emblazoned a limited edition OnePlus 6 with the Avengers brand, alongside a customized Iron Man case and one among six medallions. This was a follow-up to the OnePlus 5T Star Wars Restricted Version tie-in for Disney’s Final Jedi film. Talking of Star Wars, does anybody bear in mind the R2-D2 Motorola Droid 2? Or how concerning the beautiful Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus Star Wars Edition? Oppo additionally dabbled with its personal F11 Professional Marvel Avengers Restricted Version and Captain America-inspired case and collectors badge.

Kentucky Fried Handset

huawei kfc smartphone

What higher option to finish our roundup than with a celebration to commemorate KFC’s thirtieth 12 months working in China again in 2017, Huawei launched a purple model of its mid-range Get pleasure from 7 Plus handset (above). KFC is surprisingly enormous in China, with 1000’s of places throughout the nation. The again of the cellphone includes a laser-etched Colonel Sanders brand with the date the franchised first opened in China.

Additionally learn: 15 worst Android phone names, ranked

That wasn’t all although. Huawei bundled the restricted version cellphone with 10,000 digital Ok {dollars} for use in China’s KFC shops. One way or the other I doubt these have appreciated fairly like Bitcoin. KFC’s smartphone additionally includes a music app that allowed house owners to share playlists within the restaurant.

This was a fairly unique launch. Huawei solely made 5,000 of those finger-lickin’ handsets.


That’s it for our checklist and it’s in no way exhaustive. There have been quite a lot of smartphone tie-ins over time. Do you might have any specific favourite smartphone partnerships? Any terrible special-edition fashions that we’ve missed out? Tell us within the feedback under.

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