With product innovation lagging behind, Silicon Valley is betting on new paint | So Good News


CNN Business

When Google unveiled its new Pixel 7 line of smartphones earlier this month, the devices were the same as last year. But there was at least one subtle change: the colors.

While the Pixel 6 came in Seafoam (light blue) and Coral (pale pink), the Pixel 7 now comes in Lemongrass (green) and Snow (white). Google has also replaced the Storm Black (storm black) option on the Pixel 6 with Obsidian (still black) on the Pixel 7.

The emphasis on a new color palette for devices isn’t unique to Google. As tech companies have shown off their latest smartphones, tablets and laptops at press conferences over the past couple of months, many have products have received limited changes externally, but boast color options listed in detail.

Microsoft launched its Surface Pro 9 tablet in colors like sapphire (blue) and forest (green), while its Surface Laptop 5 comes in metallic (silver), sage (green) and sandstone (brown). Apple’s new iPhone 14 lineup comes in Starlight (champagne) and Midnight (black) colors, which the company has previously introduced. two shades of green (“green” and “alpine green”) and purple (“purple” and “dark purple”).

Purple was having a moment, especially in tech. Earlier this summer, Samsung revealed a “bora purple” color for its flagship Galaxy S22 smartphone — the Korean word “bora” translates to “purple,” effectively duplicating the color as “purple purple.”

While most of the biggest updates for smartphones and other gadgets are under the hood, It may be easier to get customers interested in a new color than it is to get people interested in faster processors.

An employee assists a customer at Apple's The Grove store in Los Angeles on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022.

Kelly Goldsmith, marketing professor at Vanderbilt University, said: “All phones are so high-quality that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to define what ‘good’ means. “As a result, tech brands need to adopt new strategies. Introducing different, niche colors is one way to do that.”

A wide range of colors can have real value for consumers. “Devices—whether they’re smartphones, wearables, computers or tablets—are an extension of a user’s personality, who they are and who they want to be,” said IDC Research analyst Ramon Llamas. “Introducing a different color is a way for devices and their owners to differentiate themselves.”

According to Peggy Van Allen, color anthropologist at Color Marketing Group, because simple black, white, gray and silver are the dominant colors in the automotive industry, these colors are more likely to resonate with smartphone owners. However, he noted that a shift to stronger colors is underway.

The Pixel 7 comes in Obsidian, Snow and Lemongrass.  The Pixel 7 Pro is available in Obsidian, Snow and Walnut.

Apple released “Bondi Blue” for the Mac line in the late 1990s after Steve Jobs returned to the company (which was a huge success). Recently, it became famous for introducing the rose gold iPhone in 2015.

“Warm metals have gone out and come back into fashion, and rose gold has really gained mass appeal,” Van Allen said. “It peaked when social media influencers were fawning over it, and the popularity of Millennial Pink also helped kickstart it.”

Both pinks lasted longer than most forecasters predicted, he said. “This went hand in hand with other trends of the time that fueled the desire for individualization and women’s empowerment.”

Over the past year, the names of the latest colors have become increasingly esoteric. According to Barbara Kahn, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, it can also be a strategic game.

“Descriptive but strange color names can generate positive reactions because the consumer likes to ‘solve puzzles,'” he said. “Unambiguous color names also attract attention and consumers try to figure out what the meaning might be.”

But for all the different colors, It’s important to remember that consumers still keep their phones in cases that hide the color that once helped entice them to upgrade.

“There are some first-party and third-party transparent cases,” said Eric Abbruzzese, director of research at market research firm ABI Research, “but at least anecdotally, they don’t seem to be as popular as conventional cases.”


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