U.S. Smartphone Owners Rank Longer Battery Life, More Storage, Faster Processor and Better Video as More Compelling Reasons to Upgrade than 5G

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BlinkAI’s 2021 Smartphone Consumer Report details how skyrocketing mobile use during COVID-19 has altered what American iPhone and Android users want in their next.

BlinkAI's 2021 Smartphone Consumer Report

As time on mobile devices increases to an all-time high, it is clear that smartphone OEMs should be focusing on innovations in functional areas that consumers are prioritizing such as battery-life extension, improved processing speeds, and enhanced photography and video capabilities.

Just 34% of U.S. smartphone owners believe 5G is a compelling reason to upgrade smartphones, indicating Americans are underwhelmed with the user experience enhancements promised on the next-generation wireless standard. Instead, 73% of consumers noted extended battery life would compel them to upgrade, followed by more storage (49%), a faster processor (43%), and better quality photos and video (41%). These findings highlight that as consumers’ device usage hits all-time highs, they’re placing an increased amount of importance on practical functionalities that deliver more satisfying user experiences.

These are the findings of BlinkAI’s 2021 Smartphone Consumer Report, a study of the features and functionalities consumers prioritize in their next device as smartphones move far beyond being merely a tool for communication. As part of its analysis, BlinkAI, an AI-powered imaging enhancement provider for smartphones, commissioned a survey of over 1,000 American smartphone owners in February 2021. The sample of respondents was nearly evenly split between iPhone (55%) and Android (45%) users.

Android users (36%) said they were slightly more compelled by 5G to upgrade from their current smartphone versus iPhone users (32%), and were also more interested (47%) in the idea of upgrading to a better processor than their iPhone (43%) counterparts. These Android users may have their eye on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888, which will power 2021 Android flagships from manufacturers like Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi, LG, Sony, and more.

Meanwhile, consumer desire for upgrading to a smartphone device based on higher quality photos and videos saw the most significant difference in opinions based on gender. 47% of women said the ability to take higher quality videos and pictures would be a compelling reason to upgrade from their current device, versus just 35% of men.

BlinkAI’s findings also indicate that the smartphone replacement cycle has increased over the last few years as annual improvements on mobile devices have plateaued, with more than one-in-three (35%) American smartphone users planning to keep their device for more than three years. When comparing Android and iPhone users, the former indicated they would be keeping their device longer. 37% of Android users said they plan to keep their smartphone longer than 36 months compared with 34% of iPhone users.

Interestingly, the replacement cycle period also varies by gender and age demographics. Nearly four-in-ten women (39%) report that they plan to keep their current device for longer than three years versus 31% of men. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that you see smartphone manufacturers hungry to continue rolling out innovations with photo and video enhancements that women are interested in with the hope of enticing them to upgrade.

When it comes to new photo and video enhancements that would warrant upgrading their device, enhancing image quality for night photo and night video mode (44%) was the top choice. That was followed by introducing 5x optical zoom (22%), front and rear-facing cameras (18%), 8K video (9%), and triple-rear camera (7%). Nighttime video production was reported to be a significant pain point for many smartphone users, with more than a quarter (26%) of Android users and 23% of iPhone users admitting that they’re not satisfied with the quality of their nighttime videos. Comparatively, just 4% of Android users and 3% of iPhone users reported not being satisfied with the quality of the daytime videos they capture.

Additional highlights from BlinkAI’s 2021 Smartphone Consumer Report include:

  • 72% of iPhone users and 75% of Android users rank extended battery life as a compelling reason to upgrade from their current device.
  • Overall, 76% say that the chip their phone is running on is moderately important when buying a new device.
  • Exactly half (50%) of those over the age of 60 said they plan to keep their device for more than three years. Comparatively, 26% of millennials and Gen Z under 30 said they plan to keep their mobile devices for 36 months-plus.
  • 70% of consumers say they are most interested in leveraging AI on their smartphone for reducing battery consumption. This was followed by being interested in AI that enables faster processing needs (46%), AI that offers better security protection (44%), and AI that helps them take better photos and videos (40%).

“Consumers have come to rely on their smartphones for everything from communicating with loved ones to shopping and entertainment during the pandemic,” says BlinkAI CEO & Co-Founder, Selina Shen. “As time on mobile devices increases to an all-time high, it is clear that smartphone OEMs should be focusing on innovations in functional areas that consumers are prioritizing such as battery-life extension, improved processing speeds, and enhanced photography and video capabilities. Enhancements in these areas are the most likely path to enticing consumers into upgrading and the most viable path to gaining market share in the coming years.”

View the entire 2021 Smartphone Consumer Report here.

About Blink AI Technologies

BlinkAI Technologies is a leading provider of AI-powered imaging enhancement solutions for camera systems used across the mobile, automotive, and security industries. The company’s patented imaging enhancement solutions are built on an artificial neural network that mimics how the human visual system works to dramatically improve imaging performance in noisy and low-light conditions. By using its technology, BlinkAI customers can improve both photo and video quality, accelerate object detection, and enable semantic segmentation in challenging visual scenarios. For more information, visit https://www.blink.ai/.

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