How to justify new features for a smartphone

This post is for product managers to understand a process to add new features to a new or existing product.






Honor 9i OnePlus 5 Samsung S8+ and iPhone X
Honor 9i OnePlus 5 Samsung S8+ and iPhone X


Adding edge to edge displays to a flagship smartphone

So the iPhone X has been launched. And we have the usual suspects in India, including the Samsung S8+, the Oneplus 5 and the Honor 9i.

All of these show the trend of reduced bezels, full HD and HD+ displays and bigger screens within the same form factor. They are branded as infinity displays, edge to edge screens and what not. The key benefit is touted as distraction less viewing. Apple also touts the importance of experience over device (their strategy of mirroring the logged-in user experience across devices supports this).

This is the end state outcome which started with a product manager identifying these as a necessary feature set for the smartphone evolution. Once this feature set is identified, the PM then has to make the business case to get this included in the product (software features are easier and faster to create and update, hence that is a simpler argument to make.)

Making a pitch for including this feature set

As a product manager, here are five reasons used to convince business leadership to include edge to edge displays in the next generation of their flagship phones.

1. My competitors are doing it (yes, this is a good benchmark)
2. User research indicates that it is a powerful new feature
3. Supply chain indicates that this is profitable beyond first 300,000 units shipped
4. Replacement and warranty business case indicates a very high margin (can even go up to 90%)
5. It will differentiate our latest flagship from previous versions, and will compel users to upgrade

Once you have data to back these reasons, it becomes a straight forward process to prepare a presentation, circulate it to management and get signed approval.

Note

You can always add new features to any product. The key is to identify the value to everyone, not just the users, from getting the features included. Try that in your next product pitch and drop me a line on how it worked out.

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