TechAltar Explains The Enthusiast’s Trap

I’ve been subscribed to TechAltar for a while now, and was pleased to see one of the videos from that YouTube channel grace the front pages of popular subreddits like r/Android, r/OnePlus and r/Pebble this week. The dude who appears on camera—I think his name is Martin?—clearly knows what he is talking about, and nowhere is this more apparent than in his latest production.

His theory, in a nutshell, is that serving the tech enthusiast is not a sustainable business.

He cites two notable examples: Oppo and Pebble. Perpetually a hit with the Kickstarter crowd, Pebble still struggled to find a wider customer base. Distribution through Best Buy and the like, more fashion-conscious designs like the Pebble Round, doubling down on fitness tracking with heart-rate sensors… none of this could ultimately save the company; its geek-cred became a fatal thorn in its side.

Then there’s Oppo, a company that Martin (?) actually worked for in Shenzhen, China for a time. It wasn’t all that long ago that Oppo too was an enthusiast brand—as I recall, there was a version of their 2013 N1 that ran CyanogenMod out of the box. But there came a point where the company decided to pivot away from its tech-savvy fanbase and focus on more consumer-friendly products. The result? Oppo is now, according to The Economist, the number one OEM in the world’s biggest smartphone market.

So what’s the early adopter to do? TechAltar’s advice is to not get too attached to your favourite brand, and be ready to jump to the next thing once it comes along. Hopefully we will always have a next thing to jump to…!

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