Tecno set to spin off flagship series Phantom as a sub-brand

Tecno is set to unveil its latest flagship smartphone, the Tecno Phantom X, soon.

However, in a surprise move, we are learning that the company’s last flagship device, the Phantom 9, may have been the last of its kind.

This is because the company is spinning off the Phantom brand to become its own brand, a sub-brand of the mother brand, Tecno.

While we will have to wait until the device officially launches, at the start of July in Kenya, in order to know the exact thinking behind this move and why it was necessary, it is not that hard to piece one and one to get two. The writing has been on the wall for far too long.

In recent years, the company has side-stepped the flagship Phantom series in favour of the more budget Camon smartphone series, where it has taken all its attention and innovation synergy lately and received the necessary positive feedback from the market.

By design, Tecno’s Phantom devices have always gone for a little more than the rest of its device lineup, owing to their flagship status and premium looks and feel. If the company was to keep the Phantom as its flagship smartphone series under its main branding, that would’ve meant either there being very little differentiation between what it offers consumers and what the Camon series already does or there being such a wide gap that long time fans of the brand would push back against such moves.

Globally, the idea of the smartphone sub-brand is not new and has been exploited to the fullest by some of Tecno’s competitors, especially in the Asian market where it has been launching its products since about half a decade ago when it launched the Phantom 6 series.

Xiaomi successfully spun off its budget-focused Redmi series. It also did the same to its premium mid-range offering cum “flagship killer” smartphone series, Poco.

READ:  Xiaomi Pocophone and the rise of the smartphone sub-brand

Another Chinese brand with a heavy presence in Kenya, Huawei, has had something similar going on with Honor, the youth-focused sub-brand it recently sold to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology, a consortium of former agents and dealers of the brand in China after the going got tough.

Such moves allow device makers to differentiate their products extensively and adequately cater to diverse audiences that demand different things from the various products they offer.

Do you know how some of us feel about OnePlus pandering to the upper segments of the smartphone market when they started off as a smartphone brand for the masses that couldn’t afford the highly-priced flagship smartphones of the day or those that never saw modern-day flagship devices being worth all that mula? Now imagine if they catered to both, how would that be possible while still maintaining the entire brand’s initial pitch to its customers and fan base? An offshoot does seem like a good idea. Sadly, it is not what we are getting.

In this case, Tecno can continue focusing on its tens of millions of users in Africa and Asia who have loved it for its well-priced devices and keep tailoring products for them while not having to worry about wooing those in the premium smartphone segment at the expense of its core and loyal user base.

There has been quite a lot of speculation about what the Phantom X packs and we have rounded all of that from the leaks and other sources here.

Have something that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze [at] androidkenya.com