Christmas is fast approaching and with yet another year coming to a close, you're running out of time for picking up gifts for your loved ones. Even though multi-billion-dollar corporations are hardly near the top of Santa's list of good children and it's not like most of us can afford to gift them anything significant either, we thought it would still be fun to ponder what the world's largest Android phone makers would want for Christmas 2018, which is exactly what we're going to do here. Without further ado, here's what Android Headlines believes are the best gifts for showing your favorite smartphone company that you appreciate it this holiday season:
Samsung: an anti-aging cream
This has been a rather strange year for Samsung seeing how its flagship Android devices reportedly sold below internal expectations and while the company appears unconcerned about that state of affairs, it's currently also preoccupied with a new advertising strategy; one that's targeting – gamers. Rumors of a dedicated gaming smartphone being in the works in Seoul notwithstanding, Samsung's marketing team spent the better part of this year trying to get people to think of its latest smartphones as mobile gaming machines. It hence jumped on the Fortnite bandwagon and most recently spent a lot of dollars on pitching the Galaxy Note 9 to teenagers instead of adults looking for a productivity powerhouse, which was a curious decision and one that seemingly delivered mixed results. Regardless, as Samsung now wants to appear more youthful, it could certainly use a few barrels of anti-aging cream to cover its giant 80-year-old corporate face so that it could possibly greet yet another generation of consumers with some hello-fellow-kids gimmicks and get away with it.
Huawei: a lawyer or ten
Huawei's long history of issues with the West and the United States in particular has been escalating throughout 2018; dropped carrier agreements, trade secret theft lawsuits, and spying allegations were plentiful, culminating with the arrest of its CFO in Vancouver earlier this month. And while the company's legal department is definitely anything but tiny, it could still certainly use all the help it can get fighting off its current problems. So, if you want Huawei to feel appreciated this holiday season, send it a few lawyers, just don't package them together because they can reportedly be rather quarrelsome.
LG: study drugs
If there's one thing LG has been lacking both in 2018 and previous years, it's some semblance of focus, particularly in the high-end segment of the smartphone market. Its latest flagship strategy is so erratic and all over the place that even veteran industry watchers have trouble keeping up with it and understanding what every one of its many premium devices released in recent months is meant to achieve. So, if you happen to be a doctor, this phone maker would certainly appreciate a Christmas gift in the form of a prescription for something like Adderal or Focalin that would help it regain some focus and figure out what exactly is it trying to do in the most lucrative mobile market out there – the one for flagship devices.
Google: a new design team
Google seemed rather pleased with its talent raid of HTC performed in early 2018 but even as its mobile engineering department is now more stacked than ever, its top offerings continue to underwhelm in terms of design. That's particularly true of the Pixel 3 XL, an Android smartphone featuring what's arguably the ugliest notch out there. How and why that unbecoming cutout came to be hasn't been clarified to date but what's certain is that Google's design team could certainly use some strengthening, so if you're out there shopping for Alphabet's subsidiary this holiday season, consider picking up a hardware designer or ten.
HTC: an HTC phone
HTC had a bad year in 2018 that managed to be even worse than its 2017, which itself marked an unprecedented low for the company. Its smartphone division is barely existent in terms of innovation talent following the aforementioned Google raid, the number of devices it's releasing annually dropped to a record low, their only unique selling points like digital power keys can largely be described as gimmicks, and things are generally not looking up. Given that depressive state of affairs, a small token of affection is likely all HTC needs to feel loved this holiday season, so just show it you remember its products exist and buy it an HTC smartphone for Christmas.
Xiaomi: A U.S. visa
Xiaomi has been flirting with a U.S. entry for so long that its entire will-it-won't-it saga is getting kind of tiresome. Someone should just get it a U.S. visa and be done with it, or better yet – negotiate a carrier agreement for the Beijing-based device maker. After all, B&H is unlikely to make it relevant in the highly competitive stateside smartphone market, no matter how great of a value deal the Poco F1 is.
OnePlus: A new marketing slogan
OnePlus has been one of the most consistent performers in the industry ever since launching its first device in 2014 but what was once a catchy tagline used by a promising startup is now becoming a subject of ridicule as the company continues growing, scaling up its R&D efforts, and ultimately making compromises. Compromises that go directly against the "never settle" mantra which now appears ripe for retirement. So, gifting OnePlus for Christmas 2018 shouldn't be too expensive of an endeavor, just come up with a nice catchy slogan that isn't laughably debunkable but still does a good job at capturing the essence of its brand. Something like "never pay more than you need for the latest Snapdragon chip and plenty of RAM."
ZTE: a break
After everything that happened over the course of the last twelve months, ZTE just needs to be left alone this holiday season. No more fines, federal investigations, board overhauls, management revamps, and new oversight boards. Granted, ZTE largely brought its issues with the U.S. government upon itself and can arguably be happy it wasn't forced into bankruptcy several months back but if there's anything this state-owned Chinese phone maker needs for Christmas, it's a break.
Sony: a product strategy
Sony as a whole has been doing rather well recently but its mobile division isn't going anywhere nice. Between mounting losses and underwhelming devices, the company could certainly use a new product strategy. Its exact focus isn't even that important because as things stand right now, Sony isn't doing much to differentiate its products in any segment, from entry-level to the very top end of the price bracket. Coupled with the fact that many of its rivals are undercutting it across all categories, Santa will certainly have issues with bringing a smile to Sony's face for Christmas, so maybe you can help him do so with a brand new product strategy; ideally, one that doesn't suck.
Motorola: a software developer
Motorola has been streamlining its product portfolio over the course of this year but when it comes to software updates, it's still one of the worst OEMs out there, with security patches for its devices being rare and far between. Things have gotten so bad that tech enthusiasts who care about things like mobile security are now largely circumventing the entirety of Motorola's portfolio, so if you long for the days when this company used to be a division of Google, gift it a software developer or 50 this holiday season and hope it still remembers how to organize an after-sales unit after sitting on its hands for so long.