With product innovation lagging, Silicon Valley bets on a contemporary coat of paint

By Samantha Murphy Kelly | CNN Enterprise When Google unveiled its new Pixel 7 smartphone…

With product innovation lagging, Silicon Valley bets on a contemporary coat of paint

By Samantha Murphy Kelly | CNN Enterprise

When Google unveiled its new Pixel 7 smartphone lineup earlier this month, the gadgets seemed largely the identical because the 12 months prior. However there was not less than one refined change: the colours.

Whereas the Pixel 6 had are available in sorta seafoam (a light-weight blue) and kinda coral (a pale pink), the Pixel 7 now is available in lemongrass (a inexperienced) and snow (off-white). Google has additionally swapped the stormy black (a stormy black) choice on the Pixel 6 for obsidian (nonetheless black) on the Pixel 7.

The emphasis on a brand new coloration palette for gadgets isn’t distinctive to Google. As tech corporations confirmed off their newest smartphones, tablets and laptops at splashy press occasions over the past two months, most of the merchandise had solely restricted modifications on the surface however boasted elaborately named coloration choices.

Microsoft launched its Floor Professional 9 pill in shades comparable to sapphire (blue) and forest (inexperienced), and its Floor Laptop computer 5 is available in steel (silver), sage (inexperienced) and sandstone (tan). Apple’s new iPhone 14 lineup is available in Starlight (a champagne coloration) and midnight (black), and the corporate has beforehand unveiled two shades of inexperienced (“inexperienced” and “alpine inexperienced”) and purple (“purple” and “deep purple”).

Purple, specifically, has been having a second in tech. Earlier this summer season, Samsung unveiled a “bora purple” coloration for its flagship Galaxy S22 smartphone — the phrase “bora” in Korean interprets to “purple,” successfully dubbing the colour “purple purple.”

At a time when most of the greatest upgrades to smartphones and different devices are beneath the hood, drumming up shopper curiosity with a contemporary coat of paint could also be simpler in some methods than getting individuals enthusiastic about sooner processors.

“The standard of all telephones is so excessive, it’s getting tough for shoppers to even discover what ‘higher’ is anymore,” stated Kelly Goldsmith, professor of promoting at Vanderbilt College. “In consequence, tech manufacturers have to undertake new methods. Introducing completely different, area of interest colours is only one technique to do it.”

For shoppers, there could be a actual worth to a broader vary of colours. “Units — whether or not they’re smartphones, wearables, PCs, or tablets — are an extension of the consumer’s persona, each when it comes to who they’re and who they aspire to be,” stated Ramon Llamas, an analyst at IDC Analysis. “Introducing a distinct coloration is a manner for gadgets and their homeowners to differentiate themselves.”

However simply as primary black, white, grey and silver are the highest colours within the car business, these colours are inclined to resonate most with smartphone homeowners, in keeping with Peggy Van Allen, a coloration anthropologist for the Shade Advertising and marketing Group. Nonetheless, she famous, a shift has been underway towards stronger colours.

An employee assists a customer at the Apple store in Los Angeles on September 16.(Ringo Chiu/AP)
An worker assists a buyer on the Apple retailer in Los Angeles on September 16.(Ringo Chiu/AP) 

Apple famously introduced “Bondi Blue” to its Mac line within the late Nineteen Nineties after Steve Jobs’ return to the corporate (it was an enormous success). Extra not too long ago, it created a splash with the introduction of the rose gold iPhone in 2015.

“Heat metallics went away after which got here again in model, and rose gold actually reached mass attraction,” Van Allen stated. “It peaked at a time when social media influencers have been gobbling it up, and the recognition of Millennial Pink additionally helped to usher it in.”

Each pinks lasted longer than most forecasters would have predicted, she stated. “It was carried alongside by different traits of the time that enforced the need for personalization and feminine empowerment.”