Re: @AC It's had its day.
You may well be right. As things get commoditized, why should people pay premium prices? I don't know; maybe someone at Rolex, Mercedes, BMW, and lottos yachtmakers could answer that question. It doesn't change the fact that no one is making money (indeed they're all losing buckets of it) selling downscale smartphones. The only profit is in the high-end kit.
But I would suggest the Mr. Orlowski has perhaps let his stomp-on-Apple zeal carry him away a little this time. Read this article about the Counterpoint release: https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/07/05/apples-cheaper-iphones-are-not-the-volume-sellers-pundits-predicted-iphone-8-x-are , admittedly from a true fanboi site, and decide for yourself what the news is here. The way I read it, ignoring how various models (and their putative margins) are ranked, Apple sells 50% more high-end (read: profitable) smartphones than Samsung, who in turn sell twice as many as Xiaomi, while BKK and Huawei battle it out for the rest of the profitable part of the market.
While there are rumors that Xiaomi has had some profitable quarters, pretty much no one but the fruit company and Samsung are making money selling smartphones, integrated over all price points they offer. Other companies may be using downscale models as loss leaders, hoping to grab market share and then raise the price of entry in classic capitalist style (way to go, People's Republic). But those two firms have already gotten there. Maybe that's the news?