Searching for the Dream Smartphone 2014
Apple CEO, Tim Cook emphatically said on September 9 during the unveiling of ‘iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus’ : “The biggest advancement in the history of iPhone ” ; ” the best iPhones ever produced ” – a shrewd ‘promotional’ strategy to captivate the audience many of whom are already sold on the idea of the premium brand and status symbol that Apple has been identified with.
Reports say that Apple iPhone 6 is being sold in the grey market in India for Rs 1,10,000/- and iPhone 6 Plus for Rs 1,80,000/- while the same in U.S.A. cost $ 199 and $ 499 with a two year contract. Official launch in India is expected on October 17 and it is rumored that the date may even be shifted further. That 10 million iPhones were sold in the opening week end after sales opened on Sep 19 in the U.S. officially is a boost to Indian buyers.
There really has not been a breakthrough feature in the phone however, quite understandably, and the general view of the analysts and experts seem to focus mostly on incremental improvements aside from the NFC chip.
It occurs to my mind that “Smartphone features and the market itself may have reached the maturity phase with distinguishing among different customer needs ( different models, budget smartphones and the like ) also reaching a point of saturation” placing the goal of all players in this sector, specially the big three or four leaders, to seek new ways to protect its/their share.
Also, targets of opportunity in terms of segment and geography are further shrinking posing challenges even while the market space is getting crowded with many entrants.
Seen in this context, CEO Tim Cook’s emphasis throws more insight into the strategies needed to stay afloat in the market for many players.
Large screens, powerful processors, camera with good image quality, battery with good life, usable apps – have all become common among the many brands in the market today. Big players’ dominance is even threatened by others who are just a few years old. One doesn’t have to move beyond comparing the key features of some major players :
Samsung Galaxy S5 : 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution; Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip; 16 MP primary camera; 2 MP secondary camera; S Health Fitness Tracker, Ultra Power saving mode and Download booster (these two are absent in iPhone Plus);
Xiaomi Mi3 Phone : 1080 x 1920 Full HD resolution; IPS retina display; Android 4.3 optimized MIUI version 5; 13 MP primary camera; 2 MP secondary camera; 3050 mAh Lithium ion battery.
Sony Xperia Z3 : 1080 X 1920 pixel resolution; 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chip; Live color LED with Triluminos Technologies ( iPhone 6 has LCD panel with IPS tech); 20.7 MP primary camera with Intelligent Active; also featuring a high resolution audio effect.
HTC One M8 : 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution ; Snapdragon 801 SoC; Quadcore Krait CPU; ( Apple’s A8 is more powerful ) 4G LTE Connectivity ( absent in Apple )
There does not seem to be much difference in functionality. Hence the need for some special strategies. When, product, price and place have little to yield to the participants, “Aggressive Promotion” appears to be the key route to survive, sustain and prosper. I am tempted to propose at least three points here :
1. The primary task is to ‘place the smartphone deep in the heart of customers – regular or otherwise – evoking the Global Spirit of Communication’ constituting a basis for formulating New Strategies. This simply lies in influencing the various user groups covering the stakeholders, customers, government and even other business executives (SME) through a set of ‘organized activities’.
2. Efforts to induce the customers to hear the friendly voices, see the eye catching pictures, read the informative treasure of words and messages, enable efficient transactions, play the games and gamers, plan simple data analytics to enhance the decision making process – all to stir up good feelings about the phone and services to make people interested and buy.
3. Supporting schools and hospitals through services, communicating positives through reports, news releases, films, news shows in all media will play a lead role in the campaign process of every smartphone player now. A sort of PR role revisiting essentially.
In the present crowded and challenging situation, the distinction between regular users, non users, temporary users, and users who switch from one brand to another with attractive deals is getting blurred. Nobody, howsoever big a player is, can afford to think that he/it is firmly entrenched in this milieu with inherent complexities.
Will the American, South Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, and Finnish push hold and ‘speak smart’ is the 64 thousand dollar question in the mind of every customer now.
” Dieu avec nous “
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 – 11.29 p.m. ( IST )
Tidbit : ” Communication is so good and fast now that any number of nations can praise or insult each other in a minute.”