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View Full Version : Smartphones? We Don't Need no Stinkin' Smartphones.

Eric Lin
07-23-2003, 12:53 AM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.infosyncworld.com/news/n/3867.html' target='_blank'>http://www.infosyncworld.com/news/n/3867.html</a><br /><br /></div>Infosync has information from a Jupiter Research report that Americans aren't too keen on spending extra money on smartphones. What matters most to Americans is cost (nothing is better than free) and size (bigger is not better). The population is not willing to pay extra, or suffer a larger handset for advanced features like digital cameras or PDA functionality. The report then jumps to the conclusion that carriers should not bother to carry any sort of converged devices (aka smartphones) and just carry small, free BlueTooth enabled handsets.<br /><br />Instead of jumping to this "dump the smartphones" conclusion, I would like to bring up a study from Strand Consult done back when more advanced phones were starting to hit Europe. First they studied buying habits, but before jumping to conclusions, they studied selling habits too. They learned that most carrier-store employees didn't know enough to sell the advantages of smarter phones. They discovered that once customers knew what they could do with smarter phones, many of them were willing to pay more for those capabilities. Would Americans be just as likely to consider a smartphone if they were properly told what they could do?<br /><br />I'd bet not as likely as Europeans as here we are spoiled by cheaper computers and cheaper internet access. We also lead a more sedentary lifestyle, and data on the go is not as convincing when on the go is just between work and home. However I do believe that informed sales people could significantly increase the chances that customers would be interested in smartphones. It works for Apple, it works for most PDA manufacturers. Don't you think it would work for phones as well?

07-23-2003, 02:23 AM
I've been trying to justify why I've decided that I have to have a smartphone. Now. As in, I'm going to buy a unit from overseas within the next week or so, even though the Smartphone 2003, or whatever it will be, is apparently set to be announced shortly.

I've also been trying to decide how to justify this to the wife......and some of the answers came to me today on the drive home from work.

First, I like my Jornada 567 - some of what I like just isn't available on units that exist today, and none of the current Mobile 2003 units has what I want. Next, if I am brutally honest with myself, even though I consider myself a poweruser, the fact remains that my pda is used 80% of the time for PIM and data retrieval, as well as for e-books and MP3's. I do not do a lot of heavy authoring, spreadsheet crunching, or other intensive tasks on the unit (well, I do use ListPro quite a bit, as sort of a task list on steroids...).

So I'm starting to wonder if a smartphone wouldn't also do that 80% of what I typically use my Jornada for. Sure, I'd probably miss the larger screen, at least initially, and data entry wouldn't be as easy, but would I really be giving up so much?

....and that is the point of all this. Would the people who are buying Palm Zires or Toshiba E330's be served just as well with a smartphone for the 80% or more of what they actually use their pda for? How many of the thousands of people that shell out money for their pda's really use them for more than jsut their calendars and contact lists? My wife has a Palm IIIc, and that is probably 90% of what she uses it for. I suspect that after she sees my new smartphone in action, she might decide that her Palm is redundant (or maybe not.....wifes can be funny about some things.......:))

So really, it just comes down to pricing and knowledgable salespersons. I just recently saw some advert, where you actually got $50 back, plus the phone when signing up for a new 1 year plan (not sure who the company was...). How much of a stretch would it be where the smartphone was discounted to $150 or less, where a savvy salesperson could say, "dude, you're getting a cellphone AND a Palm!" ? You'd think that at least ONE of the cell companies would recognise this potential, and try this ploy to attract new customers - based on the number of Palms and other low-end pda's I saw walking out of the stores last christmas, I have to wonder if the right ad campaign couldn't attract some business...........

But of course, I suppose only a percentage of potential pda purchasers would possibly be interested, and then you have the issue of cell market 'churn', where nobody wants to buy an expensive phone, because then you are tied to one network type, if not one cell provider, etc, etc, etc.........faced with that obstacle, we might have to ask ourselves if smartphones are ever going to show up here in the US in the near future.......:(

07-23-2003, 06:22 AM
Price sensitivity isn't just an American thing, it's true anywhere in the world. Our hardware team has looked at this in detail and there is definitely a sweet spot a phone has to hit for it to be accepted and purchased by people who aren't the early-adopter types. For cell phones there is a slight difference in how much people in North America are willing to pay compared to Europe. The Europeans tend to be willing to spend a bit more.

The price reason for not buying a Smartphone device is quickly disappearing. Remember that when Smartphone 2002 came out it was available for less than $150USD in the U.K., and depending on where you got it and what kind of plan you signed up for it might have been free.

The larger handset issue is also going away quickly. There are plenty of phones in Japan that are tiny, support full colour, and have integrated cameras and whatnot. It's only a matter of (not much!) time before Smartphone devices are also that small and thin with all the Windows Mobile technology you want (sorry, I know, shameless plug, but what do you expect :)).

Don't underestimate the power of brand recognition when making a phone purchase. Lots of folks just want a Nokia phone, even if they've never used one, and'll walk into a store and say "just give me the Nokia". I have no worries though, the day will come when all phones have Smartphone-style functionality and people will walk in and say "I want a phone that runs Windows Mobile". :way to go:

07-23-2003, 06:32 AM

I agree: anyone that uses a desktop PIM, namely Outlook, would benefit greatly from a Smartphone.

In my opinion, Bluetooth will become more prevalent. Combine bluetooth with Outlook, Smartphone 2003, and more applications developed for the Smartphone platform and I think you have a winner.

It's naive to think people won't want more advanced mobile phones.

Of course, price is an issue. But eventually volume and additional OEM vendors will solve this issue (ala Pocket PC ).

07-23-2003, 04:21 PM
I've sold off my last PDA (T-Mobile PPCPE) and am now only using the MS SmartPhone. I have found most of the functions that I used my PPC for are either included with the unit (yeah!) or can be purchases separately (boo!).

Overall, I have not (yet) missed the additional screen real estate or power of a standalone PDA. I may purchase a slim PPC (ipaq 1900 or 2200) to augement those times when I do want to use a laptop replacement... but not right now.

07-23-2003, 04:30 PM
The Europeans tend to be willing to spend a bit more.


Although I live in the US I am an European and I can tell you that I would rather spend $500/600 for a Sim free Smartphone than get a locked one free; why? Because I don't want to be tied to a carrier. My actual phone is a Samsung SGH S100, bought in Europe, Sim free and I use it with Omnipoint here in the US; whenever I go in Europe I just switch the chip and use it with my local number there.
Make Smartphones, like the Mio for instance, available through regular retailers and you will see how sales pick-up.

07-23-2003, 05:11 PM
I've been trying to justify why I've decided that I have to have a smartphone. (

I agree/understand/empathize with your entire post.

I am having the same thoughts and trying to make the same justifications (to the same person :wink: . I have used my PPC for a long time, and like you, I mainly use it for PIM functions. When I switch to a Smartphone I think I'll get past the small screen, and I've grown accustomed to using a keyboard for heavy text entry with my PPC, so I'd probably go that route with the Smartphone. What really interests me is the ability to carry one less thing around. I tried a Pocket PC phone for a while, but holding something that size to my ear got old fast, and I don't like having to use a headset/earpiece all the time while using the phone. So it was back to the PPC and the cell phone.

Now, however, we are finally seeing a useable combination (PIM/Phone)being developed and while I'll probably wait a couple more months, it is difficult. :)

07-23-2003, 05:12 PM
Well, can I still color myself an early adopter? I just purchased an unlocked Orange SPV, and it is on its way from England. I think the first thing I will have to do once I get it and swap my SIM into it, is to walk into my local T-Mobile store, and show them what they are missing.

Probably won't have any impact on T-Mobile's plans, but at least I can get a bit of 'gloat' value for my money....... :D

I am really curious to see what kind of response I will get from coworkers, friends, casual observers, etc - kind of do an informal survey to gauge response. Given how tech-hungry we seem to be (why is Circuit City/Best Buy always so busy?), I have to believe there is a market for these phones.....

charlie tai
07-23-2003, 06:46 PM
Of course, price is an issue. But eventually volume and additional OEM vendors will solve this issue (ala Pocket PC ).

That's a good point! The price will go down quickly because of cheap labor of OEM in China.

Besides, I would like to have more options like 3D graphics accelerator chip/more ram/bulit-in GPS....in the near future. That's the beauty of Wintel or PC platform. When buying PC, consumers could choose the componets freely. I hope we could do the same thing when we buy the cell phones in the future.

The main competitor of Windows Smartphones is Symbian-based smartphones. They always remind me of Mac/Apple during 1990 to 1997.
Back then, the Mac OS is better than Wintel. But the price issue didn't get Apple too much market share. And when the market share went down, application developers stop developing ap for Mac OS. And the market share gets even smaller because consumers could not get the latest application on Mac when newer applications is available on PC.

Well, it's the so-called "network effects".

So, will MS/cheap OEM do it again and beat Symbian/Nokia/Ericsson in the near future? Let's wait and see. :lol:

charlie tai
07-23-2003, 07:01 PM
MEN behaving badly
Motorola, Ericsson, and Nokia are doing everything they can to remain the power trio of wireless--even if it means stifling innovation.
By Dan Briody July 23, 2002

This is an interesting article. And I blame "MEN" for releasing handicapped WAP phones in 2000 and 2001. These early WAP phones is really a joke.
Browsing on a mono-color screen?

And I personally believe the main reason most average users thought they don't need smartphones is they think smartphones and WAP phones are the same thing.