Thursday, March 02, 2006

Playing to win in the handset market

Is industrial design enough to sustain success? A look at the importance of interface and user experience to stay on top...

"Motorola is currently enjoying the fruits of a design-led renaissance prompted by the iconic status of its RAZR line-up. RAZR products have become the handsets of choice by virtue of their eye-catching industrial design, edgy marketing and their early acceptance among the fashionistas who set consumer trends. I’ve read several analyst reports which compare RAZR with Apple’s iPod: a ‘company-changing’ product with the power to alter overall brand perceptions, drive sales records and serve as a platform for new opportunities. It is a tempting analogy, but an inaccurate one.

There is no denying RAZR has been key to Motorola’s recent growth in the handset market. According to Strategy Analytics‘ figures, Motorola shipped 40 percent more handsets year-on-year in 2005, compared to overall handset market growth of around 20 percent. This pushed the company’s market share from 15.4 percent to 18 percent, more than its closest two rivals combined (Samsung and LG), although still some way behind market leader Nokia.

RAZR is a great product, but its greatness is imbalanced. The primary selling point is the industrial design. Put simply, people buy RAZR because it looks good. This is where the analogy with the iPod fails - the iPod may look very cool, but it is also part of a system, an overall experience which is greater than the sum of its parts. There is an interesting analysis of just how significant the iPod, or rather iTunes, could be for the wider consumer electronics and recording industries on Michael Mace’s Mobile Opportunity blog (Mace was formerly chief competitive officer at Palm)."   continued ...   (Via MEX)

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