Monday, July 20, 2009

In mobile... always follow fashion

When someone in your organization asks you "are you abandoning your blog?", you realize it is time to post something... I have many excuses, from traveling abroad, losing some important piece of equipment (thanks Malpensa people for taking advantage of an idiot) and being under a significant pressure... But that's my normal workload, so I should not complain ;-) I will definitely post more in the next weeks.

I was looking at a graph about iPhone 3G buyers from Nielsen's Q2 2009 Mobile Insights Survey, and I realized many people noticed different things. Here it is. It shows what phone did the users have before buying the iPhone. What stands out for you?

The figure that looks disproportionate to me is the Motorola number. Yes, Motorola has a shrinking market share but it has never been that big to justify the largest share.

Why are RAZR users flocking to the iPhone? It is a huge jump, from the most basic device to the most featured. The RAZR has the worst possible user interface, while the iPhone has the best one. It is somehow counter-intuitive... You would expect people with advanced feature phones to upgrade to the iPhone.

I believe the answer is fashion. The iPhone looks good. It is the coolest device in town.

If you go back in memory and think about all the people that bought that pink RAZR, you realize the driver was exactly the same. The RAZR looked good. It was the slimmest device in town. Nobody cared about the crappy user interface. The RAZR was a show-me-ohh-cool device.

Same for the iPhone.

The Google Tmobile G1 phone could have all the features in the world, the best screen, the best UI, the best Google integration. But if you take it out of your pocket and people say "What's that, a garage door opener?", you won't feel much cool (unless you are a geek and you start going on for an hour talking about multi-threading and the like, but please remember that you are part of a tiny percentage of the population).

When you look at the market in mobile, never forget fashion. Your mobile phone is an essential component of your image. It speaks about who you are, what you like, and tells the world if you are cool or not.

Same as your latest pair of shoes. Who cares if they are comfortable or not? I do, but I am a geek.