There was an interesting blog post circulating the interwebs over the weekend. The author, Tomi Ahonen, posits that the differences between the United States and the international cell markets have influenced what phones find success domestically vs the rest of the world. It’s a very long piece, so take your time…maybe start slow cooking a pot roast. Dinner will be done around the same time as when you finish reading the piece…but it is worth reading.
What I found really struck me was that among the ideas in the author’s main thesis was the idea that “American” phones are not as SMS-centric as euro ones, hence the lack of Symbian love in the United States. He also argues that what worked successfully in the USA (the RAZR, the iPhone), needed to be tweaked for the rest of the world, and that the rest of the world needed to tweak their phones for success in the USA.
I had a few issues with the central arguments: one, that Nokia was virtually untouchable in the cell phone market because they understood texting and entertainment, and that only RIM sees how to mimic that effectively, much to the detriment of Nokia’s marketshare (see here). It just seems awfully presumptive to assume that RIM realized they could make more consumer friendly phones because Nokia got there first, especially since Windows Mobile and Palm had smartphones with multimedia capabilities for years as well. Two, the article doesn’t satisfactorily address the continued success of windows mobile, android, or the iphone, all us-based or heavily influenced OSes. He touches upon them, but he seems to think that there needs to be a change before they can go from “USA success” to “world success”. The theme that the US has such a wildly different phone culture permeates the piece, and while that may be true, some of his examples were a bit extreme. I don’t know that Americans looked at Nokia phones without antennas and summarily rejected them based on not having the visual clue they could receive cell phone service.
And maybe I am betraying my American bias, but how do you separate “SMS phone” from any phone that does email and texts?
It’s a great read, though, if for no other reason than he does go into exhausting detail about the history of the European cell phone markets and the successes and failures they’ve faced. It’s obvious that he knows the European phone markets quite well, even if I think he did miss the mark on his thoughts on the United States.
I know we have some international readers, along with many road warriors and world travelers. Does Tomi Ahonen have a pulse on the world cellphone market or do you disagree with his assumptions? Sound off below!
via AWright from brighthand.com