Friday, June 29, 2007

iPhone and iPod success genes

iPhone – Apple’s newest flagship product is set to debut soon. After the phenomenal success with iPod, Apple is prepared to venture into the mobile space.

The iPod and iPhone share not only similar features but ‘genes’ as well. They were designed by people who truly understand consumer needs and placed emphasis on design rather than just technology.

This ‘thinking’ and approach is probably the main factors that fuelled iPod to such greatness and why competition lagged behind. Many others simply went out bought high capacity hard drives or Flash memory, engaged a low cost design firm in China and produced MP3 players. However, though many of these MP3 players had more sophisticated features, it failed to compete with iPod.

iPod succeeded because it provided more than just a player. It integrated hardware, software and content. It essentially had its own eco-system.

The iPhone is likely to embark on a journey. Apple is building strong connections with network operators to build a sustainable ecosystem. However, operators and content providers are independent and thus Apple will not have full control. This is one of the reasons why Apple took such long time before entering the mobile phone market. They needed to ensure that all parties in the eco-system could provide the require backbone to support its phone features.

The iPod story is a key lesson for all current and aspiring Apple competitors. Do not simple launch a fully featured or touch screen phone, it will not be able to compete with iPhone.

The iPod and iPhone are like myths and it will go down in history for good reasons.

Monday, June 25, 2007

iPhone and iPod : review before launch

The Apple iPhone will be available in a couple of days. Most of IT websites, news web sites, analysts, professionals are predicting a immense success.

For sure the iPhone will be a success. It might even be as successfull as the iPod. The iPhone and and the iPod share the same 'success genes ' which are : Brand image, Ease of use, Design, Integration and finally the most important one 'a consumer product designed and taylored for consumer by consumer thinking people'

However,some differences can be identified between the two products :
- Operator locked
In order to purchase the iPhone, you need to take a two year contract with AT&T. Eventhough you would consider to buy it and get it shipped overseas, it will not work.
- Operator backend related
Most of the iPhone unique features require an operator taylored made set up . In order to expend its geographical coverage, Apple need to engage other operators in the rest of the world.
- USA Availability only
Back in 2002, the iPod was released in all region at the same time. The iPhone will be limited at launch to USA and sales figures might be down by 20% because of the lack of sales from Europe or Asia.
- Timing
We should not forget that despite the immense iPod success at launch, it only started to sky rocket later when iTMS service was fully available, when the TV commercial was released and when the marketing actions hit all regions.

The iTunes Music Store customer experience is not similar in all regions. Europe is for example dying to get movie video download while the Asian music stores availability are lacking behind. Despite that, the iPod is still a huge success in those regions, eventhough sales would even be better if the iTunes Music Store features would as advanced in those regions as they are in the USA.

The iPhone success might face a similar situation and its full potential might be totally unlocked in a near future. However, most probably like you, I am dying to get my hands on it....

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Netvibes : Reach out your information

It's probably true for most of us that the first thing we do when we reach the office is to turn on our computers and grab a cup of coffee. These actions are not just a habit but now very much a necessity.

Our world has changed dramatically over the last decade. It has become very increasing important to stay connected. Information is no longer channeled to us through radio and TV.

However, knowing how to turn on your computer is not enough. Picture this: You know how to drive but you also need to be knowledgeable in how to get your way around. You need it a GPS device, roadmap, traffic new via radio, etc.

Similarly, information available through computers is in abundance. You need help here too. The new trend for sharing and acquiring information is blogging. Again.blogging is also is not without its downside. How can one possibly keep abreast of the tons of information from various sources? It can be sheer a nightmare and you will probably get a headache!

There is a cure..Netvibe! It helps you create a simple page where you can conveniently add your favorite sources of websites. That's not all, it even summarizes the information. Netvibe helps to get all the relevant elements you need..whether is a widget, RSS feed, etc. Its all the touch of your fingertips.

My point is a long winded way (as usual).."Welcome to the start of Web 3.0 - delocalization of information".

Monday, June 11, 2007

How to reach the Digital Consumer ?

Test for the brave: Leave home tomorrow without any electronic gadgets. No laptop, no handphone, etc. You will probably take 5 steps out your home only to run back in to grab it all with you. Another test: Try calling your close friend, relative without using the contacts feature in the phone. Can you remember their telephone number..confidently. by heart?

Welcome to the digital world!

We have, without a doubt made great technological leaps since the 60s. Techology has evolved from analog to digital, tapes to MP3s, conventional TVs to Plasmas, camera films to memory cards...the list goes on.

Where are we heading from here? My guess is 'virtualization of information'.. When you need something, you simple search it on the web. When you need to reach a friend, you go to LinkedIn, Myspace, messenger, etc. . Over 100 million videos are downloaded daily from YouTube. All these point to the fact that people are changing the way they consume videos, media and information.

Consumers are no longer alone. There is a tight interaction between technology and consumers. They go hand in hand. The consumer is connected and mobile more than ever before. But don't be mistaken, not only are we adapting to technology, it is adapting to us as well. In a recent US survey, it was suggested that the dexterity of the new generation's thumb has increased. As weird as it seems, it is true. Have you observed differently people interact with their phones, especially teenagers!

As a result, there is a tendency to bombard consumers with information through various digital channels in the believe that he will be more receptive in a shorter period of time. Personally, I do not feel that launching a CRM, digital or mobile campaign is going to be more effective or reach out to more customers. The consumer is clever and getting increasingly smarter. There is less brand loyalty and convincing them to purchase a specific product or service is only getting harder.

Sure, I would not consider a 360 marketing campaign to be complete if it does not include digital, and mobile elements. Forget these two mediums and there is a high chance that you failed to maximize the impact of your campaign.

Technology is not an end goal. It is merely a new way to reach your consumer. So let us not forget our basics marketing principles. Do not forget that our job is to answer consumer needs. Use technology as a media, a way to reach them and use it wisely. Do not overload your consumer with too much information. Digital is a way to better select and understand who you want to talk to, how you want to talk to him and what kind of message you want to deliver.

Digital is a excellent weapon. Use it wisely with marketers who know how to handle it. Use it with marketers who first understand your audience, your market and your products. Marketers need to evolve to cope with technology but they need to learn how to use this new tool.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

NAND Flash Notebook, Asus to release its EeePC. Is it the future of mobility ?

The first A Brand company to release a NAND Flash notebook was Sony with the VGN-UX series like the UX180P model.

Other companies like Palm and Asus (just announced the EeePC, see at are following the trend and we can expect more products to be released in the future.

The Eee PC seems to have additional benefits compared to the Palm Foleo. First of all, it is not positioned as a 'mobile phone accessory' but as a stand alone product. Second, the price range (around $200) seems to be more in line to the target audience expectation. Asus is proving that a good concept can be well executed, let's wait for the first units to be tested and evaluated and let's hope it is really up to its promises.

The reason why company are looking for NAND Flash notebook is because they want to answer the consumer needs for mobility and connectivity.

NAND Flashed computers benefits are :
- Faster bootable time
- Shock proof
- Reduced physical foot print that will allow to reduce laptop form factor
- Extended battery life time based on lower consumption
- Faster information access time

Cons :
- Size limitation compared to OS and software storage needs
- Cost for high capacity memory

In the short term two new product categories are expected to emerge :

1) NAND Flash laptops
Those products will focus on battery life, size, wireless connectivity

2) NAND Flash + HDD Laptops or Desktops
The NAND Flash will be probably used to speed up the boot time and allow a faster resume time. New laptops will as well be able to be used as a media player while they are turned off.

It is expected to see more and more products taking benefits of this new technology. However, in order to succeed, company should continue to focus on consumer needs and not the technology.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Palm Foleo, great concept but is it really the right execution ?

The Foleo seems to be a great concept.
Is it really innovative and will it help to get Palm back to success ?
Palm is currently under pressure and is loosing market shares. The recent introduction of the Palm Treo on a windows based OS was already a major shift in Palm strategy. Will Foleo bring new success to the company ?

One would probably be impressed by the Foleo concept if you go to the Palm website and check their product demo.

It seems to be the ideal solution for everyone who is looking for a way to stay connected through emails and internet. The Foleo has a comfortable screen, large enough to ease reading and surfing, it comes with a real keyboard, it can download Office files, it is very light, it has a long battery life, it is embedded with wireless technologies and can boot up instantly thanks to the flash memory storage.

However, despite it seems to be the ideal travel companion, the Foleo fails to really convince about its concept on several points :
- No touch screen
- No simcard embedded
- Expensive price
- Positioning does not answer totally its target audience needs

Let's review some scenarios :

1) Businemen
Business travellers are already equipped with a laptop, most probably a light unit (up to 14") and a email enabled mobile phone. It is unlikely that they will sacrifice their phone or their laptops to the Foleo. It is difficult to believe they will as well carry a third mobile unit.

2) Students
Most of students nowadays carry a mid range laptop, a phone with multimedia capability. They might be attracted by the Foleo promises. However, it is unlikely they could afford a Foleo that cost almost the same price as a second hand laptop.

3) Family
The Foleo could be considered as well as an Home product, to surf internet and check emails easily. However, the price of this unit would probably turned down most of purchase intentions.

It is difficult at this point of time to predict a great success to the Foleo. We might expect this product to be succesful to a limited audience, fan of mobility, high tech, with high income.

The Foleo failed to convince that it really answer the consumer needs. It would have been interested to add a simcard chip and of course to lower its price positioning.

However, we have to acknowledge that the Foleo shows a new trend on mobile computing and could hope that future product will really answer consumer needs. Let's recognize Palm efforts to try to break in that new segment.

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