Gone in 5.2 secs (What Microsoft-Nokia phones missed)

by | Jul 10, 2015

Two contrasting stories caught my attention in the last 24 hours: First, the sad story of Microsoft and its failure with mobile phones. The second one is the happier story of Lenovo selling 47,440 K3 Note phones in 5.2 seconds.

Both companies are IT elephants, but one of them (Lenovo) can dance.

The story of phones selling like hot cakes isn’t new. We hear about it time and again, courtesy Flipkart, Xiaomi, OnePlus and others.

An old model of the Apple iPhone (the 4S) is still in demand.

It seems anyone can produce a sleek, shiny, powerful phone these days. The OS is common (Android) and the hardware is commoditised.

So what did Microsoft miss?

And how do you sell a phone in seconds (not days or weeks)?

1. Go Android

Look around and you’ll see that phones are either proprietary (OS, Software, hardware made by one company) or Android powered (with the hardware made by different companies). The platforms that succeed are the ones that offer the most apps.

So it’s down to Apple iOS vs Android phones.

There are reports that even Blackberry is considering an Android phone. Perhaps it will have an Android shell on top of the core Blackberry OS.

2. What’s the value proposition?

It seems almost anybody can make a sleek, shiny feature packed phone these days. The hardware is almost commoditized. It’s what you build on top of the phone — the phone ecosystem. Apple mastered that by offering superb content and making a phone that is incredibly simple to use. Even two-year olds can use an iPhone!

3. Create a sense of urgency and craving

Closer to the launch date, leak the specs and some product photos online. Use social media to set off rumors. Get bloggers to write and tweet about it. And make sure the phone has “killer specs”.

4. Sell it online only — and through one e-commerce site

Make it exclusive. It should be available online only, from either Flipkart, SnapDeal or InfiBeam. And offer a pre-booking facility, and free shipping. Run teaser ads in the dailies.

I want one! I must have one!

5. Offer great service options

Offer a free screen replacement and at least 2 years warranty. Offer to pick it up from the owner’s home for service. And ensure that you have enough service centres and helpline numbers!

6. Bundle in a few freebies

Like free talktime. Partner with a content provider and offer free song and movie downloads for the first three months.

Remember, it’s not just a phone you are selling — its a multi-function personal infotainment device.

7. Looks to die for..

And make it look sexy. Seen the expensive cassette tape decks from the 1980s? We’re talking brushed aluminum uni-body cases; glass, leather back plates, and other exotic rare-earth materials. Alloys. Carbon, magnesium, sapphire glass.

8. It’s the camera that counts, silly

Everyone carries a camera and MP3 player in their pockets these days. It’s in their phone. So make sure the camera is top-notch (read: high on megapixels, great focus, intelligent features). Make sure the phone sounds good too, because we all like music. And for God’s sake, get rid of those cheap, tinny sounding earbuds. Get the sound experts to do your earphones, mate. Harmon/JBL, B&O etc. Apple just did that with Beats Audio.

9. Make it affordable

Keep the price below Rs 20,000.


Did I forget to mention something? Write to me and let me know.




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Brian Pereira
Brian Pereira
Brian Pereira is an Indian journalist and editor based in Mumbai. He founded Digital Creed in 2015. A technology buff, former computer instructor, and software developer, Brian has 29 years of journalism experience (since 1994). Brian is the former Editor of CHIP India, InformationWeek India and CISO Mag. He has served India's leading newspaper groups: The Times of India and The Indian Express. Presently, he serves the Information Security Media Group, as Sr. Director, Editorial. You'll find his most current work on CIO Inc. During his career he wrote (and continues to write) 5000+ technology articles. He conducted more than 450 industry interviews. Brian writes on aviation, drones, cybersecurity, tech startups, cloud, data center, AI/ML/Gen AI, IoT, Blockchain etc. He achieved certifications from the EC-Council (Certified Secure Computer User) and from IBM (Basics of Cloud Computing). Apart from those, he has successfully completed many courses on Content Marketing and Business Writing. He recently achieved a Certificate in Cybersecurity (CC) from the international certification body ISC2. Follow Brian on Twitter (@creed_digital) and LinkedIn. Email Brian at: [email protected]
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