Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Last Tuesday in my ID2 class, we were talking about cellphones... and one of the comments that was brought up was that when buying cellphones, consumers care more about a cellphone's features than its appearance. Well, I guess it seems pretty much the situation here in America. But in Asia, cellphones (we call them handphones, FYI) are BIG. They are like must-have accesories. That's why new cellphones are being produced every month or so. I once read about the an article about a survey how long Singaporeans would keep their cellphones before changing them for new ones, and the average time was 6 to 7 months..! I thought that pretty amazing - changing cellphones twice a year.

This kind of behaviour is the reason why there are so many crappy phones being produced in Asia. I think Nokia is the champion of making cool-but-most-of-the-times-really-crappy phones (3 years ago, it was..). I guess Nokia chews out new phones every 6 months or so but most of their phones are crappy but, yeah, some of them are really too good to resist. I once read about an article that hypothesizes that when it comes to consumers buying a product, appearance is a stronger factor than features. And it uses the Nokia as one of its examples - how this particular Nokia cellphone has buttons that were a little harder to press but it was popular anyway in Asia because it looked really cool. And it uses some real-life examples,too, like how good-looking people have better chances at jobs, interviews, etc.

I feel that cellphone design in Asia is much more about skin job than making all-rounded good phones. But hey, maybe the making crappy phone feature is one of the marketing/design requirements, huh? I mean, you have to "encourage" the consumers to buy new ones in the coming 6-7 months, right..? Jeez.. Maybe I'm just thinking too far..


Blogger Steve Portigal said...

This is great - it definitely challenged my default assumption - I see all this great stuff when I go to Asia - because of the high demand, the high turnover. I have no passion for my phone and so I've got a really old one. I wish I lived someplace like Asia where the phones are great and change all the time and there's a buzz and so on.

But I've never really looked close at one of those phones or tried to use them, so I guess I got sucked into that same thing - that the phones must be great because there's a lot of energy behind the creation of them. Maybe they aren't well made or well designed or have any ease-of-use.

I guess I had a lot of assumptions about that as the outsider. This is a nice wakeup call for that!

11:54 AM  

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