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Stylish Mobile Phones Attract Consumers

Posted April. 08, 2005 23:39,   



According to a report conducted by a U.S.-based research group Gartner, Motorola ranked second in the global mobile phone market, taking up 15.4 percent of the market share in the last (fourth) quarter (from October to December). Nokia, a leading Finland-based mobile phone maker, led the market, while Korean Samsung slipped into third place. Many experts said that Motorola’s climb to second place is owed in large part to its phone named Razor.

Motorola sold more than one million Razors in the last quarter alone. Let alone its excellent performance, the mobile phone maker repositioned itself as one of the leading companies in the European and U.S. markets, repelling doubts over its brand power.

If considering only sales records, Samsung’s SPH-V6900 (so-called the “Blueblack” phone) is ahead of the Razor. Since its debut in Europe last November, the company sold around three million units in only four months. This is a great success for Samsung given that its SGH-E700 (Benz phone) and SGH-T100 (Lee Gun-hee phone), two of its best-selling models, took five and seven months, respectively, to sell more than two million units.

The Mobile Phones Run Neck and Neck In International Awards-

Samsung’s SPH-V6900 received the best product award at the 3GSM World Congress held in Cannes, France, in February. It was told that Samsung’s Blueblack competed with Motorola’s Razor to the last second. Meanwhile, Razor got the “most innovative product award” at the Mobile News Awards 2005 held in London, England, on March 17.

The Power of Design-

Esquire, a world famous fashion magazine, introduced Blueblack in its February edition with the title of “inspiring technology.” It was quite unusual for the fashion magazine to carry a story about handsets. In other words, its style is recognized as one of the best.

Samsung might appeal to costumers by covering its Blueblack model with a bluish black color. With a slide-up design, the size of the mobile phone is small enough to be comfortably grabbed with one’s hand.

Motorola’s Razor is the thinnest model in the world. Its thickness reminds one exactly of a razor. When the flip-style hand phone is opened, a large screen appears. The company could reduce its thickness by incorporating an etched keypad. The model does not have special extra functions except its 0.3m pixel built-in camera at a time when companies boast their 7m pixel built-in camera hand phones. Thanks to its prestigious style, it sells well.

What about the Korean Market?

The hand phone markets in Korea and most advanced countries are already saturated. So far, companies have tried to attract customers with a color screen, built-in camera, and small size, but analysts say they have hit the limit to sell with function-centered strategies. Therefore, style becomes all the more important.

“Every market has different criteria in selecting hand phones,” remarked Deputy Manager Hwang Chang-hwan, a senior designer with the information and telecommunication department of Samsung Electronics.

U.S. costumers prefer practical functions and average styles, while European counterparts are likely to choose stylish products that are also a bit conservative. In terms of design, Korean costumers are more like Europeans.

Korean costumers are tricky. They are sensitive not only to design but also to functions. So, Razors that retail in Korea have an upgraded version with 1m pixel cameras.

“We expect the Razor to be popular among Korean costumers who are style-and function-conscious,” said Cho Ju-yeon, an executive director in the marketing team at Motorola Korea.

Suk-Min Hong smhong@donga.com