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THOUGHT: Does Siemens know their customers?
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 01.05.03 - 21:37:12 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 6330x
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Ouch, I gave this ZDNet UK story a look and it's weird 8O what I had to read there about Siemens' thoughts and strategies and reasons for it. It's about why Microsoft's Smartphones doesn't fits into Siemens product product portfolio.

Here are some quotes from Peter Zapf, president of mobile phones speaking at the Symbian developer conference in London and in addition my comments and thoughts:

"Unlike PCs, which thrive on their use of uniform, interchangeable hardware components, mobile phones must be individualized for particular types of users", Zapf said

Well, nothing new. That's why ringtones and pictures/operator logos was/are so successful when they was introduced by Nokia in 1998.

"What is inside (a handset), such as the kind of microcontroller, is not really an issue for the end user. They want location-based services, or a particular kind of MMI (man-machine interface)... this is how the handsets are differentiated."

In general yes - I can agree.

"This philosophy is far different from that of Microsoft's with its Windows CE-based Smartphone 2002, which gives all Windows-based smartphones the same MMI look and feel, and emphasizes similarity to a PC, with mobile versions of Internet Explorer, Outlook and Word."

So what's the problem with it? Personally I enjoy to take a similar UI with my mobile devices like I used to use on my PC. That's not the big deal.

"There's a big difference compared with a PC, and that is that a PC has never been a personal device. Unlike a phone, you do not carry your laptop around with you everywhere you go. People use their mobile phone not only for business, but for different things in their daily lives."

Come on Mr. Zapf, do you really believe into this? 8O I don't! Yes, maybe when Siemens took over Nixdorf the PC wasn't a personal device but have a look what PCs are used for today: MP3, DVD, photos, games, communication. Just think about the Microsoft Media Center! My PC is my most personal device - at least it stores all my data and I I would lose my PC it would hit me harder then loosing my cell phone. I don't have the out of the box PC configuration anymore, it's my PC and it looks, works and interacts different from the XP profile of my girlfriend!

Just to be honest Mr. Zapf, you seems to be a typical German high-paid manager who have 2 secretaries, 2 assistants and the only PC you see in reality is the one on the desktop of your secretary or your son. ;-)

"Many wireless users are likely to be more familiar with a mobile phone than with a PC. We are targeting today's phone users and bringing them upwards step-by-step to smartphones. We are making things comfortable for them, and not making them go to a Windows machine to download software, or some crazy idea like that."

I can not confirm this! When I worked for O2 Germany users preferred to configure their WAP portal through the PC/Internet combination then doing it on a PC for a good reason: convenience (see my thoughts about this here)! This is a typical fault to see the one or the other technology over the other. The combination is the killer. Sure it is more convenient to buy, download and install a program via the PC, nevertheless you can also do it with a Microsoft Smartphone without using your PC. Just download the CAB file and you are done.
And well, sure is Siemens targeting today's user only - there was never a real innovation in Siemens cell phones. Others already supported SMS when Siemens cell phones was only able to receive it but not to send it. Remember the Siemens S1 - SMS!? Remember the Nokia 1011, SMS send and receive! If you want to wait for the customer, you will never develop a market! I wonder what the Siemens Mobiles business developers think about this.

"I'm not a fan of the killer app. The open platform allows for a range of applications, location services, e-payments, picture messaging, video messaging, movies. It hasn't yet been finalized"

I'm not a fan of the killer app neither. The killer app is personalization only, you are right! But this isn't based on open platforms but on intelligent devices. That why the industry defines devices types not OS types: cell phone, feature phone smart phone. The smart phone, doesn't matter which OS it is using, is the most personalized device. It allows me to install that apps I want to use!

To be honest - and I understand the approach of traditional handset manufactures - you don't want somebody else then yourself to design GUIs, UIs and features of your phone and that's okay. You are developing phones for 10 years or more now and Symbian offers you an underlying OS which allows you to do the MMI by yourself which means a Series 60 based Nokia will looks different from the Series 60 based Siemens phone. The same approach is Vodafone going now with their Vodafone live service, unlikely i-Mode the VF live also affects the GUI and functionalities of the phone.

Microsoft doesn't offer you that flexibility, not with the Smartphone platform but with the Windows CE platform only, right. Different approaches and how successful Microsoft will be with this approach we will see in the future, no question. But it's about politics not about the technology or MMI or something. No, you don't want to get the GUI, UI and features of your phones defined by somebody else outside. The (official) conclusion is the wrong one so please don't tell us something about personalization end user-wise, it's about personalization ODM-wise!

Cheers ~ Arne

Related Links : [ZDNet Article]


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