A marketing angle

Robert Michel openmoko at robertmichel.de
Wed Nov 22 02:25:43 CET 2006

Salve Ben!

just as a remark - I'm just a student, loving the OpenMoko/Neo1973

On Tue, 21 Nov 2006, Ben F-W wrote:
> I agree that it's likely to become very popular with a limited market: 
> the developers. What I was trying to decide in my email was whether that 
> would be enough to guarantee future investment in the platform by FIC - 

Of course there will be no guarantee - but see again the slides of Sean
presentation - or think how a mainboard and Laptop producer (FIC) could
start with a business where the first companies give up (Siemens).
Of course not with the traditional concepts...

> and if not, how likely the product was to make it to a larger market. 
> Over time, of course, the developers are likely to make interesting 
> enough applications to attract the larger market automatically. However, 
> when developers are scratching a personal itch (as many of these will 
> be) the initial result tends not to be easy enough to use for the mass 
> market.

Right, with vim, mutt and elinks; together with a touchscreen or
external keyboard, we would not reach a mass market :)
Just being so good as other phones (but with ogg/vorbis audio support)
will be no help, as well.
But when we concentrate on the core functions, to make them very
usable - and add some new/fresh ideas like 
 8 ways to answer a phone (now, mailbox "sorry I'm busy call me in 15 
 minutes again)
then will become the OpenMoko plattform interesting for the mass market
and of course for FIC, too ;)

Your point is very important to understood who will be the regular
buyer beside developers...
and what will be the core functions for this people.
- phoning
- organizer
- email
- entertainment (audio, video?)
- navigation
- mobil office
- special software

   To build an instrument with two pianorows on both screen side to be
   able to play syntie "on the road" creating midi files, use them to
   have a note layout and print this notes....
   will be nice, but will not help to create a mass market
   - so excuse my many ideas, especialy what would be possible with...

So a good question would be
- What does I dislike with my mobile most
- What does the the Neo GSM/GPRS+AGPS make possible
  that I can't do with a close source phone, nor with a Linux PDA?

This could be accu management or call managment....

One silly thing of the Siemens phones... you can programm a date/time
to switch of the phone automaticaly but not to switch on.
Imagine you had to work in a nightshift. You want to sleep till 15h,
must be reachable after 13h so what will you do? Switch of the phone?
Or use a alarm clock at 13h switch it on manualy and sleep further?
Every phone on the market does have some stupid restriction like that.

Do you know any phone with an answering machine on it with the chance
that the caller could use a calling meneu?

IMHO just making phoning function better have a great potential :)

> >well. And then it could be sold like a PDA, a Linux distribution, or
> >any other PC.
> >  
> You're right that over time, of course, the developers are likely to 
> make interesting enough applications to attract the larger market 
> automatically.

Beleave it or not, my greatest motivation are to make the phoning
functions better ;) 

> However, when developers are scratching a personal itch 
> (as many of these will be) the initial result tends not to be easy 
> enough to use for the mass market. 

Good warning - no that wouldn't be good

> Perhaps one route to mass market would be the home interface setup - 
> which seems to be what the majority of suggestions have centred around 
> on this list. If Asterisk could be made simple enough to package into a 
> 'black box' that consumers don't have to configure (in the same way 
> MythTV is beginning to be), 
yes ;) asterisk cold be in the background, but its
should be hidden for the normal consumers

> >Today, it could be less book more video tutorial, but for the mass
> >market documentation would be *very* usefull, to educate the customers
> >to use the power of the smartphone....
> >And make it easy with softwaresolutions *and* documention to understand,
> >how it works and how they could use it.
> >  
> Can you give an example of a complicated product that has managed to 
> reach the mass market by including a video tutorial? 

I can imagine that video tutorials are populare in the USA - not?
I don't know but paper is expensive to print and to keep it up to date,
a pdf on a cd-rom is not so handy and the Neo1973 should be usable
without the help of internet or a PC.
Reading ebooks could be unmotivating - so when there are some videoclips
as tutorial on the device, the people could become familar with the
device and it's software.

For someone who never used AGPS or GPRS yet could it realy helpfull when
an animation with a speaker explains what AGPS is and how it works.
These clips mustn't be long but just showing how the systems could be
used could realy help.
And for realy unexperianced people we should also have some help and
documentation what e.g SMTP is.

Because of this - that not so many people knows about SMTP,
Blackberry is very populare.
And because people didn't know what the internet is, compuserve
and AOL have been populare.

Of coures softeware should be as simple as possible and as
much as possible selfexplaining. 

But in my eyes OpenMoko/Neo1973 should be usable for everybody,
even for somebody never used a PC, a PDA nor a mobile before
and on the other hand, it should be open like Debian :)

> I'm not sure the 
> average phone user has the inclination to even watch the video, let 
> alone set their new product up in accordance with its instructions.

The video/animation could be on the phone ;)

> >Would you agree to concentrate first on building a developer community
> >and think about "how to promote" the Neo1973 to the mass market, a
> >little bit later? 
> >  
> I think both efforts need to happen in parallel. Yes, the developer 
> community definitely needs to be mobilised and enthused about this 
> (Sean's done a great job on this already) 
yes he did!

> and your later suggestion 
> about collecting together information on AGPS, programming etc is a good 
> one. But the developers also need to be pointed in the right direction, 
> and I think now is the time to try and work out what direction that 
> might be. One emphasis, certainly, should be simplicity: people are so 
> used to their phones being simple that a move towards more complex 
> options would be more likely to scare than attract (although Gabriel's 
> email suggests a way around this). Reliability, too, is vital: "what 
> happens if I can't make an emergency call any more?". There, of course, 
> Linux has several advantages.

What will be the function to switch fast to the calling menue 
at every moment?

> Does anyone have other suggested emphases? Then we can start narrowing 
> down possible applications!

- adressbook
- calling function
- calender
- memo
- todo
- book keeping

Thank you for you constructive mail,

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