A marketing angle

Ben F-W openmoko at flemingwilliams.co.uk
Wed Nov 22 22:34:55 CET 2006

Robert Michel wrote:
> 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 ;)
Agreed, definitely: if we get the core functions easy enough to use 
(i.e. at least as easy as current devices), and then find a couple of 
applications that will really excite a non-geek... then there's a strong 
chance of success. I'm not sure we've found all those killer 
applications yet, but the ideas so far have been great.

One point on ease-of-use, by the way... there's currently a large chunk 
of people who only ever plan to buy the brand of phone they're currently 
using. Nokia has a large chunk of these followers, but other companies 
have sizeable portions as well.

The reason these people are wedded to their current manufacturer is the 
differences in interface between the systems. On a Nokia, you press the 
Power button once to select ring style - on most other phones, that 
doesn't work. On a Nokia, the "space" button when typing is the zero - 
on other phones, it's 1, # or a variety of other options. The need to 
learn an entirely new interface is a major 'switching cost' for a lot of 
users, and this is a problem for a market entrant.

Taking account of this, I wonder if it would be possible/useful to be 
able to 'skin' the user interface? Not just in a visual way, but so that 
people could switch their phone from operating like a Nokia to operating 
like a Motorola to a Sony Ericsson to...? So when you get it out of the 
box, you can tell it what interface your last phone had, and all the 
'keys' would operate exactly like you're used to.

I don't know the extent to which patents would prevent this from 
happening... but it might be worth looking in to. Would anyone else find 
this as useful as I would? It certainly wouldn't be a killer app in the 
way we've been discussing... but it could be a very useful hygiene factor.
>> 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
> /etc/asterisk/extensions.conf 
> should be hidden for the normal consumers
Not quite what I was thinking: sorry, I don't think I explained myself 
very well! I was imagining Asterisk to be plugged into the home 
telephone network, rather than being on the Neo itself. Then it could 
interface with the Neo and allow all the blurring-of-landline-and-mobile 
ideas mentioned earlier to be used.

It's a long-term dream, anyway: not immediately useful here.



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