Wednesday, April 05, 2006

It's a RAZR World

PC Magazine looks at the long-lasting success of the Motorola RAZR. Miro Kazakoff at Compete said, "Bafflingly enough, the hottest, most popular phone of 2005 is a phone from 2004, the RAZR V3. The big thing we saw [in 2005] was this triumph of form over features."

According to Telephia, the "RAZR grabbed 6.2% of U.S. phone sales in the fourth quarter of 2005, almost double the share of the next-most-popular handset."

Beyond the RAZR, Complete's Kazakoff pointed out "other good-looking, feature-laden phones like the slender, bar-style Motorola SLVR L7 and Samsung's slim clamshell MM-A900 have been grabbing consumers' eyes, though not quite to the RAZR's extent." He said, "The SLVR has been very successful … [but] there is a mystique that the RAZR has captured that no other phone has been able to."

Following the RAZR in Telephia's figures are"the Nokia 6102/6101, at 3.3%; the Samsung SGH-X495/497, at 2.9%, and the LG VX5200, at 2.7% of sales. All of those phones are clamshell cameraphones, offered at prices ranging from free with service to around $100."

Kazakoff noted that "about 75% of consumers that Compete surveyed this January who bought handsets in the previous six months paid less than $100 for their phones. More than 25% picked up free phones. He pointed out the Motorola V180, LG VX6100, and Samsung VI660 as popular phones in 2005.

He said, "For all the hype, consumers keep coming back to basic clamshell phones. People were willing to pay a premium for cool form factors. There was less excitement around new features and new things the device can do."

Telephia's numbers also "showed a key difference between U.S. and European consumers. While the RAZR also led sales in Europe, the powerful Samsung SGH-D600, Sony Ericsson K750, Nokia N70, Nokia 6630, and Nokia 6680 all showed up on Telephia's European list of most popular phones. The first two are 2-megapixel cameraphones; the other three are smartphones running the Symbian operating system, which is popular in Europe but not in the U.S."

In the U.S., few consumers went for smartphones with Windows Mobile leading the pack. Complete attributed this not to any preference for the OS, "rather, it's because of the flood of attractive Windows Mobile handsets that have been hitting the market. Even with the T-Mobile MDA and SDA, Cingular 2125 and 8125, and Palm Treo 700 all appearing on shelves, Windows Mobile only managed to grab slightly more than 4% of consumers' interest."

Kazakoff said, "We still don't see shoppers expressing much preference for a specific brand of operating system. Consumers respond much more to who made the phone and how it looks and feels."