Sunday, 26 February 2017

Nokia And Blackberry Hoping Old Is The New Black


The Nokia 3310 and Blackberry KeyOne are two phones that arrive in 2017 with an unhealthy dose of 2007 coursing through their veins. Popular as the originals may have been neither device has a place in the modern Parthenon of mobile devices.

Let's start with the 3310, which is a shameless play for the nostalgia vote in emerging markets. It promises few of the virtues of the original - to wit, never ending battery life and virtual indestructibility, lacks smartphone features that even the most basic of users might demand and those it does offer are just too low end.

This is a mobile phone for people who just want to make calls. In pretty much every other respect it offers little. Symbian Series 30 in 2017? That's just ridiculous. 

Customers in emerging markets need value for money devices, not cheap tat. HMD's best potential market for this is hipsters looking for something to add an element of ironic cool to their grab bag.

The Blackberry KeyOne potentially fails for a different reason. Customers have pretty much abandoned the concept of physical keyboards on their phones - even keyboards as clever as that offered by Blackberry, with capacitive touch and multiple shortcut capability.

The KeyOne is a mid-range phone, most likely to appeal to the few business people still using their classic Blackberry devices. However it is packaged with decidedly mid-range specs, a small screen and a limited range of consumer friendly features which suggest a mid-range price.

To everyone except Blackberry. After its last two over-priced flops, you'd think the company would learn. Instead the KeyOne is priced right at the top of the market. Unless retailers are going to be offering steep discounts on the suggested price, stock is going to grow Old on warehouse shelves.

The world has moved on from physical keyboards, the market is too competitive to support overpriced phones and TCL seems to have missed both of these key messages with the KeyOne.

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