I was going through Mobility Nigeria’s Twitter mentions earlier today and came across the following tweet:
ifeoluwadebo Adebowale Ojo
I think @mobilitynigeria team reports more on Symbian than other mobile platforms. #justnoticed
I consider this a very valid observation. It does look like that, and I will present clear answers to why that is so. But for starters, I must reiterate that this site is totally independent of any brand or platform. We cover all mobile brands and platforms that are officially supported in the country.
Symbian is a Nokia product, so please bear this in mind because I will mention Nokia in this article and make almost no mention of Symbian. For now, Nokia is synonymous with Symbian.
If you are wondering why Mobility Nigeria (and indeed almost every other tech news site in the country) has a greater focus on Nokia, it is because Nokia is more visible and engaging than any of the other brands. As a matter of fact, Nokia has been more visible and engaging than all the other brands put together.
- Nokia was the very first mobile brand to setup customer care centres in Nigeria, and match these with a warranty service
- At mobile and tech events in the country, Nokia has been deliberate in being involved. Nokia was a sponsor at Mobile Web West Africa, and their senior personnel were present (RIM and Samsung were there too). Nokia managers were present at BarCamp Lagos this year. They were also present at the inaugural Mobile Monday meeting – and as active sponsors too.
- Nokia have been consistent in sending us press materials for publishing on Mobility Nigeria. RIM have sent in a few too, but they are not quite there yet. We have made contact with Samsung management, but till date they have not gotten back to us yet. Why should it be difficult for brands to get their news out where everyone can access it?
- I wrote an article early last year requesting that manufacturers send us review units on loan, so that we can review their devices and publish. Till date, only Nokia have responded and sent us any devices. We are not asking that anyone give out phones for free. Loan phones for review is all we ask for. I have personally decided to stop spending money on buying phones for reviews. It is an expensive exercise that I undertook for years – 59 mobile phones at the last count. I did it while I considered it expedient. It is fair to expect that if a brand is serious about visibility, they should invest in it and not have someone else pay for it.
- Nokia has been investing heavilly in supporting developers with tools and training. yes; Samsung held a developers’ competition last year, but they haven’t been as engaging as Nokia has been.
In all, it is easy to see why Nokia has so much visibility in the Nigerian mobile space, and hence on a site like Mobility Nigeria. Too easy.
The $2m Question
The $2m question is, Why are the other mobile brands not engaging more?
For example, it is not that sending out press releases by email costs an arm and a leg. Our general reviews are also free (we also offer sponsored reviews, which is a different kettle of fish), so if a brand sends us a phone to review over a period of two (2) weeks, it is at almost no cost to them.
While Android does not have Google’s official support in Nigeria, we have a number of local (and global) brands who are pushing Android devices. Because they support their devices, we have been actively canvassing for them.
But note too that though we have asked local brands to send in loan devices for reviews, press releases and the like, till date, not one of them have done so. How difficult is it to send out press releases via email? Is it unfair to ask that they provide a unit of their choice devices on loan for review?
In the same vein, we have asked local developers to send news of their works so that we can give them coverage. Only one developer has done so till date. One.
What conclusions? I’ll leave the conclusions and comments to our readers. Judge for yourselves. In the meantime, the doors of Mobility Nigeria remain open.