This post was triggered by Mister Mo’s recent review of the Vantium M1 here on Mobility Blog.
I don’t want to seem like a pessimist but I can’t help but wonder why anyone would want to go for a locally made tablet instead of one from an Internationally recognized manufacturer such as Samsung or Sony. The local guys can’t compete with the big boys on pricing because they do not have the economics of scale on their side and most of the time, they do not offer anything different from what you get from the well known manufacturers. So really; why should I buy from them?
The Pliris Mobile guys seem to have found a way of generating a bit of buzz around their product but unfortunately, no matter how loud that might seem to us in the Mobility Blog community, that buzz is more or less limited to us. The average Nigerian consumer electronics buyer out there has no clue who these companies are. The only one of them that seems to have registered a little on the radar of the Nigerian Tech aware audience seems to be the Encipher Inye tablet, largely due to a recent feature on the BBC.
A friend of mine owns a nameless 10 inch Chinese Android tablet running Honeycomb and it runs really well. It has USB on the go, and even mounts my 320gb external harddisk (without a powersource), supports GSM/CDMA USB modems, has WiFi, Bluetooth, very responsive capacitive touchscreen and a not so quality build.
The device was bought for less than $300 quite a while ago. This nameless tablet which is already several months old is still a more compelling buy than the crop of Nigerian Android tabs popping on the scene these days.
Some OEMs differentiate themselves by creating distinctive and recognizable brands (think Samsung Galaxy or Nokia Lumia) and they bolster these brands with ad campaigns on web, print, TV and other media sources.
They also brand the devices using custom themes, etc, all in a bid to associate an emotional response to their devices. If executed properly, these tactics can be used to build lasting brands around otherwise ordinary devices, thereby making them appealing to the buyer, where they otherwise might not have been. Unfortunately, millions of marketing dough is required for these campaigns, money which our indigenous OEMs simply don’t have.
So, in my own possibly myopic corner, I am wondering why one might even bother to produce an indigenous tablet/phone given its limited chance of making any significant splash in the market. Is it that these companies are fundamentally masochistic or do they know something I don’t? Help me out here guys.