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

Why should I buy a Nigerian mobile device?

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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.

  1. Since your question is why you will want to buy from local brands instead of internationally recognized brands like Samsung and Nokia etc. I will say you mentioned it all and I don’t think there is any incentive really except maybe price but again, the local guys are not doing wonders in this area but to be sincere here, as long as their devices are running viable Operating Systems, I really do not care how viable the individual local manufacturers are or if other Nigerians are buying their products or not, all that matters to me is that the device meets my needs and at a competitive price too, and of course seems durable on first impression. This last bit may turn out to be deceptive in the long run but it will not kill me.

    If for some reasons the manufacturer eventually go under, the application store will always be there for me as I don’t normally buy devices hoping so much for firmware update in the feature. Devices will first have to meet my needs at the point of purchase before talking about the future. Even when devices can be updated, there is also this issue of hardware features that will make hardware update necessary.

  2. it is not only in the mobile arena That the local manufacturer has an uphill battle.

    it applies to almost all manufactured goods. textiles. automobiles. anything.

    the odds are simply stacked too heavily against them.

    generally, even without considering economies of scale. ALL the other factors of production are comparatively simply more expensive than in the more advanced.climes.

    I do not see them making much strides without government encouraging, the way the Korean government was actively supporting the Hyundais and Daewoos of that world.

    i salute these local guys for their courage in the face so many challenges.

  3. If the local manufactures wants to survive, their pricing must be very enticing coupled with device configurations similar or even above their foreign known counterparts. I haven’t seen this so far. Consider the vantium m1 just reviewed by Mr Mo, which is being sold for about NGN50k or thereabout. Not many will rush to buy it at that price. The price of other tablets from known manufactures are just slightly above that. I’d choose the latter anyday because its been there for a while. Low price first, then when we have built our faith in them, further increase in price will not shift us away.

  4. I have nothing against locally manufactured products, in fact I feel a bit sorry for them. Thebusiness environment will always be against locally produced goods because of the cost of production alone in the local environment.

    Having said that, I would be hesitant to buy my phone locally. Unless, like I can do elsewhere, I can see and play with it before choosing to buy. If I’m guaranteed great after-sales service if I have a problem – or can get a hassle free refund.

  5. I once offered to buy a Nigerian tab for a friend. This was the response I got:

    ” If they are so good, why are you using a Samsung Galaxy Tab2? “

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