Smartphone Market Success in 2012: 10 Essential Factors

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-04-12

Smartphone Market Success in 2012: 10 Essential Factors

Success in the smartphone space has been something a host of vendors have been seeking for years now. Apple, Samsung and perhaps Motorola have been the only firms to actually achieve a semblance of success in the mobile market, and all others have tried to no avail to make their products staples in that space. Unfortunately for all of those firms, success in the smartphone market has proved far more difficult to achieve than previously thought.

But with the recent launch of the Nokia Lumia 900 going so well, perhaps there's hope for vendors that plan to compete in the mobile space this year. Prior to the Lumia 900's launch, Nokia was widely viewed as a company on the decline with no chance of turning things around. But now that the Lumia 900 has shown some early sales strength, some observers are wondering if better times might be ahead for Nokia and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system.

For other vendors, there's something to learn from Nokia, Apple and Samsung as they contemplate the devices they plan to launch in 2012. Simply put, there are several key features that will determine smartphone success this year.

Read on to find out what features will determine smartphone success in 2012:

1. A big display

The days of the 3-inch display are officially dead. Every top smartphone on the market right now, save for the iPhone, comes with a 4-inch screen or bigger. There's even talk of Apple launching the iPhone 5 with a bigger display. Small screens just won't cut it in 2012.

2. Windows Phone 7, perhaps?

There was a time not long ago that Windows Phone 7 was considered the operating system that no one wanted. Now, though, it's an operating system that, based on the Lumia 900's success, might be worth including in a device. Perhaps vendors should consider deploying Windows Phone 7, after all.

3. The latest Android flavor

Android is another one of those platforms that vendors can successfully use. Companies like Samsung and Motorola are proof of that. However, smartphones can't be running outdated Android flavors. Outdated Android versions are not as secure, lack features and tend to turn customers away. This year, vendors must deliver Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), or they'll be left out in the cold.

4. The proper design

Design matters greatly in today's mobile marketplace. Devices that lack a solid design tend to languish on store shelves, while products with stellar designs, like the iPhone 4S, sell fast. Companies that want to be successful in the mobile space this year must offer up great designs, or they'll fall short.

In Todays Market 4G Connectivity Is Essential


5. Marketing hype

As Apple has proved time and again in today's mobile market, hype matters. If a product excites customers before it launches, its chances of succeeding will be much greater than if the rumors surrounding it are being ignored by consumers. Do not underestimate the power of hype in today's mobile space.

6. Remember that the brand matters

It's no wonder Apple and Samsung are doing well in the mobile space, and companies like Sony are falling short. In today's mobile market, branding matters greatly. Companies that have brands that carry weight and impress customers are far more likely to have their products succeed than those with subpar brands. Every vendor must realize that to be successful in 2012, they must first work on their brands.

7. An international view on things

Although Nokia isn't always viewed as a top player in the mobile market, it performs quite well internationally. In fact, Nokia is dominant in emerging markets around the world, where people might not want to invest in an expensive iPhone. With that in mind, perhaps companies should consider international options. The United States and China might be the big fish, but being a top player elsewhere around the world isn't such a bad thing.

8. Warm up to carriers

The Nokia Lumia 900 launch proved that carriers really don't want to play nice with Apple if they don't have to. AT&T spent, and will continue to spend, a boatload of cash promoting the Lumia 900 so it can limit Apple's control over the mobile space. This year, vendors trying to make a mark should build a high-end device and warm up to carriers€”they might just find trustworthy partners.

9. Price, price, price

Never underestimate the value of finding the right price point. The Lumia 900 became so successful in its early days because of its value. The device comes with a host of features consumers are looking for, including a big display and 4G LTE, and only costs $99.99 with a two-year contract. Controlling price and keeping devices cheaper than the iPhone are integral to 2012 sales success.

10. No 4G? No sales

When Apple launches the iPhone 5 later this year, it's a near-guarantee that the device will come with 4G LTE connectivity. After all, the new iPad supports the technology and all of today's non-iPhone top sellers do, as well. Any product that lacks 4G LTE connectivity this year is destined for failure.

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