It seems many phone manufacturers are feeling a lack of love. Everyone is focusing on iPhone this or Android that. Phone manufacturers who once dominated the market are desperate to claw back market share and some much needed consumer affection. Rather than sell based on their great inventory of apps (that are severely lacking), brands are trying to convince consumers based on other features and functions.

Recently I’ve seen ads from Motorola for their new Droid Razr Maxxx model, which claims to have the longest talk time battery life of any 4G smartphone. Now Nokia is trying the similar strategy with their new Nokia 808 Pureview Model with an awesome camera. But is selling based on such niche features enough? I feel like a total ecosystem of hardware and software is needed to convince sophisticated consumers who know how seamless and useful, iPhone and Android is already.

The 808 Pureview will start shipping this month and is the first smartphone to feature Nokia’s award winning PureView technology. In simple terms, the technology makes taking photos and videos extremely professional using a 41 megapixel sensor, Carl Zeiss optics plus some nerdy Nokia algorithms. The result is the ability to zoom in without any loss of clarity, which often happens with many other smartphone cameras. It also includes HD 1080p video recording.

For their breakthrough technology they have been awarded the Best Mobile Device at the Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona as well as the Best Imaging Innovation for 2012 from the Technical Image Press Association, according to Engadget.

Despite having the best in class camera on a smartphone, does this matter to consumers? When I was at a Mobile Monday Beijing event, a representative was there showing off the Pureview 808. Of course she said that Nokia is pushing the boundaries of imaging technology and said that it could make digital cameras irrelevant. But many of the Chinese audience didn’t see it the same way. Some argued, ‘if I wanted a good camera, I would buy a digital camera’ or ‘if you have such a good camera on the phone, does it come with a printer?’. Yes it is true, if a smartphone had a superior camera, it will make taking pictures more convenient because there is no need to carry two devices. But is this enough for people to ditch their Android or iPhone? For the picture taking junkies, maybe, but for the general market, I don’t think so.

As I mentioned above, I believe the reason Android and iOS are so far in front, is because they whole system and relationship between hardware and software is so well connected. It just makes using them easier. Arguably, other manufacturers like Motorola or Nokia have realized they are so far behind that they are giving up on fighting this battle, so instead focusing on niche features like battery life or camera quality. But to really stage a comeback, I believe these following brands should fight the big battle and focus on ecosystem, not features.

Jason Lim

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.

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  1. I agree with you that an ecosystem is really important for phone manufacturers. but considering that apple and android already have such a formidable position in the app market with millions of apps available for apple and android users, it is hard for other phone manufacturers to break into it. What can they do? Rely on innovative features to sell their phones. Another thing is that users are the basis of the ecosystem. Without a huge user base, the app market would have been so thriving. for Nokia and other phone makers, maybe they should take it step-by-step. Build on their user base first with all those innovative features. When app developers see so many people using Nokia, they will come in to exploit the market and develop apps for windows.

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