The cellphone boom is in full swing as we enter the second month of the new year. There have been several phones announced that hold some very impressive specifications, all made by a slew of different manufacturers. With several emerging companies bringing what seem to be very respectable phones to the market, will they have a chance? Or will people stick to what they know and buy from a manufacturer they feel comfortable with?
I know in the PC market – let's be honest, the cellphone market is growing to be more like the PC market every day – people tend to have “their brand” that they always buy. It goes far beyond “I'm a Mac” or “I'm a PC.” When I used to work at Best Buy, I would always hear customers say, “I always buy [insert PC manufacturer here].” By nature, we don't like to take risks; buying from a company that is new to a specific market can be perceived as just that. You can even relate it to buying a car from a newer manufacturer. Making a commitment with something you're not fully trusting of can be a hard thing to do.
From my own experience (mainly before I got into this business, but still true to this day), I tend to stick with one manufacturer over others and I can't exactly say why. For my personal phones I typically buy HTC. I have bought Motorola devices and had a Samsung or two (I fought really hard not to buy a Nexus S), but it never fails. Whether it be Sense UI, the primarily metal chassis, or even the feel of the phone in my hand, I always find myself going back to HTC.
Companies like LG, Sony Ericsson, and ZTE aren't new to the cellphone gig, just to the smartphone portion of the market, specifically Android. Android's Law has allowed for these newer companies to focus more on the hardware and build of their phones. But it doesn't take from the fact they they are still uncharted territory for most customers. How will the Optimus 2X last? Will the Xperia Arc hold a candle to its Android counterparts? It's really hard to for anyone to say.
Their reputations in the smartphone realm are seemingly nonexistent, as opposed to some more familiar companies. HTC has built some of the best smartphones around for several years. Motorola created the OG Droid, Droid X, and Droid 2; all of which were fairly popular. And Samsung has had some smartphone success of its own with its Galaxy S line and the Nexus S. These newcomers aren't doomed from the start, but their success will require more than building one decent piece of hardware. It will not be an overnight process either. Releasing and selling a phone is only half of the battle. Maintaining support for released devices is proving to be a make or break for a company's success these days.
I have heard some good things from colleagues about a few phones from lesser known companies. But that doesn't make me any less hesitant to go slap $500 down for one, or to sign a two year contract. So I ask, will you be buying a phone from LG, Sony Ericsson, or Dell? Or will you stick to common ground with HTC, Samsung, or Motorola? Let us know in the poll and comments below.