Co-written with Dominik Strohmeier
This past spring, we interviewed 17 feature phone or newbie smart phone users in Poland and Hungary (prior to launch). Most of these users had been exposed to smart phones through their friends or at electronic stores. Many were aware about brands and models and each user had an idea of which phone he/she wanted to have. However, the common theme across all people that surprised us was:
This means that no matter the type of phone (smart or feature), the phone should mold to them, rather than them needing to mold to it. Participants are not always looking for the latest and greatest. They are aware that these phones are out there, but it’s not what they are looking for. They want a phone which fulfills their basic needs – and these needs differ for each user. So, for Firefox OS phones, there won’t be just one list of features which will satisfy them all. Rather we need to learn how our phones can provide compelling features to adapt to their specific needs.
More specifically, we identified three categories of needs from the main theme to describe what their phone is about in their lives.
1. My phone is mainly about Status
“So many people are praising it that it’s such a good phone, and that it’s the best of all, so I’m like if so many people are happy with it then there must be some truth about it.” [Hungarian participant]
For these users, their phone is about showing success and good taste. Being heavily swayed by marketing, brands, and peers, their phone would be modern and likely be more expensive. Here is what they need:
Thinking about what we can offer them through our Firefox OS phones is:
- Camera + Social Networking Integration
- High quality hardware and accessories
- Cloud Services
- Discovery Engine for Content
2. My phone is mainly about Utility
“The purpose of a phone is to make phone calls.” [Polish participant]
Another needs group is mainly interested in practical and affordable phones. Brands and advertisement don’t influence them much. For them, having older, but long-lasting technology is okay. Sometimes, they don’t trust the technological progress.
Offering them a phone which will seamlessly integrate into their life, here is what it must provide:
- Basic, Reliable OS Functions
- Brand Trust
- Security Solutions
- Low Hardware Cost
- Plan Flexibility Based on Life Events
3. My phone is mainly about Relationships
“If I’m out with my friends, we have a rule that everyone puts the phones on the table and whoever touches the phone first, pays for the next drink.” [Hungarian participant]
These users are not interested in being tech-savvy. They want to have a phone which easily fits in their life and does not require a huge “step up”. However, they are open to new, untested technology. Their choice of phone is mainly based on enjoyment.
What we need to offer these users are co-experience opportunities:
- Social Networks that help me deepen my relationships
- High quality camera and flash
- Options for Hardware and Software Personalization
- Apps and Content that Cross Devices
- Content that Crosses Apps
As different these groups are, they all share an additional set of common, universal needs which we think will offer a basic opportunity for each of them. Before considering where to focus, this set of needs must be addressed by basic features so that users will consider Firefox OS phones as the phone in their life:
Beyond these common needs, we think that Firefox OS has the potential to answer needs for all of the three groups and provide appealing mobile devices for them that they can integrate into their life. But, do we, as Mozilla, want to provide a solution for every user? Stay tuned…