People standing in lines for long hours and queues spilling in to the parking lots is a common sight for Apple’s product launches like iPhone and iPad. That kind of successful product launches, are thought to be only achieved by companies like Apple. For long that stood true too. 2011 changed that. A product launch has seen such tremendous response, outside US. This time it is not for any Apple product but from a Chinese mobile maker called Meizu.
People started to queue up outside Meizu’s retail office since early in the morning to get their Meizu M9, an Android phone. Meizu M9, borrows its hardware specs, including looks, from Apple’s iPhone. On top of the borrowed yet scintillating hardware design, it has added the Android operating system to make it even more attractive. The phone itself is no less competitor to iPhone. It has 1 GHz processor, 5 megapixel camera, Android Froyo and slew of other things for a cost of $379. That’s a steal. Given a choice, even if iPhone is sold for the same price, people would pick Meizu M9.
The phenomenal success of Meizu M9 is achieved by mere copying of a popular product and adding a uber-popular mobile operating system. It doesn’t take much does it. We have to call it a success because it is. In spite of the copying or the rip-off, as some would call it, Meizu has kept its bankers busy. It is not as if, all the companies launching phones have original designs.
If we trace the path of the product launches, Apple iPhone is designed in the US, manufactured in China and probably assembled in Mexico (or China). In case of Meizu M9, it was designed in China ( I guess) and manufactured in China (I am sure). If we take the example of Micromax, its phones are designed in China and Manufactured in China. Micromax is given 40-60% of the base phone design by the vendors and Micromax adds additional features like dual SIM, mosquito repellants, razors and what not. That’s good and has served well so far, turning Micromax in to a billion dollar company. Other companies like Spice, Videocon, Karbonn, I assume, follow the same routine. May be the time has come for the Indian companies to start thinking about designing (100%) compelling products for which people will queue up. They have a good example in Meizu. Copy an existing product and make it interesting (not mosquito repellants or rat poison) by adding some additional features. See if that works.
India is not all without its designs. Notion Ink has just proved that its tablet Adam is a global product. Global media (popular blogs) have had mixed opinions and no one has denied that Adam is a good product. It just happens to be one year late and right in the middle of a blizzard called Motorola Xoom. This is what is required more of from India. Designs should come out of India. Not just for tablets but for mobiles too.
If the companies don’t need original designs to launch successful products, what’s stopping Indian manufacturers from launching compelling products, albeit iPhone clones, like Meizu M9?