/// As Smartphones Go Mainstream, the Industry Works to Make Them Mom-and-Pop Friendly

June 20, 2011  |  All Things Digital

Once the purview of corporate road warriors and hard-core geeks, the smartphone is now the device of choice for the majority of phone buyers who are due for an upgrade. As a result, carriers around the world are shifting their approach in how they develop, market and sell the devices. The early period of the smartphone is probably typified by Verizon’s successful Droid campaign, which focused heavily on the technical muscle of the device. Although that campaign continues, today’s carriers are at least as concerned with how to make smartphones appear easy and approachable to those moving up from feature phones. At France Telecom, which sells phones in dozens of countries worldwide, 45 percent of all devices sold last year were smartphones, prompting the company to create a bunch of new services aimed at making the transition easier. A quarter of its customers sign up for at least one of the Orange Care services, which range from backing up contacts to call-in support. The company is also setting up a “get started with smartphone” service that it expects to have up and running in 13 countries by the end of this month. In 300 of its stores, Orange plans to set up “Care Corners” dedicated to offering paid-for specialist support, especially help getting started. “We want to democratize the smartphone,” said Olaf Swantee, senior executive vice president for France Telecom’s Orange unit. Here in the U.S., carriers and device makers are also tweaking their pitch. Sprint, for example, has focused on a set of Sprint ID packs that allow Android newbies to get up and running with a collection of apps and widgets that match their interests. The concept was first introduced at the CTIA show in 2010 with partners such as Disney, MTV and ESPN. Since then, the carrier has continued to roll out new themed collections, including a NASCAR pack, a “green” pack to go along with its first eco-centric Android device and a Relay ID pack aimed at the hearing-impaired community

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As Smartphones Go Mainstream, the Industry Works to Make Them Mom-and-Pop Friendly

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