Sony Ericsson Pli, not a Blackberry
It is not just another smartphone, but a sleek and very portable business phone that allows business executives to accomplish any task while away from all the equipment in their offices with ease, Mr. Emeka Nkpa, National Accounts Manager, Sony Ericsson, Nigeria said last week at the launch of Sony Ericsson P1i in Lagos. In this interview with OLUWASEUN AYANTOKUN, he further speaks on why his company introduced the mobile device at this point in time, the edge it has over competitions in the market and other related issues. Excerpts.
SONNy Ericsson P1i just launched in Nigeria could be said to be another wonder from your company but one is just arriving when many other brands are here already?
Thank you. We want to say it is not about being the first, but about being the best. It is not only putting a product in the market unless you are sure the product is going to be the best. Now, the P1 has not come late. If you remember, less than a year ago, we were talking about the P990. You were there, only you were a witness to the fact that the P990 last year won the smart Mobile Phone of the year.
Obviously if after a year we are improving on what we already had last year, then critically looking at it, it is not coming late. Well, there could have been, like you said, one or two other products in the market at the moment, the first thing you look out for is: what are the features of these phones? What are those things that are peculiar to this our new P1i that make it what it is? What segment of the market is this phone targeting? And that segment it is targeting, at what particular point in time are you introducing it? Do you want to introduce it at a time it is going to fully meet the needs of those target market segment? Or do you want to introduce it just to say we are the first in this, we are the first in that? And like I said to you, it is absolutely critical not about being the first to introduce but being the first to introduce, the best ever. And we think we will continuously give the best.
There is this belief out there about the Blackberry being a business phone, and you are bringing this. What edge does your P1i have?
Well, I wouldnít want to go into what you call comparison, especially with a product like this, but what we would say is that if you critically look what we have put into this phone: it has 3.2 mega pixels digital camera, it has got a music file that enables you actually listen to good music; it is sleek in terms of design, it is not cumbersome to carry around; has a very good phone platform; then itís got the dual key pap (QINERTY) that enhances easier and faster e-messaging and typing. It also has a feature to watch a movie on your memory card in the phone. It can see and appropriately save up business cards with ease. So, when you look at all these feature as and many others, you see it is both a business and entertainment tool. So, when you consider the fact that this actually enables you to enjoy this device, then you can agree with me that it has a lot of advantages over competitions.
One outstanding feature of this phone you just mentioned is its ability to scan and save appropriately with ease. What actually prompted Sony Ericsson into incorporating this?
Well, like I said, it is all about asking people what they need. It is like if you own this phone (shows a phone in his hand), and we come to you and say, you have this phone, we think this phone is really good, what do you require again. It is research-based success, it is all about what the consumers want. We find out what they want from us and their further expectations from us. And once we are able to define that, and we have it, then we go ahead and meet the need(s). That, for us, prompted us into producing this phone.
There is the rumour in some quarters that it is difficult to do M-banking with some of your products outside there. Wasnít that part of the process resulting in Sony Ericsson P1i?
That canít be true. M-banking is Internet-based. It has nothing to do with the phone. So, if somebody has our phone and you have internet service already activated on your phone, then you can view your bank accounts and do other things you want to do there. It has nothing to do with the phone. Once the phone has Internet capability, and you are able to surf the net, just as you can do on the laptop only if it is connected to the Internet, you can do it. But if you havenít got the internet you canít do it.
How well do you think this phone is really going to impact on the business sector in Nigeria in competition with other brands?
Well, we think it is going to put us where we always want to be; ahead of the pack.
Sonny Ericsson is not new in this market. And in terms of corporate social responsibility, you have been doing things like the music talents hunt you had this year. But a woman just complained that Nigeria, a big market for that matter, is not visible on your website which may mean you are not that present here. How do you react to that?
The simple thing is that what the woman talked about is, you see, we have regions. If you look at the regions, youíll see we have South Africa, this is not South Africa as a country but as region to which we belong. So, we canít put countries because we operate in so many countries all over the globe. So, just like you would say, Middle East and Africa (MEA), it is a region. You have Western Europe, it is a region; then you have Southern Africa, it is a region. And the Southern African region covers the West and the Southern part of Africa.
So, it is a simple process, just a matter of nomenclature, as commonly said. There is no way, if you put Nigeria, for instance, you will need to put Ghana, then you will need to put Cameroon, then you will need to put South Africa, then you will need to put Malawi, then you will need to put all the countries in Africa, you canít do that on the internet. So, you sectionalise it, according to regions. Youíve got North Africa. When she said, she saw North Africa, North Africa is not a country: Egypt, Morocco belong to North Africa. Then she saw South Africa: this is not a country but a region to which we belong. So, it is important for this thing to be understood, because South Africa is a country does not mean it represents the Southern part of Africa. We belong to a region which is seen as the Southern African market, and Nigeria is represented in that region. And that region is there on the internet.
Finally, what do you say to your customers about P1i?
Well, my message is enjoy and have fun on it. Basically, we are trying to make life easier for them, we are trying to put them in touch with their businesses even while they are away from the office. We just want them to be able to do, just anything they would like to do in their offices anywhere, anytime without labour or a tedious process. And that is what Sonny Ericsson P1i delivers. So, Iíd like to say to them, enjoy it.