When Vodafone acquired J-Phone a few years ago, they inherited a not too comfortable market: kids. au/KDDI
is supposed to be the operator for the young cool adults, NTT DoCoMo
covers Everyone in general, and with the Foma high end stuff they reach the rich young adults as well as the geeks, tu-ka (KDDI)
is after the older people
who don’t care about digital cameras or java games, and J-Phone/Vodafone is supposedly the phone for the kid who likes to show off with silly games, gadgets, useless accessories, but doesn’t have as much money to buy high end stuff as the au or the Foma crowd. This is a generalization of course, but it becomes obvious when you watch the ads and the features of the phones.
Vodafone spent who knows how much for their big tv/billboards campaigns featuring David Beckham and Nakata Hidetoshi (probably the most famous soccer player in Japan), and they forgot that they were by far not the leader in Japan, and that their consumer base needs cool stuff ALL THE TIME. If they asked me, I would have explained that to them, but they didn’t. Instead, they kept releasing one phone every now and then (6 months or so) when au and DoCoMo were introducing lots and lots of new cool features and loads of new phones all the time, stealing away their customers, one at a time. Well, they should have asked me but hey…
All this to say Vodafone is finally waking up it seems. They haven’t released any new revolutionary thing technologically speaking, but the creatives there have finally started thinking of original ideas that might make young and bored people buy Vodafone. I say it’s about time we see things like this one, dressed like a little red devil! They have just announced the V501T (Toshiba), which comes in a choice of 12 “costumes” (Polygon, Soda, Tile, Bull, Tire, Cheese, Sucker(!), Lawn, Gummi, Wave, Mermaid, and Dinosaur Egg).
Now, who cares about the specs when your phone looks like that? If you really need them, I suggest you read the press release.
They also introduced the Vodafone V501SH (Sharp) which can also be customized with “texture panels”, which are supposed to change the tactile feel of the phone itself. Not as cool but a noticeable effort to follow the success wave of Foma’s P901i covers that are ubiquitous and have been for a while now. Below is the type of displays you find all over the place in Tokyo. One would have expected that Vodafone come up with it first, as it is pretty common in a Nokia world, but quite unusual in Japan, but again DoCoMo did it first. Let’s see how this one goes.