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Splitting cells

March 10, 2003

Cell phone manufacturers are placing their bets and crossing their fingers as they use every trick up their sleeves to keep their market from becoming commodified the way the PC market was in the late 80’s with the advent of the PC clone. Countless companies are scrambling to develop and patent new accessory technologies.

Samsung is introducing the “Matrix” phone incorporating the look and feel of the film.

Xelibri is marketing their phones as high fashion accessories.

Nokia subsidiary, Vertu, has yet another angle: an attempt to become the Rolex of cell phones. Vertu launches its ruby-encrusted handsets at fashion shows, not tech conventions, with prices ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 per unit. A special button on the phone connects the user to Vertu’s dedicated concierge service, which can make reservations, buy tickets or find a good doctor or florist in a foreign city.

The question remains whether these brands can successfully create enough of a sense of value in these extra features to keep brand loyalty after increasingly inexpensive and technologically equivalent offerings flood the market.

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