Why? Because the Nokia Communicator was one of the very first converged smartphones in the market - a wide screen, comfortably spaced QWERTY keyboard, sms, fax, connectivity to the internet, black and white to color in a solid clamshell build ... from the Nokia 9000 in 1996 to the Nokia E90 in 2007, a new Communicator arrived every 3 years. And the Nokia Communicator certainly caught the hearts of a number of loyal fans and communities in Southeast Asia.
I remember fondly of being part of the launch of the Nokia 9500 Communicator in Southeast Asia (a touch of nostalgia for fans of the Communicator with the attached Nokia 9500 product video), and particularly the Indonesia go-to-market experience.
During the 2004 launch of the Nokia 9500 Communicator in Indonesia, consumers were lining up since 4am in the morning. Here is a photo of crowd I took on the day of launch. A steady flow of people streamed in continuously in long lines, some with babies in hand and a thick wad of cash in the other for the converted smartphone!
3 things which drew the Southeast Asia fans to the Nokia Communicator:
One of the very first converged smartphones in the market, the Nokia Communicator belonged to a league of its own class. Those who owned a Communicator felt that they had achieved a key milestone in life. Both the men and the ladies - businessmen, celebrities, I spoke to in Indonesia (and other markets) would attest to that. Status is a very key driving factor for Southeast Asia (and the larger Asia) consumers. And the Nokia Communicator grew a strong and loyal following in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
(2) Communication Options
The Nokia Communicator had sms, fax, internet connectivity and email as part of its rich communication options and further complemented by a wide screen and a well-spaced QWERTY keyboard. Businessmen used the Communicator to keep in touch with their personal and business networks with the flexible communication options.
Asian consumers have a very large number of contacts. I remember talking to many businessmen and government officials in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, who literally owned a filofax of thousands of contacts in their Nokia Communicators! Just look at the photo I captured below of a consumer (notice the intense look) who was transferring the contacts, sms messages from his previous Nokia Communcator to his new Nokia 9500 Communicator.
Key productivity use cases of the Nokia Communicator:
- Festive sms greetings could be prescheduled to their networks.
- Business agreements conducted and captured over long sms threads.