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Interview with Jack Lu (Gigabyte)
We sat down with Gigabyte’s Associate Marcom Manager Jack Lu to talk about the plans and intentions of the company’s mobile division.
Gigabyte Communications focuses mainly on mobile devices, specifically PDA phones, and is 100% owned by the Gigabyte Group. The company began its way with feature phones and smartphones but now concerns itself only with PDA phones. Gigabyte Communications came up with the first PDA phone supporting analog TV, so the users could watch TV broadcasts in just about any place in the world, since it handled PAL, NTSC, SECAM. The company also proposes some specific functions, like those that allow the user to talk with ambient sounds in the background, so people on the other end get the idea that he is in some specific environment. Also, Gigabyte’s products record messages people leave on the user’s answering machine, so he doesn’t have to use carrier’s service to play back these messages. These are the functions the company has been implementing, and intends to focus on them in the future.
MR: What is the top-priority field for Gigabyte: communicators, smartphones or, maybe, feature phones?
GIGABYTE: Since we focus on Mobile TV - that’s our niche, nobody has done this before - PDA phones are our top priority these days and we don’t want to go back to feature phones. We still focus on the actual needs of the market, so we also have GPS, and if such need arises, we will include more specific features into our devices. And apparently, we will not give up mobile TV.
MR: What are your thoughts on the design of Gigabyte’s products – today it sways more towards the Asian style. Are you going to alter it, or you prefer to keep going in the same direction?
GIGABYTE: I think design is a more subjective issue – in Italy, for example, consumers are fond of our design concept (shape and color). But on the other hand, people in some countries see it more like a toy and don’t really love it. In the future, I think, we will have different designs for different countries, especially for Russia where consumers don’t like cute stuff, and the black color is always the first option to pick.
MR: Are you going to release thumbboard-enabled devices any time soon? Why haven’t you used these setups so far?
GIGABYTE: We will start employing QWERTY-keyboard later this year, reason being that everybody seems to like such models, enjoy these keyboards, but when it comes to making a decision, they go for other solutions. Everybody is asking, but nobody buying. Some people prefer to handle their gadgets with a stylus as long as they have slender profile.
MR: These days Gigabyte’s solutions have almost no direct competition thanks to some very unique features. Are you going to remain in the league of your own, or we will see some offerings rivaling products by other makers?
GIGABYTE: With our devices we are providing essential services to both business users and people bent on entertainment. We have a PDA phone supporting Push Mail, helping enterprise users to stay on top of the things, synchronize their schedules, etc, but also we focus on mobile TV and other functions and we believe we can provide even more entertainment features in the future. For PDA phones the core is business-oriented abilities, but we continue to develop other departments as well. We also look into differentiation of products for local markets – for instance, in Indonesia, GPS is nearly useless, for there are too many islands over there. So we are going to keep enhancing the feature packs we provide and tweak them for local markets.
MR: Touchscreen-based interfaces are all the rage today – is Gigabyte planning to purchase or create interfaces such as that found in the HTC Touch or Samsung’s very own solution for its communicators?
GIGABYTE: In the case of the Touch, it is not like an all-round new function, like GPS or mobile TV – it is more of a neat visual enhancement that makes the device easier to manage, somewhat similar to the HTC RollR. We will never consider such interface as the core feature with all other constituents of our products revolving around it. For instance, the Touch boasts a really cool and appealing design, but it doesn’t have advanced functionality, no GPS or mobile TV. We might go for this feature, but we will try to keep it backstage, since we are focusing solely on robust feature sets, rather than bragging about cool-looking user interface. We do realize that in future there will be a great many of intuitive interfaces with large thumbnails you can tap and get wherever you want in one or two clicks and which are easier to read – that’s why we are interested in this feature as well.
MR: What’s the reason behind poor marking activities of Gigabyte on the Russian market? When a new product comes out, it doesn’t get due support and usually keeps low profile on the market. Are you going to intensify your efforts here?
GIGABYTE: Last year we actually talked to some media agents here, but because we can’t match HTC, which has been on this market for so long, like any relatively new player we have to focus solely on mobile media, and this year we probably will have more outdoor ads, we feel the need in elevating the awareness of the audience, and maybe we will have some commercials as well. I think this year we will be able to turn the situation around.
MR: Does Windows Mobile 6 meet the expectations of the company’s developers, engineers – have they been able to materialize their ideas with this OS?
GIGABYTE: So far, we haven’t encountered any big issues with this operating system, nor have our R&D and the end-users. And it seems to be easier to deal with and setup, it is also a good thing that the OS doesn’t slow down our devices. But we are really interested in Microsoft’s next step; we want to know what technologies will be adopted in the next version, so we keep in contact with Microsoft and make sure that we can improve our hardware to catch up with the future technology.
MR – Thank you for the interview
GIGABYTE: Thank you
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