Lenovo Z2 Vibe Pro:
Why Such Phones Are UNpopular In The United States
By Kia Dargahi
A show of hands please for the people who knew that Lenovo made smartphones. Let’s see… Nope nobody, and there seems to be a plethora of reasons why that’s the case. Time and again, smartphones are announced with seemingly attractive features, great specs, and amazing pricing but just cannot penetrate the United States market. Sony was the latest to try and enter the US market aggressively but even with brand recognition like that of Sony’s, it seems that their marketing comes to no avail. So even with a QHD display, the latest processor and version of android plus a stellar camera, phones like the Z2 Vibe pro do not find a home here in the US. Here’s a rundown of why that’s the case.
Limited/No Brand Recognition in the Market
Perhaps the most obvious reason, capitulated on with the “show of hands” experiment, is that only certain manufacturers are on the immediate minds of American consumers. Although Lenovo is a very respected name in the computer industry and Sony has good penetration in several fields, they are not particularly praised for their smartphones. Techies (much like myself) will doubtless disagree with me but one must remember that techies not only represent a small minority of consumers but also aren’t willing to buy every new piece of hardware that hits the shelves. Sony and Lenovo have to essentially start from scratch and impress US consumers so that their respective Xperia and Vibe lines become a part of mainstream consumer information. Nowadays if someone is caught without an Apple or Samsung handset, they are often questioned on why that is not the case… No Official/Limited Partnership with Stateside Carriers.
Here’s an important one. Most big name smartphones such as the iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy S5, and HTC One (M8) are available on all big name US carriers and as such have more room for advertising and appeal to a larger group of people. Sticking with the Lenovo and Sony motif, Sony only has a partnership with T-Mobile and Lenovo handsets have and will only be available through third party online retailers at full price. See the problem? For Sony’s case, not only are there more popular brands selling their handsets for the same price (Apple, Samsung, HTC…) but T-Mobile themselves stop marketing the Sony phones a month after their launch. For Lenovo phones (and other manufacturers like Oppo, Huawei, and Blu), they are only available on GSM carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile and must be bought at full price. There’s hardly an incentive for the average consumer to do his or her own research, find relatively obscure phones, and purchase them at a higher price then they would more mainstream and RELIABLE phones, which brings me to my next point.
Limited Availability + slow/no Customer Support
By far the biggest risk with buying phones such as these off contract (except in Sony’s case) is that they have no customer service for the United States. Let’s say that you’ve noticed your phone is dropping calls lately, nobody can officially tender to your questions from the companies themselves as they are not officially being sold in the US. Furthermore, since the only practical manner of purchasing these phones is through a third party online retailer, returns, damages, and especially availability will be an issue. Since people around the world are purchasing these handsets, the USA has an even smaller priority to the online retailer since there really does not exist a market for the likes of the Z2 Vibe Pro. This means that you’ll be getting the phone months and possibly up to half a year after its release and by then an even better mainstream handset might be available.
There is a convoluted process of finding which phones are available for your carrier’s specific spectrum and if it is even compatible at all. Since the smartphones take months and months after their original announcement to become available on third party retailers, one is better off waiting for a new mainstream handset to be released in the USA than to scour the deepest parts of the internet for a rather obscure device that does NOT come with official US support. In a world where smartphones are as important as our computers, it would be unwise for one to take all the risks and reap little rewards; practicality trumps theoretical advantages.