21 Oct 2016

Why manufacturer like HUAWEI can only DREAM to be like Apple BUT NEVER EVER be one

First thing first. I do not work with Apple Inc or in any of it's subsidiaries or affiliated with them in any way or form. I do work in a major consumer electronic manufacturer company in the UK and my opinion piece below in no way or form represent what I do professionally for a living but merely just my frank and personal opinion. All encounter below is being described at it's truest form that I can remember and describe.

Alright... with the legal bit out of the way, let me start with brief experience sharing working in a typical marketing team in a multinational consumer electronic company. Often enough we will be stuck in a team meeting discussing plans and strategy on how to market our upcoming products to the market. And I can bet you with all my working experience that the word "Apple" will come up in one way or form during these meetings. Hence we are either bench-marking what Apple does, or simply try to replicate what they have done. 

But based on my recent encounter with the 3rd biggest smartphone vendor in the World* of Q2 2016, HUAWEI can only DREAM to be like Apple BUT WILL NEVER EVER be one. At least for now.

Just over 8 months ago, I travel to Malaysia and stumble upon a major IT store selling the Google's flagship NEXUS 6p. It's a standard GSM variant of the phone and nothing but praises that I have on this phone since day 1. The phone lives up to it's flagship tagline and the camera shoots picture that put many other smartphones (even digital camera) into shame.

And something happen last week while I was driving while navigating using Waze on that phone. It restart by itself for no apparent reason while the screen showing me I have another 136 miles to reach home.

And to my surprise, the phone boots up as it always does for the past 8 months and it was stuck in an infinite loop of rebooting and all I can see was the Google logo.

So I contacted Google directly with high hope that it's just a software problem and hoping it could be solved by doing some sort of hard reset. It doesn't work. And they suspected that it's more than just the software so they have asked me to contact HUAWEI directly.

Which I did. And being a tech savvy guy I opt to contact them via their online chat system and told them the same issue. And after some helpful advice and instruction they also conclude that I need to send them the phone for physical inspection.

And here starts the problem & horror that I've been through with HUAWEI and hence the reasons why THEY WILL NEVER be like Apple.

REASON 1: I've called their service hotline in the UK at 0800 088 6700. To my surprise, there was an actual person answering the call and asked me to leave my name and number so that they can call me back. But what's more shocking was, I called on Friday (14th Oct) and hoping someone will call me back. NOPE. No one. So I called on Monday (17th Oct) and I was asked to leave my name & number for a call back. NOPE. No one called. I called again in the afternoon and was asked to do the same thing. Really. This actually happen! 

REASON 2: On Tuesday I finally received the call. Very pleasant discussion on how I could send my phone in when they deliver a pre-stamped package to me. They took down my serial number & IMEI number. 

The next afternoon, someone from Huawei called again (indicated on my phone as PRIVATE NUMBER). He first introduced to himself as someone from Huawei and immediately asked me NOT TO SEND MY PHONE IN because after checking, they said the phone is not bought in the EU (or in the UK). 

After a few short exchanges on why this and that, I've asked, "If I have a Huawei Phone and it's having a problem I can't solve, where can I send it to?"... To my utter shock, MICHAEL (after I insisted to know his name) told me to send it to a NON AUTHORISED SERVICE CENTRE! I was silenced for a few sec... I really do not know how to proceed. Then I've asked to speak to his manager and he told me that he won't pass it on.

Let me take a step back and evaluate this. I've bought a Google flagship phone. It lasted just over 8 months before it started giving problem. Google can't help me with the hardware. Huawei in the UK won't even want to touch my device as if as the phone is not a Huawei phone. I didn't asked for it to be fix under warranty. We have not even come to the cost which I have never said I'm not going to pay. Being in the consumer electronic industry, I'm expecting to pay some surcharge because the phone wasn't bought "locally". BUT I NEVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT HUAWEI WILL NOT EVEN WANT TO TOUCH THEIR OWN PHONE!

1) How would such an expensive flagship phone lasted only 8 months???
2) Is there any difference in quality that the phone you bought somewhere else is not the same as if it's bought locally?
3) With the advent of "aeroplane" and the shrinking size of consumer electronics, why are we still stuck with the "terms & considtions" of buying your stuff locally?
4) And why an international company like HUAWEI have such a culture where if you don't buy the product locally, they would not even want to touch the device! Why don't you rename your COMPANY NAME differently in every region you are in??? Isn't that having a recognize brand name around the World translate to being able to have support of your devices as and when as the customer need to??

In many sense of business, Apple might not be a perfect company to quote. But in terms of service & support especially for their portable devices is almost second to none. They might want to charge you a premium or charge you when you need to service your product outside the region where you bought it. But Apple and any multinational with a hint of common sense would know that they WOULD NOT TURN AWAY FROM THEIR CUSTOMERS WHEN THEY NEEDED THEM THE MOST.

Maybe, (and I say with a big hunch) this was the reason why Google moved away from the NEXUS brand concept and started Pixel hoping to have more control on the after sales element of the phone, like Apple.

*Source: http://www.idc.com/prodserv/smartphone-market-share.jsp

25 Mar 2015

Almost A Malaysian: Lee Kuan Yew

If you are like me the many fortunate ones who grew up in an era where the Malaysian politics hasn't "still"  amended history books or re-written what's black and white into grey, then you must have read a lot about Mr Lee Kuan Yew in your history lesson at school.

Yes.. Indeed in Malaysia you might not heard who is Tan Siew Sin or Lee San Choon or the matter of fact Onn Jaafar. But you must have heard about a guy who live just across the river and almost become a Malaysian. He is of course the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew who has recently pass away at the age of 91.

Who is he?

Well, in my increasingly vague memory of my history lessons almost 30 years ago, he is Singapore. Yup... Anything we read about him, good or bad, right or wrong, true or otherwise it's always about Singapore.

Remember the great "MRT"?
Remember the ban on chewing gum?
Even the crooked bridge has his "name" on it as well!

But way before all these, obviously what we read about him is about how he and Tunku Abdul Rahman had a great fall out and got Singapore expelled from the Malaysia Federation. It's only of recent readings that I found out that the expulsion was due to a race riot and Mr Lee didn't even want Singapore to be separated.

Oh boy... I couldn't imagine how Singapore would be if she's still in the Malaysia Federation. Perhaps Penang 2? Governed by DAP? :)

Looking back as a nation, I am sure Singaporeans have so much to thank this incredible "giant" despite what we read or heard about him on suppressing his political opponents.

While others might think why are they a Singaporean, all I have to say is being a Malaysian you would and should be glad that Mr Lee Kuan Yew was "Almost a Malaysian".

May you rest in peace Mr Lee.

Source: straitstimes.com

p/s: There is a special 24-page Straits Times tribute to Mr Lee which you can download at this link;


Some other good reads from the Amazon (Sponsored):

5 Jan 2015

Resolution 2015: Irrelevancy

Welcome to 2015!

I think I must have said this before. Every year, I told myself to write more, but it seems that every year I have failed that simple resolution. Let’s hope this won’t happen in 2015.

It’s probably good to start with a resolution for 2015 and instead of writing and describing in a post, let’s describe it with a picture…

I just can’t see how 2015 won’t better 2014, especially in the work front. But let’s hope a better 2015 for me, and for all.

3 Nov 2014

Apple vs The Rest

With the recent conclusion of consumer tech product launches from new smartphones to smartwatches, from phone as big as tablets to tablets as large as laptops, the usual argument since probably 2010 still split the views of many.

Apple vs the Rest.

Source: wikipedia.org

#Personal Computer

Believe it or not. Apple has been fighting this "litigation" almost ever since their inception. They started off with the "Big Blue" (IBM) and they have tackled the space where some thought as impossible as landing a man on the moon then, “Personal Computer” which today we just simply call it as PC.

Then with Microsoft. Based on my limited understanding of what really happen then, I have to say "innovation" probably dominates the era when PC started penetrating our household.

Some define innovation as a new word of creative piracy or photocopying. Others may argue that without innovation, technological advancement might takes much longer than what we would expect.

One quote from Steve Jobs then imprints in my mind during the tussle between Apple and Microsoft is this... "In order for Apple to win, Microsoft doesn't has to lose. Apple has to do it's best and if Microsoft wants to do badly, it's a big help to Apple..." Of course that was spoken when Steve Jobs went back to Apple (and became the iCEO and started the famous "i" prefix) and has to literally "beg" Microsoft to invest in Apple to sustain the company. Probably a very brave decision but truth be told, it's probably (the only option) and the move that saves Apple Computer, then.

We thought that might be the end of the rivalry between them and how glad are we that it isn't over. Because of that rivalry, it might have given us Windows XP. Apple OS 9. Longhorn (Windows Vista). Apple OS X (10). Tiger. Leopard. Lion Many cats. Windows 7. PowerPc. Macbook. Laptops. Netbook. iMac. Ultrabook, etc... If innovation was blocked or heavily regulated, we might still see command prompt in our PC today! And probably still running Windows Me in our office.

Source: Apple.com

#Portable Music Player

Then Apple went on to do something else. iPod. What's that? (if we were in 2001). Portable music player if you want to know. Apple claimed that you can fit your entire music collection (then) in an iPod. So it was against the giant from the east who created the word Walkman which has a household penetration of almost 100% in my mind? :)

Yes... In the word of Steve Jobs, "connecting the dots looking backwards..." they didn't just change how people listen to music. They have changed the whole music industry. And it's just started to heat up! Apple didn't just added "iPod" in the Webster Dictionary, they have also influenced the creation of words like Podcast, Vidcast, Livestream, etc...

Walkman didn't put on much fight in my opinion. They might be too complacent with what they have (as a company - TV, Playstation, etc...). They might not even see it coming!

Source: Medium.com


Then come the phone. Steve Jobs said they want to "reinvent the Phone!". That's when they launch their most guarded secret and mother of all consumer products that kick off another round of rivalry. If you remember, that "phone" first of all doesn't even comes with 3G which most of the "smarter" phones have and they even haven't finalise the patent of the word "iPhone". Oh, did I mention that "copy & paste" is not possible? That's pretty daring move to launch a phone that they said is smarter and more user friendly than any other phone!

Again, Apple didn't came up with the idea of a "smartphone". Long before then we have phones that are smarter than the normal "candy" phone. Remember Palm phone? Maybe you heard of Nokia Communicator? If those you have not heard of, I'm sure you have heard of another "fruit" brand. Research in Motion's (RIM) - Blackberry.

Yeah... Those were the smarter phones then. But to Apple's recollection during their iPhone launch event in 2007, they aren't smart enough. And not user friendly. And all those has one commonality - they all have a fixed keyboard.

To be fair, watching that live product introduction was quite an experience. It's like watching Canon launching their first "consumer" Digital SLR (DSLR) camera - EOS300D when everyone else are still shooting with film. Or like watching Andre Agassi walking into tennis courts with his rugged looking shirts matched by his long hair back in those days when tennis players were like nerds on courts. (no offense - Pete Sampras is still my idol back in that era)

Before I've got sidetracked, let's get back to Apple. The launch of iPhone in 2007 in my opinion has started another wave of "fan-atism" between Apple and the rest. To my recollection, it was then the first consumer tech product that created a whole range of new industries.

For once, the "accessories ecosystem" has grew bigger. I've not seen phone cases created in such colour vibrancy and quantity and cost as much as another phone. And what type of phone can influence a case maker to make it as a taser!

Then came the Apps store. A new generation of developers have just been created. It was probably the first time that even a young kid (10-ish) can call themself apps developer and make money beyond their means!

And not forgetting, the queue lines. People actually queue for Apple products, days or even weeks before the sales start date. And it even created a new industry out of it. Professional Queue-r; you pay money for people to queue for you. Some even took it to another step. Because the queue get so much media attention, obviously selling Ads (with the branding on their T-Shirts) has become a norm.

Source: Cnn.com

# The Apple Prophecy

With all the above, when there are love naturally there will be hate. And Apple has been the target of all these haters for whatever reason you can think of. They even put a "gate" on each of the issue that came out of Apple!

Remember Antennae-gate?

The "hate" has gone from being personal to being "commercial". Some companies even made TV ads out of it! (ahh Hemmm...)

From these, I have to conclude. After analysing many, many hours of videos and reading countless threads on forums and news. I came into this conclusion.

Apple fans LOVE products made by Apple and sometimes over proud of owning one. The rest just HATE Apple regardless of what they do.

Maybe the non Apple fans wasn't prominent enough back in the 80/90's. With the backing of Google and the financial might (and commercial courage) of companies like Samsung and Microsoft, I can safely say the fight between Apple vs the Rest will continue for years to come. Maybe until Apple stop making great products. Maybe until another "Apple" in born.

Until then, living in the digital era we are loving the rivalry! Apple vs the Rest.

16 Sep 2014

The One With Malaysia Day & Scottish Independence Voting Day

It has been a while that I have not wrote anything here. More often than before when I have something in mind to write, I don't have a chance to do it. And when I am near the laptop, I have nothing in my mind at all!

Then came today. For those who doesn't know, 16th Sept 1963 was the day when the current state of "Malaysia" was formed combining Malaya and 2 Borneo states (Sabah & Sarawak) as well and Singapore.

Yup... Singapore was part of Malaysia back then before they were "expelled" (apparently) and become an independent country in 1965.

So, Happy Malaysia Day to all Malaysian!! :)

This has lead me thinking. If Singapore didn't become an independent country (or forced to do then), will they became what they are now?

And if the answer is "NO", will Scotland be a better country if more than 50% of Scots vote "YES" this Thursday?

Let me caveat myself from the beginning. I am not a Scot nor a citizen of the UK. Whatever happen this Thursday has got nothing to do with me, my family and my future. I am just writing out my thought :)

So, back to the Scotland independent vote.

Being an avid reader on political news and happenings, what had happened for the past 2 weeks (in particular) really open up my mind.

A government can grant more power to another government.

There are two parliaments in the UK.

The Queen might lose her sovereignty on a country that HM "used to rule" but yet can't defend the lost (if it Scotland ever get independence).

And to my surprise, there are a lot of Scots that would not like Scotland to become independent.

Yes. My view is a YES vote if I were given a chance to vote.

The reason is very simple. Patriotism. How can one call a Scot if he/she doesn't want her country to be independent? In the era where tablets are selling more than PC, this really baffles me.

Chances are, the next 10 years or so after independence Scotland might not be "economically stable" compare to now. But with Scotland being an oil producing country, maybe they may not need 10 years to become an economically stable nation. Maybe they already are the day when their parliament can decide entirely what Scots can do in Scotland.

And the thought of having another referendum probably not in our generation but eventually will be is very counter productive. This means that Scotland will become and independent country, EVENTUALLY.

Like the Queen said in her timely Church session in Scotland last weekend, "...Vote carefully for the future...". And if the future it is to be voted, I would say, YES. Scotland should celebrate their independence day every year on the 18th Sept starting from 2014!