Friday, March 23, 2012

Inside the Android Store in Zhuhai, China

Update below

Since there has been a bit of interest about the Android store I saw in Nanping, Zhuhai, I returned to the same location today to conduct some further explorations:

street in Nanping, Zhuhai, China with an Android Store
Pedestrian (mostly) street in Nanping

The friendly staff permitted me to take a few photos, so I will share a few. Here is someone trying out an iPad:

customer trying an iPad at the Android Store in Nanping, Zhuhai, China

There were a broad variety of smartphones for sale. This HTC case:

HTC case of a variety of phones in the Android Store in Nanping, Zhuhai, China

included brands such as BBK, Huawei, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson. Oh, there was one HTC phone too.

This Android display:

Android display case of a variety of phones reflecting the Apple logo in the Android Store in Nanping, Zhuhai, China
The reflection adds a nice touch.

included a similar selection. At least the display cards for the Nokia phones did not indicate they ran Android and did not include the Android logo.

This Android display:

Android display in the Android Store in Nanping, Zhuhai, China

included a ZTE U880 running Android 2.2 on the left and a Lenovo A60 running Android 2.3 on the right.

I did not see any BlackBerry phones so I am not able to top the BlackBerry marketing with Barack Obama I saw at a mobile phone store in Chengdu. Also, all of the phones appeared to be legitimate brands. There were no copycat "creative-but-inspired-by-Apple" phones such as the one I saw which included a portion of the Apple logo and the phrase "I See Things a Little Differently". Regardless, this display of HTC phones especially caught my attention:

4 displayed HTC phones in the Android Store in Nanping, Zhuhai, China

Outside of China, the second phone from the left is often described as the HTC Eternity. However, that is based on its code name and its official name is the HTC 凯旋 X310e. If your Chinese is rusty, 凯旋 could be translated as "Triumph" though another translation I have found is "Return Triumphant". But here is the really fun part: although many HTC phones run Android, the X310e is a Windows Phone that was just released for sale two day ago (so, I doubt it was there during my previous visit). In fact, the label mentions that it runs Windows Phone 7.5 just above the image of the Android logo. Between Google and Microsoft, who is now groaning most?

The visit also allowed me to better clarify another issue. The store's business cards list its name as the text "名流智能手机体验店" shown below "Android" on its sign. This is similar in practice to what I noticed for some of the "fake" Apple stores I recently saw in Guangdong province and Hunan province where they did not list "iPhone 4" (or whatever was prominently displayed on their sign) on their business cards but instead a more proper-sounding name. I do not want to share an image of the front of the card since it includes a helpful employee's name, personal mobile phone number, and QQ number (not uncommon in China). However, I am happy to share the backside:

Android Store in China business card displaying Apple and Android logos

I am not sure if they plan to update it with a Windows Phone logo.

Before commenting further, in an upcoming post (by Monday) I will share photos of some other nearby stores. They provide important context for understanding what is and is not unusual about the above store. The context will also be useful for my responses to some comments and questions I have received or have seen on some of the articles/posts now referencing my earlier post.

Here is just a small taste of what is on the way:

Store in Nanping, Zhuhai, China displaying signs with logos for Android, Apple, Nokia, and more.

More soon.

UPDATE: See in what ways this Android store is not unique in the post "Nokia Stores Selling a Variety of Phones in Nanping, Zhuhai"

Disclosure: I previously worked as a user experience researcher in Microsoft China's Mobile Services China group. This exploration was not conducted as paid work nor at the request of any company.

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