According to Retford (2007), Smartphone can be defined as a gadget that enables the user to make telephone calls and has additional features that would be found on a computer such as sending and receiving of emails (p. 3). Some of the key features include operating system software that allows performance of more tasks than an ordinary phone would perform, allows web access, and has a QWERTY keyboard just like a computer. Tael Courier Services is considering purchasing smartphones to be used by the salespeople. This study will examine the pros and cons of smartphones and evaluate the top five smartphones to give a recommendation on the best that Tael Courier Services can buy for the sales team.
Tael Courier Services Company has been in existence for the last ten years. The company has always prioritized on having the most efficient system of carrying out its operations, thanks to a competent and highly qualified staff. However, due to the intense competition in the market, the company intends to improve operations in its sales and marketing department in order to gain a competitive edge over its rivals. It is in this view that the company has put forward various sales strategies, among them being to introduce the use of smartphones by its sales team as an alternative to the somewhat rigid and bulky laptops.
During the last few months, the company has witnessed its sales dropping, despite the company having acquired a sizeable market share prior to this period. In addition, the salespeople have been taking a lot of time compiling sales reports and addressing the needs of customers, more so due to the fact they have been using notebooks in the field and inputting data into the system later in the evening. Surprisingly, a thorough check has revealed that, the cause of drop in sales has been as a result of customers shifting to other companies due dissatisfaction with the company’s operations.
The company now wants to invest in the use of smartphones in field that would enable salespeople to perform their sales tasks and address the needs of the customers in real-time. Tentative information indicates that smartphones have the ability to connect to the internet and have a large data storage space, thus they will allow the salespeople to input data directly into the system, chat with the people left in the office in case they need consultation, send and receive e-mails, program their schedules and set reminders, and store customers’ contacts while still in the field. Basically, there are a number of smartphones available in the market, and despite some of them being expensive, there are some that can acquired efficiently.
Therefore, the company will carry out a cost-benefit analysis of the leading smartphones in the market and decide on the best one to use, among them being Sprint HTC EVO 4G, Motorola Droid X, Apple iPhone 4, T-Mobile G2, and T-Mobile HTC HD7. Most of these phones have in-built features including calendar, world clock, calculator, internet connectivity, camera, and notepad among other features (Miller, 2010), which will be of great benefit to the salespeople.
Scope of the Study
This study will evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using smartphones. It is also intended to give an evaluation of the top five smartphones and cite the best smartphone as a sales work tool for Tael organization. The five smartphones to be evaluated include the following.
- Sprint HTC EVO 4G.
- Motorola Droid X.
- Apple iPhone 4.
- .T-Mobile G2.
- T-Mobile HTC HD7.
The bases of evaluation include price, weight/size, network, ringer options, battery life, and other extras included in the phone.
The main sections in the report will be:
- Advantages and disadvantages of smartphones.
- An evaluation of the top five smartphones.
- Conclusions and recommendations.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Smartphones
There are various advantages and disadvantages associated with the use of smartphones as discussed in this section.
Advantages of Using Smartphones
According to Armstrong (2010), smartphones have greater built-in functionality that enables them to be faster than other standard mobile phones. They help someone to be organized since they have calendars that can be used by the salespeople when setting the dates for meetings and appointments and thus will not guess the dates, which can lead to confusion (Armstrong, 2010). Electronic diaries are also available which the sales force can use to keep record of clients visited and on which date, when to see clients in terms of date and time and record discussions held with clients and the way forward.
They also have in-built automatic reminders that can be used by the sales people to remind them of meetings with client. The sales force is normally very busy with so many meetings and appointments in every day of their life and there is a tendency to be overwhelmed and forget, therefore, such reminders would be of great help. Contact lists are also available and would be of use in saving and maintaining client contacts, those of potential clients, and those who are likely to give referrals (Armstrong, 2010).
Time is a very important factor to the salespeople and they are supposed to be flexible. Smartphones allow salespeople to enjoy flexibility and save on time since they can take notes from their phones, be able to review and edit information in the diaries to make sure that the information is up to date (Armstrong, 2010). This implies that they can do this while working or seated in a vehicle instead of having to create time for that.
This gives them flexibility at work and proper time management. Information is power and smartphones gives a chance to access a lot of current and past information since they are internet enabled (Armstrong, 2010). For example, a sales person is able to access maps via the phone and this makes sure that they do not lose direction and in case they do, they can always find their way out with the help of Google and other search engines.
Considering that most sales people are highly mobile, they can access information regarding how trafficis and know which routes to take (Armstrong, 2010). They can also get information or details about potential and existing clients thus are able to tackle the clients. They also help sales people to be in touch even when in remote areas where they cannot access computers or other mechanisms for sending, receiving, and sharing information. The smartphones allows sending of large documents and attachments that otherwise could not be sent with ordinary mobile phones. Smartphones have greater functionality and are able to perform multiple and complex tasks (Armstrong, 2010).
The sales people can use smartphones to send samples of products offered by an organization send the view of a site that has been inspected or a sample of machines used by the organization to clients. They have a high speed when accessing the internet as compared to other ordinary mobile phones and therefore effective and efficient in time management (Armstrong, 2010).
Disadvantages of Using Smartphones
Despite the above mentioned advantages, use of smartphones has various disadvantages as discussed next. First, smartphones are very expensive to buy and maintain (Disadvantages of Smartphones, 2010). Buying such phones for the sales force would require hefty investment by the organization and the challenge would be offsetting costs incurred with the amount of revenue that would be generated. Smartphones go for about $199.99 (contract price as shown in Exhibit 1 below) and even repair to the phone incase of breakdown is expensive. These phones are also heavier and bulkier than ordinary mobile phones.
Considering sales people move a lot, adding extra weight to the documents carried and the long journeys covered may weigh their strength down. In addition, they have small screens and limited entry of characters compared to pocket PC, thus may not be ideal for salespeople with a lot of data to key in (Disadvantages of Smartphones, 2010). It is also risky for the sales people to move around carrying such phones.
Smartphones are very expensive and give sense of pride to the owners and therefore, the sales people might be targeted by thugs so much, thus risking their security (Retford, 2007, p. 34). The many features associated with smartphones may interfere with the productivity of salespeople. For example, a lot of time might be used on social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or watching TV as well as other activities that are not work related.
Comparison of Contract and No Contract Price of Top Five Smartphones.
|Smartphone||Contract price||No-contract price|
|Sprint HTC EVO 4G||199.99||$499.99|
|Motorola Droid X||199.99||$569.99|
|Apple iPhone 4||199||$599|
|T-Mobile HTC HD7||199.99||$500|
Evaluation of the Top Five SmartPhones
There are a number of smartphones that have been developed in the recent past, thanks to advancement of technology; however, the most conspicuous and leading smartphones are discussed in this section.
Sprint HTC EVO 4G
This smartphone utilizes a 4G network that is only available in a few areas or cities in the US. This implies that its network coverage is still limited, and therefore, it would limit the salespeople on geographical locations that would be reached with the phone. It might end up being inconvenient considering that the clients and potential ones are not located at static point. With this phone, it implies that if they go to places without 4G network, communication will be curtailed.
The phone is big in size and bulky and has a large screen of 4.3 inches (HTCEVO, 2010). Its screen size and its actual size allow it to handle various activities and functions. This implies that the salespeople can use it comfortably to handle the loads of processing and activities associated with their work such as processing clients’ documents, online data entry of clients’ information, sending of samples among other activities (HTCEVO, 2010).
The phone has an advantage in that it can download large documents for viewing, editing and printing and has high definition content (HTCEVO, 2010). Such features would help the salespeople to download forms to be filled by the clients. Though it has an internal memory of just 1GB, it has an external memory Inform of microSD card slot that enlarges the storage up to 32GB (HTCEVO, 2010).
This is a great advantage to the salespeople since they can store a lot of information. The kickstand at the back makes web viewing comfortable to the user while other features such as Gmail, Google talk, Google maps and others make access to information easier (HTCEVO, 2010, Para. 6). The full no-contract price for the phone is $500, which is very expensive with an additional $30 per month for unlimited data access. The good side is that there is unlimited data access but considering that this is a small business enterprise, it would not be logical to incur such a huge investment (HTCEVO, 2010).
Motorola Droid X
According to Anthony (2009), by October 2009, the phone no -contract price was $569.99implying that it is very expensive as a business phone whose benefits will be weighed against the costs incurred in its acquisition. The phone is relatively big and thick with a touch screen and this makes it suitable to use since it can handle loads of work. Its big size might be a bit disadvantageous since the salespeople need to move with it.
The keyboard is flat and shallow and thus would make the salesperson struggle whilst typing thus not recommended for tasks that involve a lot of typing. It lacks physical talks and end key buttons and they can only be accessed from the call application. This would eat into a salesperson time and may even fail to respond to important calls as he tries to access the buttons. The battery life is 270 hours of standby time while talk time is 385 minutes.
The battery life is therefore quite considerable since it can go for quite some time or days before switching off. Its storage memory of about 16GB is relatively large though not sufficient as compared to other smartphones and the information to be stored. It uses a 3G network, which is quite convenient for salespeople since it can be accessed in many places and has excellent call quality even in noisy places (Anthony, 2009). It has other additional features like Google map that is voice enabled and therefore, one just needs to mention the location while navigating through to get directions. This would make it easier for the salespersons to get directions (Anthony, 2009).
Apple iPhone 4
Apple iPhone no-contract price is $599 (see exhibit 2) which is on the higher end considering that Tael Company is a small business enterprise. It has a clear and sharper display that would allow the salespeople and especially those with poor eyesight use it with ease. It is relatively small with an average weight of 4.8 ounces, which makes carrying it relatively portable as compared to other devices like laptops. It has two cameras that makes image capture easier and allows for video shooting and this feature is of great importance when considering taking site view. It offers call features such as call waiting and call holding and besides that, offers face time.
Face time can be used by employers to track the salespeople at the exact location where they are and what they are doing thus act as a control measure. Battery life is 420 minutes, which implies that the phone can last for a day without recharging. This would ensure that the sales personnel are on reach throughout the day. It has an iOS operating system that allows multitasking and therefore the sales personnel can perform multiple tasks at the same time (Miller, 2010, Para. 2-4).
A Comparison of Price, Screen Size and Battery Life of the Top Five SmartPhones.
Full no-contract price
Sprint HTC EVO 4G
5.5 talk time hours
Motorola Droid X
6.4 talk time hours
Apple iPhone 4
7 talk time hours
8 talk time hours
T-Mobile HTC HD7
6.5 talk time hours
T-mobile G2 goes for $499 ant this is the full no -contract price which is relatively cheaper as compared to other smartphones. It is quite big in size and a bit heavy though the chin can be removed to make it fit in the pocket. Therefore, it can be seen to be more convenient to the salespeople since it is relatively cheaper and has a professional look that would portray the company as a successful company.
The keyboard is a bit raised and spaced hence makes typing easier and allows performance of various tasks such as short messages. This would be of importance to the sales team in that it can be used to send short messages to clients. The battery life is 440 hours with eight hours talk time and this makes it suitable for doing business since it can go for long without charge. It has wide network coverage and performs various tasks such as editing and downloading of documents, which is an essential feature that would help the sales team greatly (Cha, Para. 1-4).
T-Mobile HTC HD7
It is large in size with a large touch screen of about 4.3 inches and has the largest onscreen keyboard. Despite its size, the smartphone is easy to use and does not require a lot of training to the salespeople. The screen makes viewing of text and multimedia quite clear which is a good feature that can help salespeople see messages sent by clients clearly. It has a memory capacity of about 16GB which is quite large to store information though compared to other smartphones, it is not large enough though if can serve to store information required by the salespeople. The weight is quite uncomfortable since it is quite heavy and will be an additional burden to the salespeople.
It can also display upcoming appointments from the calendar automatically and this would constantly remind the salespeople of the appointments and keep them on toes. The social network is also great since it alerts when someone updates status and this can be used to transact business cheaply via the internet as compared to use of airtime. It is quite expensive since no contract price is $500 with a battery life of 6.5 hours talk time, which would service a busy day’s work (Miller, 2010).
From the study, it is evident that smartphones would be an ideal idea for use by the salespeople. Presence of the various in-built functionalities such as calendars, contact lists, internet connectivity among other features would help the salespeople to become more organized. Access to the internet and ability to send, upload and download images makes the selling process easier thus saving resources for the organization and improves on productivity.
Though they are weighty as compared to other phones, they are easily portable as compared to other devices such as laptops that cannot be slipped into the pocket. However, they are very expensive and it is therefore important for an organization to do a cost benefit analysis before investing in them. Among the top 5 smartphones is Sprint HTC EVO 4G,Motorola Droid X, Apple iPhone 4, T-Mobile G2 and-Mobile HTC HD7. These smartphones are more or less alike in terms of their functionality with differences in terms of features such as screen size as shown in exhibit 2 above.
Based on the findings, I recommend the use of smartphones by the company because they are portable, allow access to internet, are able to perform tasks performed by computers, and even multitask. However, smartphones are very expensive and the company must do a cost benefit analysis to assess whether expected revenue will match the costs incurred by the organization if smartphones are bought.
Tael Courier services would be advised to go for T-Mobile G2 since it is relatively cheap as compared to others, and hence will minimize on costs. Of the five phones, it has the longest battery life (eight hours), which is ideal for work purposes since it can go for a whole day without recharging hence convenient to the salespeople. The screen and weight are also convenient and portable as compared to the others thus making it convenient for the salesperson to move around with it. The ability to multitask and operate with ease at a high speed makes it more attractive.
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