Samsung has made insane investments in creating a premium brand that can go toe to toe with Apple. Tecno on the other hand has a chinko perception problem.

Since I wrote that article however, my thinking about Tecno’s strategy has come a long way. That has to do in part with some compelling perspectives shared by a fellow cabalist about how Tecno is winning. Another part has to do with personally seeing these Tecno devices proliferate like some primal strain of virus within my own physical geek circle.

Most would think that what Tecno does has no impact on Samsung’s business. It’s like pitting a scrawny welter-weight against a heavy-weight boxing champion, right? That a brand like Sammy might need to duke it out with an upstart OEM like Tecno seems laughable. Except it isn’t. From where I’m standing though, Samsung is concerned about Tecno. Concerned enough to start handing out powerbanks.

For those not familiar with the term, a powerbank is portable battery pack that you can charge and then use to charge your mobile device when you’re on the go and not close to a power source. I was fortunate to have one from Nokia bundled with my Lumia 520 purchase, courtesy the vendor, and I can tell you those things are a lifesaver.

Tecno Power Bank

These things have been around for a while, but the term “powerbank” seems to have been popularised (at least within my circles) by the fact that Tecno’s portable charger have the word boldly emblazoned on them. However, Tecno’s powerbank comes with two important “innovations”. Number one, they are free and come bundled with most of Tecno’s latest devices. Number two and perhaps most important — they possess flashlights. No kidding, these guys have us figured out.

So you can imagine how my interest was piqued when I got word off the street that Samsung Nigeria has started bundling their own powerbanks with the Galaxy Grand. Those phones used to come with signed BankyW sleeves, but if what I’m hearing is true, then it would seem that Samsung has found out that Nigerians care more about battery life and flashlights than that autographs and leather frippery.


Samsung fanboys (shouldn’t those exist by now?) can rant all they want. But this means that Samsung Nigeria now officially acknowledges Tecno as their competition. At least enough to start tweaking their local marketing strategy in response. The next question now is if Samsung is willing to start competing on value added perks, perhaps price is next battlefield? That’s the race to the bottom that they’ve shelled out millions of dollars in marketing to avoid, but the kind of scrappy game that Tecno still excels at, even if they’ve professed a desire to move out of the low end themselves.

Tecno has been on a sustained roll in recent months. They’ve pushed out a slew of devices that walk and talk like Galaxys, but cost a third of the price. They’ve got a cheap-ass but seemingly capable Android tablet on the market that swears it’s an iPad mini until you turn it around. It would have been great if there were some actual mobile device usage or sales data to corroborate, but in this market, Tecno looks to be flying like a butterfly and stinging like a bee. It won’t be enough to take them out, but Samsung will have to move fast if they don’t want to get stung.

Photo Credit: D.Boyarrin via Compfight cc. Powerbank via Afritek.

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16th September 2013

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