Thursday, January 28, 2010

What is in a name?

At Nutshell we are constantly aware of the changing face of the mobile computing landscape.

As device makers get smarter, the technology that they use gets smaller, faster and increasingly more complex.

Add to that an array of shapes that fit the hand in an amazing variety of ways, and every user is faced with a staggering number of amazing mobile devices, all offering smaller, faster, longer life and better performance and abilities.

All this is great news for the cognoscenti and the technocrats amongst us; things that were mere dreams a few years ago are fast becoming everyday realities; video phones with hi-res cameras, screens that sparkle, dazzle and present realistic images, more space on which to store stuff; better and increasingly better means of staying in touch with one another. As someone once said - "The list goes on."

Of course, this presents a constant challenge to a company like Nutshell; focused on delivering products that meet and exceed the user's expectations. It is the old 'what do we do next' syndrome. A constant hunt to make our products better and more attractive, while maintaining quality control and deliver-ability.

But we constantly have a niggling worry in the back of the head that what we do may actually turn off some customers; our use of natural materials offends some folk who would rather we lived in trees, ate nuts and shoots and rooted around for our daily sustenance. The merest whiff of a suggestion that we may even contemplate delivering products that incorporate natural materials can be a turn-off, to some people. And nobody needs a turn-off.

The challenge then is to deliver products which entice the senses; after all, until you purchase you cannot touch, feel and fully experience any product that is presented online. It is all in the mind, and in that sense of expectation and belief that the product you are purchasing will fit your lifestyle, like a glove.

So we are searching for a name. A word. An expression of timeless elegance, wish-fulfillment and good taste. Coupled with our users' expectations of a product that not only looks like a million dollars, it will actually deliver what we, as designers and creators, have set ourselves as the challenge; the creation of that ultimate product that will better protect its contents against most all of what our users will undoubtedly throw at it.

And you thought you had problems. :-)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's not the journey that counts.

It is truly amazing the way that people find Nutshell.

After 12 and something years we are pretty 'cemented' into the fabric of the internet. Enter one of our keywords into any search engine and odds are that nutshell will feature someplace on the front page. Usually (in the major engines) someplace near the top.

But there are always new roads being crafted in the cyberspace we occupy; increasingly new ways of arriving at our little destination.

There are many tricks and tips that folk continually come up with designed to make any website more 'search engine friendly' and keeping track of new and evolving theories and permutations and variations on a theme can take a heck of a lot of time if you don't know what it is you are actually doing.

I guess that after all this time I have a fair idea. Obviously. But sometimes I really do wonder just how effective it all is.

I mean, listed as we are it continually bemuses me that we have not been 'cottoned onto' by the broad mass of internet surfers and shoppers.

Not that I am complaining; far from it.

In the time we have been online we have sold product to tens of thousands of people, all over the world. Many of you are repeat purchasers. However you found us we are extremely glad to have made your acquaintance and we look forward to continuing to provide you with service for many, many years to come.

But that does beg the question; just what is it that a website has to provide (apart from good product) that touches that nerve of public consciousness that makes us flavour of the month?

Obviously people surf and search, but I always wonder which road is the one most travelled.

It's true; it is not the journey that counts, it's all about getting as many seekers and surfers to the 'right' destination. And capturing not only their hearts and minds, but their willingness to become one of a select group of people.

That unique band of folk out there, from all walks of life, who can lay claim to being satisfied Nutshell customers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Phones - finally....a common size is emerging

Since 1997 Nutshell has been offering its cases for PDAs, smartphones, cellphones and other mobile devices and ever since we started we have been steadily increasing the number of cases we offer. Mostly this has been as a result of the cellphone manufacturers constantly tweaking the sizes of their devices.

Because traditionally our cases have been lined with a synthetic plush material to keep those devices pristine and like new, we have sometimes had to create a totally new size to fit; if we offer you a product that is 'near enough' but 'not quite' it takes very little time for you, our customers, to let us know we have made an error.

However these days it appears that the majority of new devices coming to market are starting to standardize on the size format - the iPhone size.

Obviously, love them or hate them, the iPhone has struck a cord with other device manufacturers as being a handy size that works well for most users; the screen size is good eough to display images and app information without forcing the user to wear a set of reading glasses. And the shape is one that fits well in most hands, regardless of the size or sex of the user.

That makes life a whole lot easier for us as suppliers; having a consistent size means we can concentrate on delivering better product in a more timely fashion; every day we make our cases based on web sales and, even though we have a steady stream of corporate orders in the pipeline, different sized cases to match the many, and many different phones in the marketplace means our folk have to be seriously on their game when it comes to selecting the correct knives and components to make the cases.

Of course, the work never stops; there is a constant stream of product passing from our manufacturing facility to our dispatch team and out into the mail system to finally make it to your mailbox.

And even if the phone vendors have decided that a common form factor works, we are now experiencing a proliferation of add-on accessories in the shape of extra life batteries and protective skins. Each of these has to be matched against our cases to provide you the product fit and quality you have come to expect from Nutshell over the years.

So...the game never ends. Just the shapes change with the passage of time.

If you have a product that you need us to find you a case for, please add the dimensions (length x width x depth) when you make an inquiry.

Although we can usually find the information someplace in the cyber-sphere, it does save time if we know immediately what sized Nutshell you are looking for.