Mobile personal trainer

Mobile phone technology is continually changing. Companies in this field must continually upgrade their products and come up with new accessories to stay ahead in the market. The latest 'must-have' accessory is 'miCoach' developed by Samsung and Adidas. For those who cannot afford a personal trainer, this would appear to be the next best thing. The micoach website states: 'More than a phone, MP3 player, or a website, miCoach is a total coaching system that creates personalised training plans, keeps tabs on your status and coaches you along the way.'

miCoach claims to be a 'total coaching system'. It requires the user to strap a mobile holder to the upper arm, strap the heart monitor around the top of the ribcage and fix the 'foot pod' pedometer to the running shoes. The system then monitors the runner's heart rate, keeps track of how far they have run and how many calories have been burnt, as well as giving motivational comments on progress. (The Times, 10 March 2007)

Initially the runner needs to run as fast as possible for a mile and then walk for a minute in order for the heart to return to normal. This enables the system to assess the runner's fitness and determine whether the runner is a beginner or more advanced. The user's next step is to log on to the website to input their age and weight. This will result in the system setting a personal training plan from the 200 programmes available. (The Times, 10 March 2007)

The Times 100 case studies has two companies in the mobile market, 3 and Vodafone, who are taking different strategies for developing their markets.

  • As a mobile network provider, 3 recognised that 3G was the way forward for market development. 3G is a development first developed on a major scale in Japan in 2001, providing the capability for wireless communications. 3 seeks to provide the best network available for mobile phone users and is the market leader in 3G in this country. During 2007, 3 launched a high-speed service with a target speed of 1.8 Mbytes per second.
  • The first mobile phone call was made on the Vodafone network in 1985. Vodafone is now one of the largest phone companies in the world with more than 15 million users in the UK alone. The market in which it works is high-tech and keeps changing as customers' requirements and expectations increase. Not only does it need new products to keep up with the market, Vodafone must communicate clearly to customers the benefits of these products.


The Times, 10 March 2007 (print edition)

The Times Online – Mobile phone that wants to make you fit – 10 March 2008

adidas miCoach

The Times 100 Case Studies -Theory Pages – Product life cycle

The Times 100 Case Studies – Hutchison 3G – Market leadership in the 3G market

The Times 100 Case Studies – Vodafone – Using Business Principles to support ethical communication

Potential Study Questions:

  • Describe the product life cycle with particular reference to the mobile phone market.
  • What is market segmentation?
  • What are niche markets? What customers do they serve? Evaluate whether you think miCoach might appeal to a niche market?