Popular new gadgets are often highly visible
You've seen it happy many times. When meeting friends or business colleagues, you see they have a new gadget. They rave about it, show you what it can do and entice you into wanting one yourself.
In a product lifecycle, references such as these can increase the takeup of new designs very rapidly through a viral marketing effect.
Large size flat screen televisions have been one of the most popular consumer items in the last year or so. They're visible not only inside homes, but in bars and other public areas. The benefits are quickly described and understood, and their presence in the living room almost a status symbol.
Some gadgets are just highly fashionable, even if you don't need or use all their features. There are certainly quite a few Apple iPhone owners who I'm convinced only ever make voice calls and send text messages on them.
Femtocells aren't visible
It's more difficult to get excited or show off a small box that's tucked away inside a cupboard under the stairs, or in a study/computer area. You can't take it around with you and show it off to your friends.
Femtocell references may be hard to come by in their early days - let's face it, installation of your latest new WiFi access point isn't such a hot topic as your new phone/car/clothes etc.
Some femtocell models are made for the living room
Motorola have tried to buck the trend by combining their femtocell with a digital picture frame. This benefits the performance of the unit, because it's located even closer to the users. It can be shown off to friends and family when they visit, but will still be seen as a bit technical (dare I say geeky).
So selling this on benefits will be key
To encourage mass takeup, operators will have to look at ways of creating more of a buzz and media hype around the benefits of owning a femtocell. For areas without good indoor coverage, solving this problem should be an easy winner.
Another method will be to incorporate the femtocell into a unit which performs more tasks, such as a WiFi broadband router and/or IPTV set. Upselling the add-on value of excellent coverage, call quality and data experience may be easier to customers already looking to upgrade to a new system.
Alternatively, we might see some fruits from 3rd party application developers who are being encouraged to create many new innovative applications which can be shown to friends.