Handset vendors open own retail stores

An interesting branding war is playing itself out. As mobile operators begin pushing for their own brands placed on mobile phones, handset makers are fighting back by introducing their own retail stores. In a move the vendor hopes will build brand loyalty and show off its phones' features, Nokia plans to open 18 stores in cities around the world within the next 18 months in places like New York, Los Angeles, Paris and London. Motorola will open one in Moscow, while Sony has several flagship stores. It's an intriguing concept that may just help vendors distinguish their products from one another. This is a market dominated by me-too products, but handset makers also have to be careful not to upset the carrier ecosystem when it comes to selling service plans.

To read more about handset vendors' marketing strategies:
- take a look at this article from The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)