Mobile phones status symbol for Gen Next

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Sydney, Jan 29: Phones are becoming less about technology and features and more about us, who we are, and the way we live and people are changing them frequently.

According to researcher Interactive Data Corp. about 9.5 million handsets were bought here in 2007 - putting the annual refresh rate at almost 50 per cent. As devices converge, people want a device that matches their lifestyle and what they enjoy doing. To tap into this demand, manufacturers are following the lead of handheld makers like Blackberry and Palm to devise cool brand names in the hope they will fall into generic usage, as they continue to cram their products with functions that you couldn't even perform on your home computer a decade ago.

Nokia says its N series handsets are classified as computers because of high-end features that allow users to create, edit and upload content directly to the internet.

Robin Simpson, a research director at Gartner Group, says anything with a microprocessor can technically be classified as a computer.

"But whether or not it is a computer is not so important.

Consumers only need to know what the device does do and what it doesn't do," he says.

Mr Novosel, says most devices from major vendors could "definitely take the place of a PC in limited uses" such as performing emergency editing while out and about.

Analysts warn that there is plenty of room for improvement in areas such a battery life and data download costs.

In the meantime, the consumers will want to choose from a very broad range of devices to satisty their unique requirements.

"There is no such thing as one size fits all. The Star Trek Tricorder won't be with us anytime soon."

UNI

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