A few years ago, Blackberry was more or less a geek organiser, a strictly-for-work device, which was very expensive. But today, Nokia, Treo, O2, Dopod, Motorola, iMate and others have usurped Blackberry from its numero uno throne, while adding the look good factor as well to these devices. Catering to the expanding market, handset makers like Nokia and Motorola are now augmenting these phones with MP3 players, cameras, video, radio and other multimedia features. ''The corporate users are taking to multimedia features along with business-specific functions and all of this is happening at considerably lower price points,'' Samsung Telecommunications India Country Head Sunil Dutt said. This also appeals to the non-business users and even they want to buy these phones, he added. ''Traditionally, it was the executive class playing with the Blackberry and its like, but now more and more people are shifting to the so-called business phones,'' Mr Dutt added.
Sony Ericsson Product Group Marketing Head Dhiraj Soni said his company was focussing on providing converged mobile device. Sony Ericsson has launched its premium brand Xperia, eyeing the growing market. ''The Xperia X1 will further strengthen the Sony Ericsson brand and place us on the forefront of mobile convergence,'' Mr Soni said. The phone will be launched in the later half of the year. LG is also showcasing its Viewty KU990, KF600, KF510 and KS20 smart phone at the ongoing MobileAsia 2008. ''Our future line-up of GSM phones with 'intuitive intelligence' based technology have the adaptability of touchscreens. We see touchscreens as a growing trend in the mobile industry. This year LG will focus on creating products with advanced features, multimedia capabilities as well as ease of use,'' company Business Group Head (GSM) Anil Arora.
The LG-KS20 smartphone sports Windows Mobile 6 software, full internet browsing capabilities allowing a 3.6 Mbps speed via HSDPA and dual cameras for video conferencing.
A professional-level camera phone, LG Viewty is equipped with three-inch touch screen with Mobile XD engine for vivid display, five megapixel camera with manual focus option, image stabiliser and an ISO up to 800 for indoor or night shooting. It can record videos at up to 120 frames per second. It comes with a stylus to digitally write on photos and edit files.
Samsung will also launch i550, D880 and i780 targeting this segment. While i550 will be priced at Rs 25,000, the D880 model will be available at 13,779. Both the phones will hit the market next week while i780 will be available in the second quarter of the year. So, while the government proposes to increase the prices of the handsets, the manufacturers fight a battle of their own to capture the market while keeping the prices under check, making the handsets more affordable for the Generation Next.