[AI] 'Desi' stamp at global mobile 'mela'
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Sat Feb 16 22:29:09 EST 2008
Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Sunday, Feb 17, 2008
'Desi' stamp at global mobile 'mela'
- Photo: Anand Parthasarathy
GUIDE ME! Nokia's "Pedestrian Navigator" phone (left) with built-in compass and GPS receiver and Spice Telecom's braille edition of the made-in-India "People's
Phone" drew plaudits at the Barcelona Mobile Congress.
Barcelona (Spain): The biggest annual 'B4mela' of the mobile phone industry - the Mobile World Congress held here last week, saw some of the most compellingly
priced handsets, substantially crafted in India - vying for attention, among fancier, costlier offerings.
Low budget need not mean low on features - or so mobile handset leader Nokia feels. The Finnish company which pioneered the first made-for-India phone with
a built-in torch light, will soon offer entry level models with colour screens and cameras. In a special briefing for The Hindu during the Mobile Congress,
Alex Lambeck, vice-president for Entry Level Category Management, unveiled advance models of the Nokia 2600 camera-phone-FM Radio to be available in India
from this week, as well as the 1209 colour phone that will be launched in the second half of 2008.
The 2600, which also incorporates an FM Radio, is expected to retail for Rs. 3499. The1209 which allows up to five users to maintain separate phone number
books, will sell for Rs. 1800. It comes with a dust-resistant one-piece key mat. Key inputs into the phone designs came from Bangalore and Noida development
centres, Nokia B4s Chief Technology Officer Bob Iannucci says.
Nokia also used the Barcelona event as a launching pad for what is touted as the world's first 'pedestrian navigator-phone.' The Nokia 6210 incorporates
a receiver for the Global Positioning System (GPS) network of 24 satellites that provide accurate position information anywhere in the world. Supported
with local map software for the country or cities of interest, the phone helps lay a course from one's current position to wherever one wants to go. So
far, this is no different from the many car-navigation devices already available. What makes this a true walker's guide is the compass that Nokia has put
into the handset: working with the GPS inputs, it guides the phone owner, every step as he or she walks, reorienting the map on the screen to point at
the right direction of the destination.
This correspondent tried out a sample piece of the phone that will be available world-wide, including India, after June 2008 for around $330 equivalent.
With no knowledge of the local geography and challenged by lack of skill in the Spanish language, he could find his way, solely depending on the navigator
phone, from the venue of the Congress at Placa Espanya to Barcelona's highest vantage point, the hilltop Miramar Hotel.
Before it is offered in India, Nokia will tie up with local cartographic providers and use the resources of its recent acquisition Navteq, to create a full
data base of Indian maps.
Other GPS phone launches and cheaper GPS phone chips announced at Barcelona, seem to show that navigation may be the Next Wave on mobile phones.
Spice Telecom, known here as a mobile service provider in Karnataka and Punjab, made a splashy global debut at Barcelona, with an audacious launch of what
it called a People B4s Phone. Breaking the mould of conventional handset wisdom, the Spice phone optimised for voice calls and text messaging has no screen.
It will retail for under $20 said Chairman B.K. Modi briefing The Hindu, "I am looking at markets from Iraq to Indonesia - which has only 22 per cent telecom
penetration in a population of 230 million."
In another first, Spice offered a variant of the phone with a braille keypad for the visually challenged. The phones will become available in April in India.
Spice unveiled a Movie phone optimised to store and show three-and-a-half hours of movies on the move.
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