Technology

Asian mobile giants launch race for smartphone market

February 27, 2012

BARCELONA, Feb 27 — Asian telecommunications giants fired the first salvo in the battle for the smartphone market, premiering ultra fast and light phones hours before today’s world’s biggest mobile phone show opened.

As the Mobile World Congress gathering tens of thousands of industry executives gets set to open its doors in Barcelona, China’s Huawei, South Korea’s LG and Taiwan’s HTC rolled out the world’s first quad core phones — with twice as fast processing power as the current generation of smartphones.

Workers unload trucks during preparations for the Mobile World Congress opening in Barcelona on February 26, 2012. The 2012 Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest mobile fair, will be held from February 27 to March 1. — AFP picWorkers unload trucks during preparations for the Mobile World Congress opening in Barcelona on February 26, 2012. The 2012 Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest mobile fair, will be held from February 27 to March 1. — AFP picFinnish giant Nokia, the former undisputed mobile phone maker, has meanwhile booked the early morning slot to showcase its new phones, which it is looking to help it reverse last year’s dismal result of over €1 billion (RM4.2 billion) in losses.

The group has been struggling to secure a foothold in the fiercely competitive smartphone market, with its flagship line Lumia failing to correct falling sales in the smartphone business.

In the fourth quarter, Nokia sold just 19.6 million smartphones, far behind market leader Apple, which reported 37 million units sold, and runner-up Samsung, which announced 36.5 million smartphone sales in the three months ending December.

But Nokia will find other keen competitors.

China’s Huawei touted its new Ascend D as the “world’s fastest smartphone,” in its major push to shed its image of a low-end manufacturer and rebrand itself in the premium market.

Huawei Device’s chief marketing officer Shao Yang told AFP while the regular mobile phone’s market had been fully exploited, there was a large market opportunity for the smartphone.

“With the transformation of the smartphone market, we see an opportunity,” he said.

World wide smartphone sales grew 53.5 per cent in 2011, and made up 34 per cent of all mobile handsets sold in the year, said Informa Telecoms and Media research agency.

It estimated that over a billion people would own a smartphone by 2013, underlining the massive market potential.

LG also sought to get a firmer grip on the smartphone market with a new quad core phone, the Optimus 4xHD.

Daniel Hernandez, the group’s marketing director for Europe, said that “there is nothing more powerful (than the model) on the market at the moment.”

He added that the colours were more natural on the screen, thanks to the rapid processor.

Taiwanese giant HTC meanwhile presented its new HTC One series, which its chief executive Peter Chou described as a “speed and performance beast.”

Besides selling its quad core capabilities, Chou sought to differentiate it from competitors by highlighting the phone’s camera capabilities.

“Our goal is to give you a camera that is so good that it has a power of a true digital camera on your phone,” said Chou, pointing out that the second most used function on a telephone, after making calls, is taking photos.

The phone autofocuses in 0.2 seconds — “literally faster than a blink of an eye,” and offers continuous shooting.

It also plugs into a television’s HDMI port, allowing the photos or videos to be viewed on a big screen. — AFP-Relaxnews