The four-day Mobile Asia 2006 got underway in the Capital on October 13, 2006 amid much fanfare and showcasing the latest digital technologies across mobile networks and applications, network infrastructure and communications.
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil inaugurated Mobile Asia 2006, touted as the largest ever mobility event in the country. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Pankaj Mohindroo, National President, Indian Cellular Association (ICA), said, "Mobility for all is our vision. One out of every two Indians should have a mobile phone in the next few years." He further said, " Mobile handsets have witnessed tremendous growth in the last five years. The handset market has grown from Rs 200 crore to Rs 20,000 crore in just five years. Indian is the sharpest priced market as far as cellphone and mobile services are concerned."
Mobile Asia 2006 reflects a surge in industry confidence, as convergence becomes reality, wherein visitors get to experience the convergence of telecommunications, information technology, media and entertainment into a single device. Mobile phone enthusiasts will get to see the latest products and services that are expected to change the way consumers and businesses will use and interact with mobile phones. From infrastructure to deployment, Mobile Asia 2006 is showcasing the applications and solutions at different stages of the value chain for convergent technologies such as the complete mobility solution and mobile entertainment, mobile governance, mobile banking, mobile education, rural mobility.
Meanwhile, major handset manufactures announced a slew of launches at the exposition on the first day. These included Sony Ericsson, Nokia, LG, Samsung, and i-Mate, among others.
Sony Ericsson announced the launch of its latest range of Walkman phones in prices ranging from Rs 15,495 to Rs 30,995. The company also launched a Bluetooth-enabled watch.
Speaking on the occasion, Sudhin Mathur, General Manager, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, India said, "We are not just about product, but also about technology. We are also launching a new brand identity, where we aim to capture not just the mind, but also the hearts of the consumers. As part of the new brand identity, we are introducing more vibrant colours and a more youthful look, seeking a greater integration with the consumers. Our logo has also undergone a change, not in look but in its connotation. It now stands for what a consumer loves. For instance, 'I love ideas', 'I love to create', etc."
Nokia is showcasing its N-series and E-series hi-end phones as well as launched the Nokia 2310 and 2610 integrated with the unique 'one touch' feature to radio and the Internet. The company also reiterated its vision of 'Life goes mobile'.
Speaking on the occasion, G K Chakrapani, Country GM, Nokia Enterprise Solutions, said, "The 'Nokia for Business' strategy addresses the true needs of mobility to corporate leaders, IT managers and profesinals. Enterprises are waking up to the new order where workforces are getting increasingly mobile and there is a definite need to ensure their productivity even when they operate from remote locations."
LG too announced its extended Chocolate family. After the success of KG800, LG unveiled the variants in Black Label Series by adding colour to the present Chocolate phone in Red Wine, Pink and White.
i-Mate, a specialist in Microsoft Windows Mobile devises and software applications, introduced the i-Mate JAQ, touted as the world's first touch screen messaging PDA phone.
Meanwhile, Motorola revealed that it expected its manufacturing unit in India, set up at Sriperembadur near Chennai in the first quarter of 2007. Llyod Mathais, Director-Marketing, Motorola India, said that the company's manufacturing unit would make all categories of phones and had enough capacity to cater to the domestic as well as export markets in Asia.
With so much on offer the one major factor that emerged at the exposition was that the mobile phone is evolving from a mere communications device to hi-tech, multi-function gadgets – phone, computer, entertainment platform, email device all rolled into one.