Friday, June 09, 2006

Can't live without my mobile

Can't live without my mobile
The Age 06/08/2006
Author: Louisa Hearn


If you value your mobile phone above your wallet, credit card or even your wedding ring, you may not be alone in your preferences according to a new international study.

One in five survey respondents, who were aged between 18-35, said their phone had become so indispensable they would be more upset about losing it than any of the personal items listed above.

According to Nokia, which commissioned the study, the findings indicate that mobile devices are not only serving as address books and calendars but are also rapidly replacing the gadgets we rely on in everyday life.

About thee-quarters of the 5,500 respondents interviewed admitted they used the device both as their alarm clock and their main watch or clock, and almost one in two people said they used their mobile device as their main camera.

India was hailed as the most prolific mobile photographic nation with 68 per cent of respondants using their phone to take the majority of their photographs.

When it comes to the music download market dominated by Apple's iPod music player, 67 per cent of respondents said they expected a music-enabled mobile to replace their current digital music player in the future. Almost half of the respondents also wanted their printer, PC, stereo, TV and mobile to be interconnected, and in Saudi Arabia 72 per cent wanted their refrigerator included in that network.

Tapio Hedman, senior vice president of multimedia marketing at Nokia, said: "The results strongly demonstrate that people are buying into the idea of convergence. They really do want one device that does it all, from taking quality images, to storing their music collections and operating a digitally connected home."

Mobile phones are increasingly being marketed as an extension of the user's personality, and there have even been recent reports of people asking to be buried with their mobile phones alongside other personal possessions. But with mobile phone market penetration hitting new highs in many countries, handset makers are now looking to high-end consumers with money to burn on high-end functionality and designs.

Last week LG launched a brand new handset called "Chocolate" for the top end of the market. Retailing at $799, the sleek, black handset features a high-tech touch-keypad and is the company's first effort in the luxury phone segment.

Not to be outdone, Motorola will launch its RAZR V3i Dolce & Gabbana in Australia later this month. In its latest collaboration with the Italian designers, the phone will be available in either gold or silver, and will retail at $899.

Tapping into the digital music explosion comes the latest in Nokia's Nseries multimedia range of phones, also due out this month. With a price tag of $1199, the Nokia N91 has been optimised for mobile music with a 4GB hard drive to store 3000 tracks, a stereo headset jack, wireless LAN support, dedicated music keys, and PC synchronisation to the Windows Media Player.

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