The mobile phone makers Nokia and Sony Ericsson both unveiled new handsets yesterday in an effort to kick-start the flagging handset market by encouraging consumers to upgrade existing models.
Both firms showed off mobile phones that have colour screens and that are capable of sending and receiving pictures and photos. Sony Ericsson announced a raft of handsets, including the T300, the T200 and the T600, while rival firm Nokia, the world's biggest mobile phone maker, introduced its 6610 model.
The new Nokia phone is expected to start shipping in the third quarter of the year. Sony Ericsson, meanwhile, said its T300 model would be on the market in the fourth quarter of the year and would be priced "for the mass market".
The launches came as the CommunicAsia mobile phone conference kicked off in Singapore and less than a week after Nokia was forced to slash its sales forecasts for the second quarter of the year. Handset makers and mobile phone operators alike are hoping the new models will encourage customers not only to buy new models but also to start using new services like picture messaging.
Picture messaging services enable mobile phone users to take photographs and send those pictures either to other mobile phones capable of displaying photos or to email addresses.
The success of those services are vital to the UK's mobile phone operators who are relying on them to get customers to spend more, thereby increasing their so-called Arpu, or average revenue per user, figures. Last week, Nokia said it expected second quarter sales to fall by 2-6 per cent to around €6.9bn to €7.2bn compared with previous guidance of 2-7 per cent growth. Mobile phone sales, it said, were expected to grow just 0-4 per cent in the second quarter – a dramatic reduction from previous guidance of growth of 5-10 per cent.
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