Arabic-enabled Smartphones enter the market

The iMate Smartphone is set to bring the UAE into a new world of digital connectivity, when it is released next month with its specialised applications and content for the Arabic speaking user in the Gulf region.

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By  Paul Barthram Published  March 22, 2003

To be released next month, the iMate Smartphone is set to bring the UAE into a new world of digital connectivity, with specialised applications and content for the Arabic speaking user in the Gulf region.

The system has been developed by one of Microsoft’s strategic partners the Dubai based Carrier Devices. Carrier Devices was formed in 2001 by a team from British Telecom’s mobile and wireless technology divisions, to specialise in making wireless handheld devices and carrier based services for the world market.

Carrier Devices is set to launch the new streamline iMate in the next two months in order to meet the demands of the Arabic market, with integrated dual language packs in Arabic and English to be released in May.

As well as voice and data functions, the new phones will allow users to email and browse the web using specially customised versions of Microsoft Outlook and Pocket Internet Explorer programmes, with the addition of realtime text communication through the MSN Messenger service.

Although the market has seen a growth of high-definition high-resolution phones and personal digital assistants (PDA’s) over recent months the iMate is set to be the first of its kind using the dual language programme.

Sirwin Baldar, Microsoft’s enterprise manager for the UAE stated: “While we have rolled out Arabic solutions with our partners in the last twelve months, it is the first time that we are coming out with one for the mobile phone sector.”

Although prices have not been confirmed, it is speculated they may retail around 2,000 to 2,500 dhs ($545 to $680), and are expected to be taken up by many high-end users.

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