Handling changes

Speculation in the market suggests the influx of smartphones in the mobile devices space has led to a slowdown in end-user demand for handheld data-centric devices. Vishnu Taimni, product manager handhelds, HP Middle East, gives his view of developments of this nature in the region.

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By  Administrator Published  August 15, 2007

Speculation in the market suggests the influx of smartphones in the mobile devices space has led to a slowdown in end-user demand for handheld data-centric devices. Vishnu Taimni, product manager handhelds, HP Middle East, gives his view of developments of this nature in the region.

How would you describe a handheld and what are some of the new features and applications that are being included in these devices today?

Handhelds are usually positioned as data-centric pocket-sized devices used mainly for business applications. There are various PDAs coming out with both 3G and HSDPA compatibility for faster connectivity. These devices are also coming with higher resolution cameras and more storage capacity to bridge the gap with some smartphones in the industry.

The integrated GPS feature is also something that we expect to take off as country maps in the Middle East become more widely available at an affordable cost. Focus will be on the classic data-centric handheld space and will introduce new models with larger screens, integrated wireless capabilities and fast processing power. Soon there will be converged devices available to the market with 3G and HSDPA technology for faster connectivity.

It has been claimed by Gartner that there is a slowdown in the sales of handhelds, what is your opinion on this?

Although the traditional handheld business has slowed down to a certain extent, we are seeing major growth in the converged (voice and data communication) devices segment across the region.

Some say that converged devices such as smartphones are replacing handhelds? How do you upgrade handhelds to fight in this battle?

Converged devices have definitely started cannibalising classic handheld sales especially in the consumer and SMB segment of the market. By definition, a smartphone combines PIM (Personal Information Management) software with a mobile phone.

However, it is worth pointing out that smartphone uptake in the Middle East has not been very strong, as the market has been slow to accept such devices without the touch-screen feature.

We are working closely with Microsoft to generate some awareness in the smartphone space and educate customers of the benefits of the new MS win Mobile 6.0 O/S. In the handheld space the focus is on the integrated GPS (navigation) and VoIP as a means of reducing companies' overhead costs and other voice enabled features for easier and more efficient communication.

Why do you think mobile phones are being used increasingly as entertainment centres and not just to make phone calls?

With high-resolution cameras and MP3 players being integrated into mobile phones, consumers are finding it easier to use the mobile as an all-in-one communication and entertainment device.

Mobile phones are convenient to carry with you everywhere and we have observed that customers prefer to have their other entertainment requirements integrated into one device.

The average user does not have very specialised imaging requirements when they travel which makes most of the integrated cameras in mobile phones quite satisfactory in meeting their requirements.

Why do you think handhelds are such an important tool for business users?

Handheld devices allow business users instant connectivity/access to a variety of data such as emails, internet, and corporate networks. The impact of this is to increase productivity as members of a staff team can access valuable information both in the office and on the move, which can have the effect of increasing profitability and efficiency for businesses.

We have found this to be the case particularly with businesses whose staff teams often have to work from remote locations as it allows professionals quick and easy access to information as and where they need it.

What are the new trends or technologies that can enhance a customer's entertainment experience?

Moving forward, I expect the handheld or mobile phone to be the centre of all communication and entertainment needs. It will allow users to access the internet at high speeds, listen to and store MP3 files, capture both still and moving image files as well as share them. Some of the new technologies HP is currently giving consideration to are SDPA/HSUPA based devices with higher resolution cameras.

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