Free to roam

Mobile computing options have never been so varied and so accessible, even on a modest budget.

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By  Adrian Bridgwater Published  June 22, 2008

"From a technology point of view, two main technologies need to be followed closely - 3G and WiMax. Most of our products are ready for them, it is now the operators turn to push these technologies through and provide the required infrastructure.

Without 3G or WiMax true mobility will never be achieved and the Middle East is in a perfect position to lead the world in this area, especially with WiMax," said Santosh Varghese, regional general manager for Toshiba's computer systems division.

Smartphone sufficiency

With mobile computing power now available in the Middle East in so many different sizes, the question now for many users is just how small they should go? Will they always have room to put down a full spec laptop on their lap, or would a smaller sub-notebook be better? Or in reality, would a good smartphone suffice?

Research In Motion's (RIM) latest BlackBerry Bold smartphone very much targets the business professional as it ships with support for tri-band high-speed networks around the world and comes with integrated GPS and Wi-Fi along with a set of other multimedia capabilities.

According to RIM, with its newly enhanced browser and high-resolution display, the BlackBerry Bold smartphone gives users an on-the-go web browsing experience with a desktop-style feel as the trackball even mimics a mouse.

While consumers across the Arab technology market may regard many of the mobile computing developments they see as surface level developments focused primarily on the devices that end up in their hands, a huge amount of work is going on behind the scenes.

Companies like Qualcomm have been busy building new entertainment platforms that enable the broadcasting of high-quality video, audio and IP ‘data-casting' streams to mobile handsets.

As operators in the Middle East move toward offering increasingly rich multimedia services, we're seeing a great deal of demand for more processing power, greater speed and better applications.

At Qualcomm, we are creating wireless technologies that deliver these user experiences - be it Internet connectivity, mobile TV services, gaming, music and other content sharing and streaming," said Pertti Johansson, president of Qualcomm Middle East and Africa.

"On the device side, we've set milestones in developing products such as the 1GHz Snapdragon mobile computing platform, which features a dedicated application processor and support for 12 megapixel digital photos and high-definition video imaging.

These design breakthroughs will lead to new breeds of consumer devices, new innovations in service delivery and new ways for consumers to interact with their world," he added.

Cherry picked selection

To try and compile a list of what's hot in the emerging mobile device market for us in the Middle East would be a never ending task. If we were to half complete the list - the constant stream of new products hitting the shelves would most likely render our selection obsolete as soon as we were finished.

Better perhaps then to cherry pick one or two final products worth mentioning.

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