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LG points users to Mecca

LG Electronics has unveiled its new F7100 mobile phone, which is claims is the first handset to incorporate an indicator that points to Mecca.

LG Electronics has unveiled its new F7100 mobile phone, which is claims is the first to incorporate an indicator that points to Mecca. The F7100 incorporates inbuilt longitude and latitude orientation and 412 city references that, when used in comparison to the magnetic north, indicate the direction of Qiblah (the direction of the sacred shrine of the Ka'bah in Mecca). The phone also includes a fully usable digital compass and call to prayer alarms.

"No matter where the faithful are at the call to prayer, they will be able to easily identify the direction of Mecca with this phone," said Kenn Suh, executive vice president, Telecommunication and Hand Set Division, LG Electronics. "Currently, mobile phones are taking to the mainstream by catering to local geographical and cultural demands. The unveiling of the compass mobile phone at this time is part of such strategy to meet customer needs."

In addition to its religion specific features, the GPRS enabled F7100 includes Java applications support, an answering machine, 40-tone polyphonic ring tones, MMS, EMS and a personal organiser featuring calendar, clock, alarm, world time, currency converter, calculator, phone book (up to 250 entries) and games. It also weighs 89 grams and features a unique slide-down keypad design.

The F7100’s digital compass requires calibration before it can be used in order for it to accurately differentiate between true and magnetic norths. After choosing its Calibration option, users must slowly rotate the phone around 360-degrees and then select their current city location from the provided list of 412. If their city isn’t listed, it is possible to go online, calculate their longitude and latitude co-ordinates, and input these into the phone to add their city’s location.

LG is initially launching the phone into the GCC region and Iran at a price of $200, though it plans to widen the handset's distribution over time to other Asian countries including Malaysia and Indonesia.

LG expects to sell between three hundred and four hundred thousand F7100 units each year. LG sold a global total of one million branded handsets in 2003 and expects to double this figure in 2004.

According to Abdul Jabbar Al Sayegh, president of Al Sayegh Brothers Trading (LG's sole distributor in the UAE), his company sold 50,000 LG handsets in the UAE last year and in the first six months of this year boosted this figure to 150,000. "LG Electronics and Al Sayegh Brothers Trading have always paid close attention to the needs of the local market, and this important focus is a key reason for our shared success," he remarked.

LG today also confirmed it is planning to launch a one mega pixel folding camera phone into the region shortly, with eight new handsets due to be released over the remainder of this year.

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