$99 BlackBerry-like smartphone launched
Synchronica launches entry-level MessagePhone that is aimed at emerging markets
A $99 smartphone that specifically targets countries in emerging markets has been launched by mobile messaging solutions firm Synchronica.
The MessagePhone, which is the result of collaboration between Synchronica and Korean Device Manufacturer KC Mobile, comes bundled with Synchronica's Mobile Gateway to enable push email and mobile synchronisation services, mobile IM, web browsing and access to social networking sites.
Two models have been introduced under the MessagePhone brand - QS150 and QS200. Both have a 2.2" colour screen and full QWERTY keypad with dedicated ‘read' and ‘compose' buttons for emails. MessagePhone's internet browser is Bitstream's BOLT that's designed to display full PC-style web pages on all types of mobile devices.
In a sample QS150 unit shown to ITP.net, MessagePhone is branded on the front of the handset, with the KC Mobile manufacturer logo at the back though that can be replaced and customised with operator branding. The unlocked phone works well with personal and professional accounts for push email, has a basic VGA camera, 10MB user memory, a useful microSD slot for memory expansion up to 4GB, and an interesting e-book reader application, but no WiFi so users have to rely on just GPRS.
In comparison, the QS200 has a higher 20MB internal memory, a 1.3MP camera, FM radio and Bluetooth added on.
"With two contracts for the MessagePhone already agreed, and a significant addressable market in emerging economies - where the mobile Internet is a cost-effective alternative to the lack of fixed-line/PC penetration - we are confident that the device will prove successful," said Carsten Brinkschulte, CEO of Synchronica.
In November last year, the firm got a 100,000 order for the device from a ‘Central-African' mobile operator and another one early this February from an operator in Latin America for 20,000 units.
MessagePhones are being sold with all-inclusive price as low as $99 (AED 364) to carriers which can be branded and customised to specific operator requirements.
No deals have been signed for the entry-level push email phone by any Middle Eastern operator just yet but a spokesperson for the company confirmed to ITP.net that it's possible that the device could be sold to companies other than just operators as worldwide distribution is handled through Miami-based Brightstar.