By Marcus Webb
The C55, “a tiny mobile phone that packs in a big personality,” launched at show.
Siemens Mobile launched its latest offering, the C55, at the show today. Described as “a tiny mobile phone that packs in a big personality,” the C55 offers users the opportunity to not only download and play sixteen chord polyphonic ringtones, but also record their favourite sounds, however quirky they might be. The new phone offers extended SMS messages of up to 770 characters and enhanced messaging service (EMS), which allows you to embed pictures and sounds in the message sent across varying networks to other EMS-compliant handsets. This is supported by Siemens Mobile’s multilingual messaging systems developed specifically for the Middle East, which allows you to text in Arabic, English, Urdu and Farsi.A unique feature of the new phone allows you to download a favourite picture of a friend and save it in the phone book — when they call, the image will appear on the screen allowing you to always put a face to a name. “SMS has already become one of the fastest growing elements of mobile communications, especially among the younger generation,” says Asim Sukhera, head of Siemens Mobile Devices for the Middle East. “Here in the Middle East, this growth, together with a whole new language using icons and abbreviated words, is the core of the emerging youth culture.“The ability to personalise one’s mobile phone is a key factor in a purchase decision,” he added. Sukhera is very optimistic about the mobile sector in the Middle East saying that while there was only a five percent growth in the global sector, the Gulf region was experiencing a boom.“The current size of the GCC mobile phone market is five million units a year, set to grow by 40% annually,” he says. “The main reason for this growth is that there are a lot of potential first-time users as well as those who change or upgrade their phone models frequently.“In fact, the life cycle of a mobile phone has reduced from two years in 1998 to less than nine months in 2002,” Sukhera adds. “The GCC has one of the fastest turnaround times as far as replacement phones is concerned, which in turn is indicative of how mobile phones have changed from being just communication devices to lifestyle statements and fashion accessories.”