Wed, Sep 21, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Dopod launches its pocket-sized 3G mobile device

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Local handset maker Dopod International Corp (多普達) yesterday launched the first custom-made mobile device enabling transmission of third-generation (3G) technology -- the Dopod 900 -- for Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), targeting the growing local 3G market.

Chunghwa Telecom's 3G subscribers will have easier access to their e-mails by pushing just one button on the pocket PC.

"We believe the introduction of 3G services will stimulate demand for the handset as the service allows for faster Internet connections," Jack Tong (董俊良), chief executive of Dopod, said yesterday on the sidelines of a press conference.

Dopod, 14 months old, is Taiwan's only smart-phone vendor. Tong said sales in Taiwan reached around 60,000 units in the first six months of this year, which accounted for a mere 1 percent of the annual sales of 6 million units.

The Dopod 900, equipped with Microsoft's latest operating system -- Windows Mobile 5.0 -- is targeting notebook computer users and businessmen doing a lot of traveling, Tong said.

As the size of the phone is only one-sixth of that of a laptop computer, Tong expected sales to exceed 20,000 units by the end of this year, based on an annual notebook-user increase of 600,000 in Taiwan.

"I'm optimistic about the sales of the Dopod 900 as some 3 percent to 5 percent of new note-book users will adopt the new platform," Tong said.

The sales estimate appears aggressive when compared to market researcher Gartner Inc's projected sales of 109,000 WCDMA mobile phones equipped with 3G chips in Taiwan this year.

Global sales of WCDMA 3G handsets will more than triple to around 58 million units this year, compared to 18 million units last year, with Japan and Europe recording the fastest growth, according to Gartner.

Chunghwa Telecom's 3G users will now pay discounted prices of between NT$28,880 and NT$25,380 for a number and a Dopod 900. The phone will be priced at NT$34,900 when it is released on the market next month.

The Dopod 900, the world's first 3G pocket PC, has not only generated an enthusiastic response locally but also overseas, Peter Chou (周永明), president of High Tech Computer Corp (宏達國際), said yesterday.

High Tech, Taiwan's biggest smart-phone maker on a contract basis, supplies phones to Dopod and some of the world's major mobile-phone operators such as Sprint Nextel Corp of the US and the UK's Vodafone Group Plc.

Chou said that his company started to ship the handset to its clients last month and the phone will hit the local market in the next one or two months.

High Tech shares climbed by nearly 7 percent to NT$395.5 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday as investors reacted to expectations that the new product will boost sales.

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