Thu, Dec 31, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Arcoa bucks the trend to focus on feature phones

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Despite signs that smartphones are set to become the driving force for handset growth, mobile phone retailer Arcoa Communications Co (全虹企業) said yesterday it would focus on feature phones next year.

The company is set to launch 22 new own-brand models next year, with two smartphone models — its first such offering — in the second half of the year. The rest will mainly be feature phones, said Flora Tang (唐淑珍), director of Arcoa’s device management department.

“There is momentum for smartphones in Taiwan, but growth isn’t as great as expected,” she said.

There are certain thresholds for mobile makers to launch smartphones, including high production costs and how much telecoms operators are willing to subsidize the models.

Smartphone models are expected to command less than 15 percent of all mobile phone sales in Taiwan next year, up from this year’s 10 percent, she said, projecting total phone sales next year would be similar to this year’s 6 million units.

International Data Corp (IDC) said last month that cellphone vendors shipped a total of 43.3 million smartphones worldwide during the third quarter, up 4.2 percent from the previous year and a rise of 3.2 percent from the second quarter.

The smartphone market is set to grow faster than the overall mobile phone market, IDC said, adding that the top five smartphone brands in the third quarter were Nokia, Research in Motion, Apple, HTC (宏達電) and Samsung.

Tang said the company aims to sell 150,000 phones next year — a figure similar to this year — and that its “Utec” brand phones would double as a sensor for powerpoint presentation or joystick to play computer games.

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