CommunicAsia 2010: Platform for handset launches

Staff Writer
11 Aug 2010
00:00

Handset launches highlighted CommunicAsia2010 in June, with bundled internet access as well as satellite communication making some of the best impressions during the yearly event. Yahoo unveiled a new messaging app and a phone with bundled Yahoo access. At the same time, Inmarsat debuted a handheld satellite phone.

Yahoo's app and access bundle launched in Indonesia, with launches in neighboring territories set to follow, as the US internet firm aims at emerging markets in the region.

Inmarsat's IsatPhone Pro is aimed at so-called classic satellite phone users in vertical industries. The device offers up to eight hours talk time and up to 100 hours on standby, which Inmarsat claims is the longest battery life of any handheld satellite phone.

Also at this year's CommunicAsia, NTT DoCoMo bared plans to leverage its experience with i-mode to become an "exchange hub" for apps developers and smartphone users. Part of NTT DoCoMo's strategy includes its new mobile web portal, "docomo market," which aggregates apps and content from other app store platforms to make them more discoverable for users.

In the concurrent Summit panelists pondered the issue of how much government intervention is needed for universal broadband, considering that national broadband network schemes are plagued by political uncertainties and unrealistic business models.

Speakers were particularly critical of Australia's NBN project, which was described as "extraordinary" and "departing from the principles of good regulation."

Richard Pascoe, partner at Gilbert + Tobin, put it more strongly. "I think we're in danger of taking collective leave of our senses," he said, remarking on the amount of money being spent on NBN projects in Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia. "How on earth will these networks make any money?"

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