A mobile phone that is now not only a camera, MP3 player and recording device but also your calorie counter and gives beauty tips too?
As India leapfrogs generations of mobile telephony to become the world's largest mobile phone market, handsets of various shapes, colours, sizes and features are entering the market to lure consumers of all ages and sections.
Mobile phones today have donned myriad shades in a maddening chase to cater to the consumer's needs and demands, morphing into an "instrument of convergence".
"Today the key word is convergence. Urban consumers today don't just want voice clarity or talk time, today they want camera, radio, video player, television everything in one device," HS Bhatia, national product head, LG India said.
"And the unique thing among Indians is that they want everything to be pocket-friendly," Bhatia said on the sidelines of the Oct 13-16 Mobile Asia 2006 exhibition in New Delhi.
The Rs 75 billion-LG India group has a mobile handset range called Chocolate Phone which it claims would be your "personality definer". The company recently brought out another range of its Chocolate series, naming it the Black Label series. The handsets were of Red Wine, Pink and White colour and priced at Rs 15,500-16,000.
"Chocolate has been an amazing international success, smashing sales records in many countries. LG has globally sold over three million chocolate phones since its May launch," said Bhatia.
Finnish-mobile giant Nokia has launched a handset—model 5500—that, apart from playing music, takes care of your fitness too with a calorie counter. The mobile, when strapped to the body while exercising, can check the number of calories lost and the time spent.
"We are pretty excited about our new model 5500, which has a calorie counter. It comes with a special strap that can be attached to the body while you run, jog or walk. It will be able to tell you how many number of laps you have covered and how many calories are lost," said Devinder Kishore, director, marketing, Nokia India.
Shaleen Raizada, 34, a professional artist, who had come to the exhibition to buy a phone for her mother-in-law, said: "I think it's a nice idea to have a calorie meter in the phone. If one accepts a camera, video and radio in the phone, then why not a calorie counter? But, obviously, the price would not be feasible for everyone."
The handset will be made available in India in various retail outlets from next week.
That's not all. Samsung Telecommunications India, a 100 per cent subsidiary of South Korea's Samsung Electronics Ltd, will be launching a phone exclusively for women—D400—with beauty and safety tips by the first quarter of 2007.
The phone will be manufactured by the company's manufacturing unit in Haryana, which started its operation in March this year with an initial investment of $15 million.
Sutikshan Naithani, vice president, sales and marketing, Samsung India, said: "We recently launched a credit-card sized mobile phone which is priced around Rs 21,499. The response to the phone has been tremendously good.
"Today whether one is 23 years old or 53, mobile phones have become a style statement—something to make your peers jealous and friends fancy."
India has a mobile subscriber base of 125 million and around six million connections were added last month. The country's subscriber base is expected to touch 300 million by 2011 with more penetration in rural areas.