The growing popularity of social networks and the upcoming commercial 3G wireless broadband service are propelling smartphone and tablet demand upcountry.
A man draws a digital portrait on a tablet at the Thailand Mobile Expo 2013. The event, organised by M Vision and showcasing the latest smartphones, tablets and gadgets, runs through Sunday at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
The Thailand Mobile Expo 2013 opened Thursday at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.
There were plenty of new gadgets for tech lovers as well as simple-feature smartphones for people aged above 40 who are warming to social media.
The two smartphone segments expected to have the highest growth this year are priced from 3,000 to 5,000 baht and from 8,000 to 12,000 baht.
Smartphones will have up to five-inch screens, replacing the three- and four-inch screens of last year, said M Vision, the expo organiser.
Opas Cherdpunt, the chief executive of M Vision, said this year's event, projected to generate sales of 1.6 billion baht, does not have high-end smartphone launches like last year. The expo runs until Sunday at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.
"The new trend is existing smartphone users will buy new smartphones in the low to mid-price brackets for their older family members to replace their feature phones," he said.
Heavy competition among mobile makers will drive smartphone prices down, particularly in the mid-range segment, falling to 12,000 baht this year from 15,000 baht last year.
Thai Samsung Electronics unveiled its "Samsung Galaxy Grand", which has a five-inch display and dual SIM with a similar design to the Galaxy Note II. Its price tag is 11,900 baht, while the new Galaxy SIII Mini with a four-inch display is 10,900 baht, 15 per cent lower than announced earlier.
LG is offering its Nexus4 with a 4.7-inch display for 17,900 baht, while Motorola slashed its existing phone prices to clear its stock in the Thai market.
Oppo terminated its feature phone to focus on smartphones, introducing the Find 5, with a five-inch display and 13-megapixel camera at 16,990 baht.
Sony is offering the Xperia TX and Xperia V, with bigger displays and a 13-megapixel camera, at 16,990 baht.
Local mobile brands are trying to catch up by introducing larger displays on smartphones and unique features to differentiate themselves and compete with global brands.
Media Infinity, the local phone maker, is introducing its "Yaak" smartphone, which has a battery life three times longer than existing phones, priced at 7,490 baht for heavy phone users. Its price is 50 per cent lower than international brands.
Samart I-Mobile, the leading local brand, is offering various smartphones - the IQ3, IQ4 and IQ6 - with either 4.5- or five-inch displays. It emphasises smartphones priced between 4,500-9,000 baht, while its feature phones are below 1,500 baht.
The company expects to sell 3.2 million units in 2013. About 70 per cent of sales will be smartphones, compared to 40 per cent last year.
SpareOne, a US emergency phone, has a demonstration at the expo that focuses on how it only requires a single AA-battery to work, with a talk time of up to 10 hours and at a cost of 2,300 baht.
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