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February 17, 1998


Philips launches hands-free cell phone

Email this story to a friend. Philips Consumer Communications has launched an entry-level cellular phone, the Twist.

The phone comes with a headset, which once plugged in, leaves hands free while talking.

Announcing the launch of the new product, Tony Burt, the outgoing country manager of PCC, claimed the product is easy to use with a variety of
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features incorporated in it and provides good value for money.

He said the off-the-shelf price of the handset would be between Rs 10,000 and Rs 12,000 and since Philips has arrangements with individual cell phone service providers across the country, the final price of the cell phone would be determined by those service providers, he added.

He said the introduction of Twist is not meant to eat into the market of its earlier series of DIGA models, which would be priced around Rs 9,000, giving the customer more choice.

Twist has a battery, which gives up to 350 hours standby time, or 10 hours talk-time, and weighs 149 gm. It is the lightest cell phone in the market, according to company sources.

The features offered include nine keys which could be personalised for the most used functions, customised designs, one-key access to read new voice messages, 10 outgoing and 10 incoming call number memory and re-dial facility and missed calls indicator.

Sanjay Nischal, the new Country Manager of PCC, said that Twist is targeted at first-time buyers, both in the personal consumer and professional consumer categories.

Students, young people, homemakers and fashion conscious people are the target people in the personal segment, and self-employed people in the professional segment, he said.

This is Philips' fifth launch in the Indian market, the earlier prominent ones being the DIGA, Genie and the Spark models.

Burt said that Philips had a late start in the Indian market as the products were introduced only in September 1996. So, competitors such as Nokia, Ericsson and Siemens had managed to capture a sizeable chunk of the market.

However, he claimed that by the fourth quarter of 1997, DIGA, in particular, would manage to capture 23 per cent of the Indian market.

Burt foresees that by the end of 1998, Philips would have captured at least 20 per cent of the market in all of its ranges, with a projected sale of half a million handsets.

DIGA and Twist would form the bulk of the sales, he added. PCC, a Lucent Technologies (40 per cent) and Philips Electronics (60 per cent) venture, designs, manufactures and markets a complete range of products including digital and analogue cell and cordless phones, corded phones, answering machines, screen phones and pagers.

In 1997, the annual sales of the company were $2.5 billion. It has research, development, engineering and manufacturing facilities in the US, Mexico, the UK, France, Singapore and China.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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