UK-based mobile phone maker Sendo launched its Australian operations today, confident that the strength of its customised offerings will allow it will play alongside high-end mobile phone incumbents Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola.
While acknowledging that competition in the mobile hardware market was tough, Sendo chief executive Hugh Brogan claimed the company took a "different approach" to mobile communications.
"People want choice for personal products like these - that's why we focus on customisation," he said.
According to Brogan, current economic conditions were perfect for a new entrant to the mobile phone market as he said the environment was dynamic, with few competitors.
Such conditions, he said, would open huge opportunities to network operators, who control 78 per cent of the mobile phone marketplace.
"Operators are the most important factor in the supply chain. If they want to continue to grow, they have to keep acquiring subscribers through us," he said.
The company refused to disclose the name of its network operator here, with Brogan using a play on words, saying: "Yes, yes, we certainly do have an operator." He added that Sendo was in talks with a number of operators for testing.
Sendo's game plan is to compete with the big guns on price. "The market is being fought on price and that's making it a very competitive market. The only thing relevant to the user is the [price] of the phone," Brogan said.
As such, Sendo claims it will set the price of its top-tier handset in line with most high-end offerings from other mobile phone providors.
Sendo targets business or power users to the entry-level consumer, offering dual and triple-band phones. Its handets offer a range of operations from Microsoft Outlook or graphics downloading capability, voice dial, memo and command and up to 52 ringer tones.
Sendo's high-end handset - 2100 Smartphone - has an inbuilt MP3 player with stereo headset, e-mail, fax and SMS capabilities, an integrated HTML 1.2 browser, and allows for .25 gigabyte of data storage which can store a two-hour movie with full stereo, the company said.
Meanwhile, software giant Microsoft has bolstered Sendo's profile, announcing in February that Sendo agreed to ship its phones with Microsoft's smart-phone operating system - codenamed Stinger - later this year. Other Stinger hardware partners include Mitsubishi Electric, Samsung Electronics and Taiwan's High Tech Computer (HTC). Telstra will enter carrier trials for Microsoft's Stinger this quarter.
Brogan added that Sendo's launch would dispell industry perceptions that the PC industry was big business, and prove that the mobile phone industry was three times bigger than the computer industry.
"It's products which make the consumer electronics business, and the successful players are the specialists like Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola. It's about quality of products and not marketing might - that's why we think we have a chance," Brogan said.