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Starmobile launches new phones

Local gadget brand Starmobile launched 11 new phones and tablet computers this week in an attempt to grab a larger chunk of the Philippines’ P5 billion-a-month mobile device market.

In a press conference earlier this week, Starmobile unveiled its mid-year line of devices, comprised of two feature phones, five smartphones and four tablet computers.

The company also opened its first concept store in Metro Manila, at SM North Edsa in Quezon City. It was the company’s second store in the country, with the first one in Davao.

“Where we stand right now, the market is worth P5 billion a month just for smartphones,” Starmobile product marketing head Elijah Mendoza said in an interview. “We want more of that,” he added.

He said the latest report by research firm GfK showed that Starmobile was the best-selling local brand for tablet computers in the country.

The company’s share in the more lucrative smartphone segment, however, has not yet reached significant levels.

“We just started last year, so we are growing very fast,” he said.

The latest study by GfK showed smartphone sales in the Philippines rose 146 percent in the 12 months ending in April—the fastest growth rate among Southeast Asian nations.

The firm said the increase in sales was driven mainly by demand for phones in the $100 to $200 price range, which are offered by local companies that rebrand phones and tablets built in China.

Mendoza said the smartphone market still has plenty of room for growth.

“If we follow the trend in other countries like Thailand, there are over 100 local brands there, and the market is still thriving. Here in the Philippines, I’m not sure if we even have 10 local brands,” Mendoza said.

Leading Starmobile’s new line of smartphones is the Diamond V3, which sports a 5.3-inch screen and runs on Android Jellybean, the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system.

Starmobile also launched the country’s first mobile device capable of receiving digital TV signals, the Engage 7 TV.

The 7-inch tablet uses the Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISDB) digital TV technology from Japan. Both media conglomerate ABS-CBN Corp. and government-run NBN already have test broadcasts using digital TV.

Starmobile is owned by Star Telecom Alliance Resources Inc. (Star Inc.), which is run by telco industry experts from the Philippines and abroad. Paolo G. Montecillo

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Tags: Business , new phones , starmobile

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