MOBILE FAIR-UPDATE 1-Hundred-euro smartphones this year -Symbian

* Symbian sees 100-euro smartphones this year

* Analysts see increasingly aggressive pricing

By Tarmo Virki, European technology correspondent

BARCELONA, Feb 17 (BestGrowthStock) – The smartphone market will
continue to boom this year as handset vendors roll out new,
cheaper models and cut prices of the older phones — making them
more attractive to a mass-market audience.

First Symbian smartphones with unsubsidised prices of 100
euros ($137) will reach the market this year, the chief of the
world’s most widely used smartphone platform told Reuters in an
interview at the Mobile World Congress trade show.

“This year we will see a few products hitting that point,”
Lee Williams, head of the Symbian Foundation said.

The cheapest of Nokia’s Symbian phones sells now for 120-130
euros, without operator subsidies.

Component makers like Qualcomm (QCOM.O: ) and Infineon
(IFXGn.DE: ) are expected to play a key role in enabling cheaper
smartphones by driving down costs through manufacturing scale
and technical innovation.

“Operators are crying out for lower-cost smartphones to
reduce their subsidy burden and to seed the mass-market with
more advanced data devices,” said analyst Neil Mawston from
Strategy Analytics.

“Lower-cost smartphones will drive up vendors’ shipments,
but they will simultaneously push down average selling prices
and profit margins,” he said.

Prices of smartphones are falling fast as cellphone vendors
battle aggressively for a larger share of the more lucrative
part of the handset market.

Top hardware makers plan to roll out increasingly cheaper
smartphones in 2010 to compete with new rivals. Operators see an
opportunity to sell data packages to the fast growing part of
the market.

Earlier this month Samsung unveiled a plan to treble
smartphone shipments in 2010 and promote its own bada software
platform. Samsung said bada would expand the target market for
smartphones significantly in emerging markets. [ID:nLDE61D0C5]

“Symbian is well placed to dominate the entry-level
smartphone market because of its close ties with Nokia and a
huge presence in emerging markets such as China,” Mawston said.

Investing Analysis

($1=.7326 Euro)
(Reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

MOBILE FAIR-UPDATE 1-Hundred-euro smartphones this year -Symbian