Monday, September 24, 2007

Millennial Opportunities: Nokia breaks into the language diversity- making Amharic handset for Ethiopians

Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity-

Nokia Introduces Amharic-Pad Feature to Mobile Phones

The Reporter (Addis Ababa)

22 September 2007
Posted to the web 24 September 2007

By Kaleyesus Bekele

The mobile phone giant Nokia, on Thursday launched the first mobile handsets that feature Amharic.

At the launching ceremony held at the Sheraton Addis, the company displayed new products - Nokia 1200, 1208, 2630 and 2760 - which have features and applications specifically designed for markets such as Ethiopia.

The products will give customers an option to operate the features written in Amharic the language. The five products are equipped with an Amharic keypad.

Levi Girma, Nokia accounts manager, told journalists that customers who would use the new products could exchange text messages written in Amharic.

Levi said users could also write text messages in other local languages by using Amharic alphabets.

"We are working with the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation to interface the new service with the existing system of the local operator. We are testing the system," he said.

The price of the new handsets is between 35 and 90 dollars excluding customs duty, transportation and other costs.

The new handsets would soon be available for sale through Nokia's authorized distributor in Ethiopia, Glorious PLC. All handsets purchased from the authorized distributor will have a 12-month warranty.

Pioter Labuszewski, area manager for Nokia in East Africa, said that Nokia was the first handset manufacturer to launch local languages in countries like, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Mozambique, adding that the launch of the Amharic based devices will further enhance the convenience for the Ethiopian market.

"We have seen the benefits of adding local languages across the continent and we expect similar results in Ethiopia," he said.

Established in 1865, Nokia has a 38 percent market share in the global market. Its annual sales amount to over 41 billion euro.

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