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Home > Business > Special

Check out these stylish mobiles

Priyanka Joshi | January 28, 2006

If first impressions count, then these cool, fashionable, somewhat quirky mobile phones should click with Indians. Today, when fashion extends to everything - from bottled water to makeup, from sunglasses to designer perfumes, it's couture that stands out.

So, what exactly happens in the name of sprucing up mobile sets? New colours are added, different phone shells (flip top or sliding covers) are debated upon, the corners/ edges are snipped at and some camera or music features added.

Twenty-seven-year-old Nupur Sethi, team leader at a leading BPO, feels, "My mobile phone is a statement of who I am and to some extent it's a status symbol too." To keep herself in line with the latest trends, she changes her mobile set once every 18 months. "Like I plan my wardrobe for the seasons ahead, I follow the same rule for mobile phones."

Don't be surprised by the escalating number of people who accessorise their designerwear with the right mobile phone. And even mobile manufacturers seem to believe in the mantra of the replacement market. "If you can't sell more phones, then you try and get them to change phones, and if you are creating a fashion element to it, they'll change them more frequently," says an analyst.

Taking their cue, leading mobile manufacturers like Nokia, LG and even smaller players like Spice have launched a slew of phones. While the newly launched phones boast no pathbreaking technological advancements, they are certainly encased in smarter bodies. The most impressive of the lot seems to the Nokia's L'Amour Collection, which are targeted at women consumers.

With the addition of three trend-inspired mobile phones - the Nokia 7360, 7370 and 7380 - the company adds another feather to its already crowded hat. Industry sources label the L'Amour Collection a mixed bag. It integrates ethnic influences along with craft techniques such as enameling and etching, with materials like ceramic, silk and enamel. If you are into leather, then the Nokia 7380 is for you.

This tech-beauty comes with a leather cover complete with a mirrored display and keyless dial (read flat dial). Lookswise, the 7380 must bag all awards, but one might have to unlearn a few things while messaging, thanks to its keypad design.

The Nokia 7370 opens up to reveal a hidden keypad, comes with metal trimmings and etched patterns. Nokia believes that this one is guaranteed to make heads turn. A step below the 7380 (which has a 2 megapixel camera), the Nokia 7370 is packed with 1.3 megapixel camera.

The collection, to cut a long story short, blends old world art deco styling with a modern twist. Nokia's 7260 is a flamboyant mix of chrome and steel. The S-shaped keypad is a fresh concept for Indian crowds. One can also enhance the style of the Nokia 7260 with accessories like straps and carry pouches.

"Today, chauffeurs, plum-bers, electricians and even maids in metropolises like Delhi and Mumbai have mobiles," says 34-year-old Rajesh Kashyap who is constantly on the lookout for a new mobile phone. It is people like him and Sethi who are target consumers for companies like LG, which has launched three models, the P7200, S5200 and S5000, in the high-end segment and the C2500 in the mid-segment.

The clam shell P7200 seems to be the favourite at LG's stable. The phone has almost the same functionalities as Nokia's 7280, but the difference is in design. Try clicking a few pictures with its 180 degree swivel screen and you will see how quickly people notice your mobile at any gathering. The S5200 comes with a slider cover, something which is new for LG, and sits snugly in your pocket as it weighs only 95 grams.

While leading handset manufacturers are encouraging consumers to trade up to more fashionable and expensive models, Spice mobiles is busy wooing entry level consumers. With three new models priced between Rs 2,000- 5,000, Spice is clearly in favour of volumes.

The company has launched a light and compact collection of coloured phones (but don't expect a camera at Rs 5,000). While the phones are well-designed, the keys are too closely placed for fat-fingered consumers. The wow factor is clearly missing in Spice but the price factor is what might bail it out.

The features are at par with a Nokia 6030 or a Nokia 2100, barring the fact that Spice S-600 and S-555 are coloured phones. They even have an MP3 player to keep you entertained and surprisingly the sound quality is good.

If 'stepping out in fashion' is what mobile companies are hoping for, what remains to be seen is whether Indians are ready to flaunt their fashionable mobiles in 2006?

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