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Dell and ECS win mobile broadband notebook challenge

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Dell and Elitegroup Computer Systems were declared winners of the Mobile Broadband Notebook competition at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona ths week. The competition, intended to stimulate a recently identified yet untapped mass market for notebook PCs with embedded mobile broadband, called for notebooks in the sub-$1000 price range. The winners came in at sub-$800 …

The GSM Association (GSMA), representing the global mobile industry, this week announced Dell and Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) as the winners of its Mobile Broadband Notebook competition to stimulate the recently identified – though currently untapped – mass market segment for notebook PCs with embedded Mobile Broadband (HSPA) connectivity. The competition was announced following the most extensive market research programme ever undertaken into the consumer market for mobile computing, published by the GSMA and Microsoft last year. The research revealed a potential 70 million-unit opportunity, worth some $50 billion in 2008. Originally calling for Mobile Broadband notebooks in the sub $1000 (USD) price range, the competition has resulted in two winning products both at a sub $800 price, bringing affordable Mobile Broadband computing a step closer.

‚We announced this competition last November to challenge the world’s Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to meet this demand for Mobile Broadband notebooks,‚ said Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA and Member of the Board. ‚I’m pleased to announce Dell and ECS as the winners, as both have risen to the challenge and developed well thought-out notebooks offering the right price and out-of-the-box connectivity.‚

South Africa was included in the research project, with mobile network MTN playing a key role.

‚Through MTN South Africa’s relationship with the GSMA, we assisted in managing the South African leg of the world-wide research project. Internet access in South Africa is still underdeveloped and we believe that a mass market proposition is key in addressing the current market need,‚ said Ashraff Paruk, Head of Business Strategy and Business Development, MTN SA.

Dell, with its Inspiron 1525 device, won as the Best Commercially Available Mobile Broadband Notebook. ECS, headquartered in Taiwan, was chosen as a winner for producing a Best Pre-Commercial Mobile Broadband Notebook, the G10IL, an innovative design selected for its feature rich package, close match to consumer needs at an affordable price and a compact and light form factor. The Steering Committee, comprising supporting operators including Orange, Vodafone, Telefonica O2, TeliaSonera, Telecom Italia, Telstra, Maxis, DTAC, MTN and Turkcell, also recognised Fujitsu Siemens Computers for a high quality submission – the ESPRIMO Mobile V5555 – and for its commitment to mass-market Mobile Broadband computing. Those who took part in the competition included original design manufacturers (ODMs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Participants were asked to propose new notebook designs that would meet the needs of this new market opportunity. All were required to provide detailed specifications for their designs as well as time to market information, recommended retail price-points, support services and information on how they would work with operators to promote activation, configuration and ease of use. ‚Dell is very proud to be recognized by the GSMA as having the best commercially available Mobile Broadband notebook,‚ said Ron Garriques, president of Dell’s global consumer group. ‚Easy, affordable connectivity through built-in Mobile Broadband is a signature feature of Dell’s portfolio of notebooks, and the Inspiron 1525 embodies those industry-leading Mobile Broadband design and performance characteristics.‚ ‚We are delighted to have been selected by the GSMA and the panel of operators as one of the winners for our Mobile Broadband notebook design,‚ said David Chen, President of Mobile Product Business Unit, ECS. ‚We recognised this huge demand for mass market notebooks embedded with Mobile Broadband and invested sizeable resources to help make this opportunity a reality.‚ The Mobile Broadband Notebook competition is one of a number of GSMA led initiatives for 2008 that will stimulate mobile computing. Announcements concerning additional GSMA programmes supported by leading mobile operators, notebook vendors and other key stakeholders are anticipated before the end of March 2008. These initiatives will help consumers make better-informed choices when purchasing Mobile Broadband embedded notebooks and to benefit from an improved ‚out-of-the-box’ experience. This will all help to enhance the user experience, making it easier to enjoy the services and applications highlighted by in the research programme, such as communication and entertainment. ‚We’ve been encouraged by the quality of innovation and we look forward to seeing a swathe of new Mobile Broadband notebook devices aimed at mass-market consumers in the future. The GSMA will continue to encourage and nurture new developments that support the growth of this exciting new market segment,‚ added Rob Conway. However, MTN’s Ashraff Paruk struck a cautious note: ‚The design of the Mobile Broadband notebook whilst it goes a long way towards aligning our own commitment to wireless broadband, we still believe the OEMs have a few more bold steps to make to address this emerging mass market.‚

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