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CARACAS, Monday May 16, 2011 | Update
 
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102nd Anniversary
Smart phones for a new decade

Martín Chirotarrab
Nokia's new General Manager for the Caribbean, Central America and Venezuela analyzed the smart phone trends. In addition to entertainment, greater access to social networks and secure data transfer, smart phones will become a payment took that will render access to banks in the region easier

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VÍCTOR SALMERÓN |  EL UNIVERSAL
Monday May 16, 2011  01:18 PM


The conviction that last-generation phones, also known as smart phones, will eclipse computers and function as small laptops influences major business decisions to such an extent that Google, the biggest search engine in the Internet, moves its pieces to position itself in the mobile phone map.

In this decade, the development of technologies that have already become a reality will allow phones to be able to use software applications like Adobe Photoshop, a greater data exchange with other devices and even function as a means to pay the subway ticket or at stores.

Gartner, one of the most renowned firms in the field related to the assessment of technology trends, explains that the new Bluetooth v3 and 4 versions not only will speed up operations but will also make the exchange of multimedia contents, which today only occurs between computers, easier.

Another imminent step is a greater use of web browsers on phones, which is easier thanks to more dynamic displays, among other things.

At the same time, technologies like JavaScript would make real-time updating of the web pages or blog contents possible, while increasing data exchange security.

Martín Chirotarrab, Nokia's General Manager for the Caribbean, Central America and Venezuela, talked about the particularities of smart phones in the region.

Canalys, the consulting service firm, forecasts that in 2010, 16.6 million of smart phones were sold in Latin America, twice the number of 2009. How is this growth explained, if they cost more than the minimum monthly wages in countries in the region?
Smart phones offer consumers a wide range of possibilities, both in the area of entertainment and through their facilities in the corporate area and access to social networks. In this regard, Nokia has been working to offer smart phone resources to an increasing number of people, by lowering the initial barrier, like the Nokia C3, which technically is not considered a smart phone, but incorporates resources like social networks, qwerty keypad and Wi-Fi connection.

How does the Venezuelan market look like concerning smart phones?
Venezuela's is a market fairly open to the smart phone segment, with an intense use by local consumers. This has a lot to do with the characteristics of Venezuelan consumers who are very interested and open to try new things and be at the vanguard. Venezuela's public is in general attracted by this subject, has wide knowledge of technology, is up to date with global trends and is willing to invest in new equipment and services.

When analyzing how manufacturers can differentiate their products on the market, it can be observed that "there are very important elements in this equation; however, in the end, all of them offer a particular experience to consumer."

One of the advantages of smart phones is that they can be used as a payment means. Do you believe that this will be developed in Latin America and will allow banks to have a new tool to open up access to banks?
Globally, we have announced initiatives in the Near Field Communications (NFC) area. This technology essentially consists of allowing phones to incorporate payment means at the time when they are approached to a determined object, like a snack machine, or to pay a bank account at mobile points; an impressive number of opportunities.

Martín Chirotarrab supplements his answer by adding that "Nokia also has a service known "Nokia Money," which offers mobile device users the possibility of performing basic finance procedures.

When asked whether it will be possible to shield data transfer, Chirotarrab answers that "there already exists highly secure confidential data transfer technology. Most of our smart phones are backed up by Virtual Private Network (VPN); we have also signed agreements with different security service companies to provide support for our devices, thus allowing, for instance, that if a phone is lost or stolen, its data will be blocked, or erased, remotely."

Do you consider that tablets will take smart-phone market share?
Tablets have been opening up new opportunities in areas that, in many cases, are supplementary. Although tablets can perform many of the same functions as a phone, either smart phone or not, in terms of connectivity and services, there are other important components to consider, like mobility, battery life, size, price, etc.
vsalmeron@eluniversal.com

Translated by Álix Hernández

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