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Wearable devices make debut

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  • Newspaper section: Business
  • Writer: Suchit Leesa-Nguansuk
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A new wave of new-generation enhanced smartphones and "smartwatches" looks set to create another exciting battle round and more business opportunities in the multi-billion baht handset market. 

The large-screen smartphones and wearable wrist devices are set to become the next big things in the handset world next year.

Fans queue up to buy the newly launched Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which sold with a promotional offer of the Galaxy Gear at half price, or 4,450 baht for the first 660 buyers at the opening of Thailand Mobile Expo 2013 Thursday. (Photos by Somchai Poomlard)

Thailand Mobile Expo 2013, the country's largest mobile exhibition, offers a glimpse of things to come. The four-day event, which started Thursday at the Queen National Sirikit Convention Center, for the first time features a "wearable device zone".

Opas Cherdpunt, the managing director of M Vision, organiser of the expo, said smart wearable wrist devices, especially smartwatches and wristbands, are expected to gain popularity in the healthcare industry, where they are used for monitoring health and exercise.

The global research firm Canalys predicts global sales of smartwatches will grow ten-fold to 5 million units next year from 500,000 last year and 330,000 in 2011 thanks to a slew of new players in the market including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung.

Models show the Galaxy Gear. For the first time, the expo has a "wearable device zone".

Samsung and Sony are actively promoting their smartwatches in the Thai market.

Smart accessories to add new capability to smartphones or tablets that can help people live a greener lifestyle with greater security are also another highlight product area at this year's expo.

Mr Opas said smartphones equipped with large displays and high-performance cameras will be the new generation of mobile computing device.

Nokia recently launched the Lumia 1020 phone with a 41-megapixel camera, followed by Sony's Z1 with a 20.1-MP camera, the LG G2 with a 5.2-inch display and Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 with a 5.7-inch screen plus a 13-MP camera.

"Personally, I believe large-screen smartphones will replace seven-inch tablets in the near future," said Mr Opas.

He said smartphones are expected to be the best-selling products at the expo, as vendors have introduced attractive promotions bundled with mobile tariff packages with operators.

"Sales of handsets look set to be strong despite the economic slowdown and shrinking consumption spending," said Mr Opas.

Handsets priced above 20,000 baht and below 4,000 baht are expected to be major sellers.

Mr Opas said M Vision expects total sales revenue will reach 1.5 billion baht over the four-day event, with over 40 telecommunications-related firms.

The number of visitors is also expected to increase by 15% this year.

Models show the Galaxy Gear. For the first time, the expo has a ‘‘wearable device zone’’.

Fans queue up to buy the newly launched Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which comes with a promotional offer of the Galaxy Gear at half price, or 4,450 baht for the first 660 buyers at the opening of Thailand Mobile Expo 2013 yesterday. Photos by SOMCHAI POOMLARD

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