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Intel to widen phone offering

Intel, the US technology giant is planning to expand its smartphone offerings across the Middle East this year.

Intel, the US technology giant, is planning to expand its smartphone offerings across the Middle East this year.

The company, which first introduced an "Intel inside" phone in Egypt partnering with Etisalat Misr and launching the Etisalat E-20 smartphone, now has plans to take its products to more telecoms operators across the Mena region.

"The response in Egypt has been good," said Nassir Nauthoa, the general manager of Gulf Countries at Intel. "We are talking to other potential telcos in the region who want to sell their own branded smartphones. We have more designs coming through and we are also in discussions with a few people in the UAE and distributors. We have a healthy interest with people wanting to look at Intel smartphones."

The Etisalat E-20 smartphone carries Intel's Atom Z2420 next generation processor.

"The phones have the next generation core micro processor which have more power, use significantly less energy and have more capabilities," said Mr Nauthoa.

The company will assess the disposable income of each market to gauge whether to launch with an entry level or high-end smartphone.

In a brand and image-conscious GCC, operator-branded smartphones are rare. The smartphone market is particularly competitive in the GCC, where turnover of phones is about eight months, compared with Europe, where it is 18 to 24 months.

"It goes beyond image, these telcos are high-profile brand names in their own right with huge customer bases.

"The important thing is to try and offer a point of differentiation," said Mr Nauthoa. "In Egypt we worked with Etisalat Misr to have specific applications that would be of interest in that market.As long as you can do that you can offer good differentiation."

Besides smartphones, Intel will also be launching more products in the region, particularly hybrid laptops, part notebook, part tablet, also known as convertibles.

"We are going through a product transition," said Mr Nauthoa. "We are rapidly expanding our product portfolio and more Intel-based tablets will be coming out."



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