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Islamic tech

Telecommunications

In the few short months since our coverage of LG's handset with an imbedded Qiblah indicator, several companies have joined LG in offering technology specifically targeted to the world's Muslim population. Segmented mobile content is going to be hot.

In the few short months since our May coverage of LG’s handset with an imbedded Qiblah indicator, several companies have joined LG in spotlighting technology specifically targeted to the world’s Muslim population. Malaysian mobile service provider Maxis has actually been providing a host of “meaningful and relevant” Islamic-themed content and services to its subscribers since 2001. Their pay-per-download offerings include nasyid (religious songs), spiritual guides, quotes from the Koran, Ramadan fasting schedules, screensavers, picture messages, and WAP-based access to prayer times, many of which they showcased at the Infocomtech Convention in Brunei in mid-May. In July, Dubai ‘s IlkoneTel launched a Korean-made USD 500 mobile handset called the Ilkone i800. In addition to a Qiblah indicator, the phone comes loaded with the entire Koran, 2 calendars (Hijri & Gregorian), azan (the Islamic vocal call to prayer) and more. IlkoneTel sought and received certification of the handset by a leading center of Islamic scholarship; it was released in Beirut in early August 2004 and is slated for wider availability by the end of the year. And finally, Malay e-tailer TravellingMuslim.com‘s products include an Automatic Muslim Prayers Watch, which calculates prayer times for up to the next 100 years based on city codes entered (USD 22).

Opportunities

It’s a global world, and the cell phone is not only more ubiquitous than ever, it’s also rapidly becoming the number one device for consumers to express and identify themselves. So expect dedicated, customised services, content and designs for handhelds and mobile that reflect every persuasion, religion, gender, belief, age group, country, region, interest, and so on. The Islamic Tech examples above would do well in many countries outside the Middle East and Islamic Asia: between 12 and 16 million muslims alone live in Europe. But if you’re in the business of content, cellular networks, or advertising, you may also just use this input to get inspired to finally give every audience segment and niche (or even better, micro niche) the respect and relevance they crave!

Website: prod.springwise.pro.pugpig.com/newsletters/sep04/Ilkone_mobilephone2.jpg, www.travellingmuslim.com/

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