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Hello Kitty phones and why the Asian mobile market is still exciting

Recently Recombu ventured out to Malaysia and while we were out there we did what any self-respecting UK mobile site would do, we checked out all the mobile phone shops. There’s no denying that the iPhone has had an impact in Asia but what’s great to see is that there’s still a thriving selection of mobile phones and a strong consumer desire for a variety of handsets.

Obviously it’s complicated to group all of Asia together; Japan, for example, has a completely different mobile market than South Korea, but across most of Asia you’ll find a passion for mobile technology. What’s interesting about Malaysia is that you get a solid cross-section of mobile phones from around the world, in addition to plenty of fake phones.

We don’t condone fake phones but we do think that Asia’s drive to compete with global players, whether it be by copying or creating new devices, exposes how quickly the tide could turn. Not forgetting LG and Samsung, Taiwan-based HTC is a perfect example of how a relatively small Asian company has quickly risen in the past few years to become a globally recognised brand that produces high-end phones.

It won’t be long before Asia creates more mobile phone super-brands that do well on UK high streets. When you consider that most mobile phones are made in China, the balance of power is currently finely tuned between western brand and IP dominance and eastern manufacturing dominance. The big question is, how long before the East dominates brand, IP and manufacturing?

Click on the next page for more photos and a picture of a Hello Kitty touchscreen phone — come on, we know you want to see it.

If only Motorola and Apple had stuck together… Could this have been the next Razr?

iPods, eat your hearts out.

Um, I think you spelt it wrong. Oh I see, it’s not the N97. So that’s why it doesn’t slide open.

Looks as chunky as the real N97 though.

At least they spelt N-series right.

There she is, the Hello Kitty touchscreen phone. Don’t you just love it?

If Apple made chunky little Hello Kitty phones, we’d want them to look like this. Just saying, you never know.

Who needs fancy cases when you have this kind of design on your phone?

Ok so it doesn’t play iPhone games, but we wouldn’t say no to a slide-out d-pad on the next iPhone.

From what we gathered, CSL isn’t a fake brand and we liked some of their designs. All their phones are dual SIM too.

There’s the back of the CSL Qwerty phone that looks a bit like a Nokia E63.

Another CSL gem. This time it’s a touchscreen phone that looks a bit like the HTC Magic, no?

This time CSL has come up with a phone that doesn’t look too dissimilar to a Nokia Luna. Hmm, we’re sensing a theme.

We don’t know what this is but then again we don’t care. Look at it, it’s amazing.

Last but not least, a bit of mobile TV action. One day we might even experience real mobile TV in the UK…