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Posted On: 26 January 2010 12:32 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

Blinged up mobiles catch on with Doha jetset

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Despite their high prices, smartphones are generating much interest among communication and entertainment-oriented users, leading to the emergence of glitzy and fashionable accessories in the mobile phone market. Faceplates and covers that come in various colours and designs are the latest trend for smartphones like BlackBerry and iPhone, but unlike their predecessors, these merchandises have undergone dramatic enhancements. Designs depicting creatures such as the giraffe, leopard, zebra, snake, firefly and butterfly or patterns like polka dots and diamonds or symbols such as skulls, daggers, hearts, keys, flowers, crowns and lips — you name it and the shops have it. For Hassan, an Iraqi entrepreneur, who bought his BlackBerry only last month, having a different if not fashionable faceplate is important to enliven the dull colour of the device. “The colour is too plain and I felt it needed something more to look better,” he said, explaining his choice of an Ed Hardy faceplate shimmering in gold and silver, among other colours. How he wished he could gift his wife a BlackBerry coated with dazzling Swarovski crystals from one of the shops in Doha such as Axiom, which offers embellished models of BlackBerry and other mobile phones. Compared to ordinary mobile phones, these Swarovski phones which are imported from Dubai cost double the ordinary price and come in cool hues such as green and aqua. Price range is from QR4,000 to QR7,000, enough to buy a dozen branded shoes. Customers with more discriminating taste who want their own concepts carried out in the design of their BlackBerry phones using Swarovski crystals approach some shops specialising on this. It takes a customer with extra money to afford it since prices for customized designs are even higher than the cost of the mobile. “Blackberry is the latest craze in mobile telephony and people want to be unique so they buy all sorts of faceplates,” said Aju, a storekeeper at Alpha Mobile, which sells a wide range of faceplates mostly for BlackBerry. The faceplates, which are all sourced from China, are available in wide ranging designs and colours priced from QR35 to QR120. Aju said since they offer the products in cheap prices, some customers buy several faceplates making a hobby out of having their phones sport a fresh look whenever they want. For some who have penchant for tattoo art Ed Hardy by Christian Audigier has added into its already wide assortment of products here faceplates and covers ritzy enough to get noticed by every owner of BlackBerry and iPhone wishing to prop up his communication gadget with artworks by legendary American tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy. Unlike ordinary mobile phone faceplates, these products have gone a bit far coming in various colourful designs, many of which are studded with crystals making them look really flashy, fashion forward and unique. “We have around 10 designs to suit every customer’s taste,” said Briss, supervisor at the Ed Hardy shop in Villaggio Mall, adding they are the only shop in the city which offers the designer faceplates. Briss noted it had been a year since the products were first put on shelf, and so far sales have been encouraging having been patronized by customers from all segments. “Contrary to what others may think, our products are bought not only be teenagers but also by more mature section of the market, from 16 to 60,” Briss said. Prices of the merchandise range from QR95 to QR180 depending on the design. As to why the covers and cases are tailored just for different models of BlackBerry and iPhone, Briss said the products come out with the introduction of the latest in the market. “These products are catered for the most recent models since they are presently in demand,” Briss said. Two years before Qtel launched the BlackBerry, many people had already been itching to be proud owners of the upscale communication device which revolutionised telecommunication having combined advanced range of features and computer-like functionality. The launch of Apple iPhone 3G last year by Vodafone even further stimulated the demand for the latest and most accessible device to use either in business or simply connecting with people around the world.