14 Oct 2004
Telephone Accessories(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 05,2004)
Vol 5, 2004
A hands-free car kit with a clamping microphone and a rechargeable battery pack are among the telephone accessories offered by Canhold Int'l Ltd
The telephone segment is one of the most dynamic areas in the electronics industry, with rapidly changing technology, high market penetration and new applications allowing manufacturers to extend the functionality of both mobile and home devices. Needless to say, it is an area that tech-savvy Hong Kong manufacturers are exploiting to the full.
Chinec Co Ltd, for example, has developed a quick and easy solution to the perennial problem of running out of power - a particularly common situation as the increasingly power hungry applications of PDAs and next generation smartphones counteract advances in battery technology.
The Anywhere Charger is a simple idea that uses normal alkaline batteries to charge up a mobile phone battery when a mains supply is inaccessible or impractical.
"We saw a big gap for this kind of charger for people always on the move," recalls director of marketing Darrin Woo. "We were one of the first companies to make them and are now the dominant player."
The charger uses a special IC to elevate the low voltage output of alkaline batteries to the higher voltage required to charge a mobile phone. Second-generation models are also able to switch between five and seven volts to accommodate a wider range of phones.
"It is quite complicated with different requirements for different manufacturers and even between the phones from the same maker, but we know the market very well," says Woo.
The innovative charger is manufactured at the three-year-old company's IS0 9001-certified factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland, which produces 5,000-20,000 units a month.
These are available in minimum order quantities of 1,000 chargers, which can be delivered "immediately to four weeks" after order confirmation.
Initially sold through chain stores in Hong Kong, the Anywhere Charger is now reaching a global market, especially in Africa, Southeast Asia and the US.
"We have seen a lot of demand from developing countries where mobile phone penetration is high but the electricity supply is unstable, so people use the charger as a back-up," Woo observes.
By contrast, Superdex Mfrs Ltd has been involved in the telephone accessories field since the early days of mobile phones, having begun operations in 1965 manufacturing gifts, premiums and toys.
"Twelve years ago we were the first company in Hong Kong to produce accessories for mobile phones," claims director Peter Koo. "It was quite difficult as mobile phones were not that popular, especially in the UK and the US."
Today these accessories - including earpieces, phone holders and hands-free car kits - make up an important part of Superdex's product portfolio.
Manufactured at the company's 30,000-square-foot factory in Dongguan, minimum orders of 3,000 pieces can be delivered within four weeks of order confirmation.
Ease-of-use and value-for-money are key factors in the success of Superdex's universal car kits, which, like the earpieces and phone holders, are popular in Europe, Japan and the US.
"The phone holder can plug into either a 12-volt car or 24-volt cigarette lighter socket and is designed to hold any model of phone," Koo explains. "A simple clip fits over the phone earpiece to transmit sound to an auto-retracting earphone or speaker."
Omiz Industrial (HK) Ltd is another Hong Kong company at the cutting edge of telephone accessories, using Bluetooth wireless technology in its hands-free products.
"Bluetooth is becoming more widespread," notes marketing manager Kelvin Hung. "It is more stable, more secure and not as easy to interrupt as other wireless systems."
Using patented tooling technology, Omiz produces what it claims is the world's smallest and lightest Bluetooth headset, at just 5.6cm long and weighing nine grams.
The headset supports voice dialling and features a button to answer calls and volume controls so the host mobile phone never need leave a user's pocket.
"Business is increasing very fast in our major markets in Europe, Asia and the US," reveals Hung, explaining that Omiz offers "good quality", a one or two year guarantee and competitive prices. "Our products have won awards from magazines in Germany and Hong Kong."
The Omiz Bluetooth range, which includes a car kit and a hands-free Bluetooth MP3 player that can take and make phone calls, will soon be joined by a wireless keyboard for smartphones and PDAs. Manufactured at ISO 9000-certified factories in Taipei in Taiwan and Shanghai on the mainland, Omiz accessories are available in minimum quantities of 50 pieces delivered 21-30 days after confirmation.
Showing yet again that Hong Kong telephone accessories manufacturers are determined to use new technology to keep people in touch, wherever they may be.
WRITTEN BY ALISTAIR WADDELL
Canhold Int'l Ltd
Flat 4, 13/F, Blk 4
Tai Ping Ind Centre
51A Ting Kok Rd
Tai Po, New Territories
Victorwood Holdings Ltd
Unit 16, 8/F, Blk B
Sun Fung Centre
88 Kwok Shui Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories