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BenQ inks UMA agreement with Kineto, company focuses on regrouping

BenQ Corp.’s mobile communications business, apparently now limited to its home turf in Taiwan and other Asian markets, has selected Kineto Wireless Inc.’s UMA technology for a pair of upcoming dual-mode handsets.
The Taiwanese handset maker intends to launch an open OS smartphone and a feature phone “later in 2007.” BenQ’s former attempt to go global via BenQ Mobile-the No. 6 handset vendor in the world last year by volume-had been faulted for late launches. The loose timeframe given for the two new handsets assures the company fully 11 months in which to deliver.
Kineto’s unlicensed mobile access technology offers hand-offs between cellular and Wi-Fi networks. Nokia Corp. and Motorola Inc. make their own UMA technology while Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and LG Electronics Co. Ltd. reportedly will rely on Kineto. UMA technology is being trialed by T-Mobile USA Inc. in Seattle using a Samsung t709 handset with Kineto’s UMA handset client.
BenQ Mobile-the failed attempt by BenQ to go global by assimilating Siemens AG’s handset business, which Siemens off-loaded by paying BenQ more than $300 million in cash-entered insolvency proceedings recently in Munich, Germany, the former headquarters of the BenQ-Siemens effort. In the aftermath of BenQ Mobile’s filing for insolvency, the company announced it would pull back from various global operations to focus solely on Asian markets.
Market observers will look to full-year results for 2006 to see how the top dozen or so handset vendors-including the chastened BenQ-fared in terms of market share.

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