Said Benefon Chairman Brian Katzen: “Jonathan brings a wealth of international experience and has a proven track record in growing sales whilst improving company profitability. The partnership is perfect and we intend to aggressively expand our market share under Jonathan’s leadership in a highly profitable manner”.
The Finnish company Benefon launched the first ever GSM+GPS mobile device in 1999 and is building a position as a provider of location-based systems and services using those technologies. Current products include the NT2002 ‘personal navigation phone’ (a mobile handset with sat-nav built in) and the Track One NT2.0 ‘personal safety phone’ – a handset with a built-in alarm button that sends its location to a specified number.
The market for handheld sat-nav devices is one of Europe’s fastest growing sectors.
Benefon has recently received a major injection of venture capital and will be spending some of it on a string of new phone-plus-navigation products, the first of which should be ready in time for Christmas. This is described as “an all-in-one portable personal navigator device … The phone comes ready to use with no external GPS receiver required and GPS power management functionality built in [and] switches from driving to walking mode seamlessly”.
The device will launch initially in the UK and China, with a global rollout scheduled for next year.
The press release concludes: “the Benefon device really distinguishes itself in the marketplace”, which is half the problem sorted. Now it needs a decent marketing campaign and effective distribution, which is exactly Jonathan Bates’ forte.
The company has a UK sales office in Hampshire.
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