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Asia to get 3G iPhone

update SingTel and affiliates confirm they will bring in the second-generation iPhone, expected to be more enterprise-friendly with added security and syncing features.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

update Yes, Singapore will get the 3G-enabled iPhone.

The second-generation 3G-enabled iPhone, which Apple calls the iPhone 3G, was launched Monday at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

The announcement follows much speculation on whether the iPhone making its way to Asia's shores later this year will be 3G-enabled.

SingTel and Apple confirmed in a joint statement Tuesday morning they will be bringing in the iPhone 3G to Singapore later this year.

SingTel affiliates, Bharti, Globe and Optus in India, the Philippines and Australia, respectively, have confirmed that they will be bringing in the new model, as well.

However, the local operator has yet to specify when that will be or how much the phone will retail for, but Singapore is expected to be amongst other Asian countries like India and the Philippines that will be getting the phone later than its debut of Jul. 11.

According to an Apple press release, countries in the region getting the iPhone first will be Japan and Hong Kong.

Perhaps most relevant to the business audience is the device's added enterprise-ready features, which includes a Cisco VPN and support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync. These build upon the software development kit (SDK) announced earlier this year.

Touching on the Australian market, Ovum analyst Nathan Burley said in an e-mail statement Monday the enterprise features put the iPhone in competition with RIM's BlackBerry devices. However, he noted that businesses are likely to remain cautious amid the consumer frenzy.

Burley said: "Specific users will want to use their iPhone for work activities but we see it unlikely [the] enterprise will replace company-wide with iPhones.

"There is a long list of functionality still not supported by the iPhone 3G. It is still not the perfect device, and the form factor is actually slightly bigger than its predecessor," he added.

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