Hong Kong-based electronics company ENMAC, which describes itself as the "world leader in digital Islamic Products" has announced the latest iterations in its range of digital color Qurans. Among them are a range of mobile phones which come preinstalled with 29 translations and seven recorded recitations of the religious text. The enterprise appears to be a relatively simple but potentially shrewd combination of aging mobile technology with readily-available recordings of the Quran. It's a notable development as an instance of electronics hardware (rather than merely an app) being tailored to an enormous religious market.
The MQ710 features an auto-silent mode for prayer times in thousands of cities and a "graphical Qibla direction reference" for orientation during formal prayer. A Qibla compass is additionally listed as an accessory, and so may be separate from the phone itself. Listed as preinstalled applications are a Zakat calculator to work out charitable donations, a digital Tasbih counter and a Hajj reference guide to assist phone owners on pilgrimages to Mecca.
It appears that the phone is but one of a range of new phones from ENMAC also including the MQ72 and the similar MQ3300 and MQ3500, all of which have broadly similar technical specifications and religious applications. The MQ710 and MQ72 appear to be the top spec models. The GSM handsets include a 2.4-inch 240x320 touchscreen, 180 minutes talk time, 5 days standby time, SMS and MMS support, GPRS and WAP data connectivity, two active SIMs, an FM radio, digital camera and MP3 playback.
The slightly lower-specced MQ3500 recently launched in India through online store TolMol, where it is available for Rs. 2,999 (US$58). TolMol CEO Anuj Kanish has identified that the country's 180 million-strong Muslim community is one in which mobile phones to date have undersold. The Albanian, Bosnian, English, German, Indonesian, Somali, Turkish and Urdu languages feature among the 29 translations of the Quran installed, suggesting that ENMAC is setting its sights further afield. We're not sure how that will sit with certain quarters of the media, who appear to be unsettled enough by the Indian launch alone.
News of the Indian launch of the phone was broken in the West by the UK's Telegraph, though certain vagaries in their story are quickly mutating into outright misinformation in other media, fueling rather agitated invective in some circles. I cannot find a source that verifies the claim that the Qibla direction functionality is empowered by GPS technology, nor that the phone's software actively translates the Quran. But then, it's not called the "Enmac" and it's not a "smartphone," as some have reported.