By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Upgraded PDA phones and smartphones, unlocked-GSM phones, MediaFLO-equipped TV-phones and the first phones operating on Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum led handset introductions here at CTIA Wireless 2008.
New phones incorporating high-speed wireless data technologies such as CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A, high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) and high-speed packet access (HSPA) were also unveiled.
Other highlights included Sprint's iPhone-competing Instinct, WiMAX-equipped handheld computing devices and modems, and startup vendors entering the handset market. (See TWICE, April 7, p. 1, 8, 54, 56 and 57).
Here's what a variety of handset makers unveiled:
Haier: The company's first Windows Mobile phone, the HG-N99, is a touchscreen model incorporating the Windows Mobile Professional OS. The quadband GSM/EDGE phone is unusual in that it features dual SIM cards with dual standby capability for frequent country-hopping travelers to reduce international roaming charges. Other-brand dual-SIM phones sold in Europe and Asia require users to manually switch from one SIM to another, but the Haier phone enables both SIM's phone numbers to be active simultaneously, a spokesman said.
The N99 also features 2.8-inch QVGA screen, A/V playback, 2-megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth and microSD slot. It's due in August or September, likely as an unlocked phone, at a price of around $699.
Kyocera: The company, which finalized the acquisition of Sanyo's mobile-phone business, introduced its first three AWS-banded phones and launched its first GSM phones, which are targeted initially to South America but will operate in U.S. networks.
The AWS-band phones are CDMA 1x models that operate in the 1,700/2,100MHz AWS spectrum as well as in the 850/1,900MHz bands. They will be available in the third quarter. They include the reverse-hinge clamshell Neo E1100, which features an external "light pipe" and hidden OLED caller ID display that both light up when a call or message is received. It features 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.0, speaker-independent voice recognition, email capabilities and the ability to download BREW-technology applications over the air. Lesser-featured AWS-banded models are the Mako S4000 clamshell with VGA camera, Bluetooth and BREW, and the Adreno S2400 with external caller ID.
Four GSM phones include three quad-banded models operating in the 850, 900, 1,800 and 1,900MHz bands and thus will operate in the United States. The fourth is a dual-banded model that can be configured for the U.S. 850/1,900MHz bands.
LG Electronics MobileComm: Several new phones included a phone for AT&T's coming MediaFLO-based live-TV service, a second-generation version of the dual-face env clamshell, and a special-edition Iron Man phone available as part of an "Iron Man" movie promotion.
The live-TV phone, dubbed the Vu, will be available for the AT&T service's debut in May. The phone features a 3-inch touchscreen with haptic feedback, microSD slot with 4GB support, 2-megapixel camera, AT&T's Video Share one-way video streaming from the handset, telescoping antenna for TV reception, three hard keys below the touchscreen and music and video player. It's a quadband GSM/EDGE phone that also operates in 3.6Mbps HSDPA mode in the 850/1,900MHz bands. Pricing was unavailable.
LG's second-generation clamshell env, called the env2, is smaller than its predecessor but sports a slightly larger internal display. Verizon will offer it in April at $129 after $50 rebate for its 850/1,900MHz CDMA 1x EV-DO network. (See April 7, p. 54). It features dialing keypad on its front face, but the handset opens horizontally to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard and 2.4-inch internal display.
The Iron Man phone is a limited-edition Shine handset clad in 18k gold. Consumers have a chance to win one of the gold phones when they visit www.insidethesuit.com, where consumers can view movie scenes and behind-the-scenes footage of "Iron Man," due out May 2.
LG also showed a CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A phone that will offer Qualcomm's QChat push-to-talk technology, which Sprint is launching over its CDMA network and is interoperable with iDen-network PTT phones. The LX400 is a dual-band clamshell with 1.3-megapixel camera. Pricing and availability weren't announced.
Nokia: The company's first AWS-banded (1,700/1,900MHz phones) are CDMA 1x models that also operate in the 850/1,900MHz bands. They're due late in the third quarter at estimated retail prices of $109 and $179, respectively. They seem intended for such CDMA prepaid-service carriers as MetroPCS and Leap Wireless, both of which won AWS spectrum in FCC auctions.
The 1606 is a clamshell with a flashlight, and the 3606 clamshell adds downloadable BREW-technology applications, 1.3-megapixel camera, external touch music keys, microSD card slot for up to 8GB of flash memory, and front face buttons and display that fade out to create an all-black face.
Samsung: The company unveiled the dual-hinge Alias for Verizon and the MediaFLO-equipped Access for AT&T.
The Access, due in May in time for AT&T's MediaFLO debut, is a 3.6Mbps HSDPA phone with Video Share, FM radio, 2.3-inch widescreen, and internal MediaFLO TV antenna.
The Alias and its dual-hinge predecessor, the SCH-u740, open up vertically as a clamshell phone but also open horizontally to reveal a QWERTY keyboard. The QWERTY keyboard and dialing keypad share the same keys, with letters and numbers appearing horizontally and dialing numbers appearing vertically and in a different color on 12 of the keys. The EV-DO phone features 1.3-megapixel camera and retails for $129 after rebate in mid-April.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.