By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
MINNEAPOLIS— Entertainment software retailer Musicland plans to offer two American Idol wireless phones beginning in May under an exclusive three-years contract. The launch is backed by a national ad campaign featuring Idol judge Simon Cowell in print, TV and radio buys. The phones, packaged with American Idol content and services, are special editions of the Nokia 3200 and 3300 GSM phones. The former, at $69 after rebates, features FM radio and digital camera. The $49 3300 features an MP3 player. Musicland operates stores and online services under the names Sam Goody, Media Play and Suncoast.
BERKELEY, CALIF.— Idetic, the company offering Mobi-TV service to Sprint PCS subscribers, has begun offering live play-by-play audio of major league baseball games for a monthly subscription fee of $9.99. The live broadcasts will include the playoffs and World Series. Mobi-MLB Gameday Audio gives fans the option of selecting a channel dedicated to a team. Thirty channels are available.
RESTON, VA.— Nextel extended its PTT (push-to-talk) service into Canada and major countries in South America, thanks to roaming agreements with carrier Telus in Canada and carrier NII in Argentina, Brazil and Peru. Nextel already offers PTT in Baja California, Mexico, and will extend the service throughout Mexico during the summer as part of its NII partnership. Select Nextel data services, including BlackBerry e-mail-redirection, were also extended to Canada and South America.
TAMPA, FLA.— Z-Tel Communications, a provider of local and long-distance landline service in most states, has begun offering its services through wireless retailers such as Ohio-based United Wireless. Z-Tel offers local and long-distance service for homes and businesses and sells Personal Voice Assistant (PVA) service, a voice-activated personal address book. With it, contact names, numbers, emails and birthdays are accessible via voice command. The service also sends notifications to cellphones that a voice mail has been left for a subscriber's Z-Tel home phone. Users can also send a voice mail message as an attachment to a PC when a message is spoken into any phone.
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.— Cellular phones will continue to be the most common product incorporating Bluetooth, at least through 2008, according In-Stat/MDR. Products incorporating Bluetooth 1.2 will be available for the first time this year with adaptive frequency hopping (AFH) spread spectrum technology, which the FCC approved to enhance interference-resistance, In-Stat said in other findings.
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.