By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Four new Audiovox wireless phones due to carriers in October and November will include the company's first two CDMA2000 1X phones.
Suppliers LG InfoComm, Samsung and Kyocera are also preparing to offer 1X handsets later this year.
Audiovox's 1X phones, scheduled for delivery in October, are trimode models capable of operating in the Verizon or Sprint PCS networks, which are currently installing 1X technology.
At launch, 1X will double CDMA carriers' voice capacity, deliver data at datarates up to 144Kbps in both directions to allow for transmission of attachments, increase battery standby times by 50 percent, and allow for an always-on packet-data connection to the Internet. Packet-data connections make it possible to access the Internet without using up your rate plan's circuit-switched voice minutes. 1X phones are also backward-compatible with 2G CDMA networks.
Two other new models are an entry-level dual-mode CDMA phone and a 3.2-ounce trimode CDMA phone, the company's lightest trimode CDMA phone to date.
Audiovox's two 1X phones are the 3.8-ounce CDM-9150 and 4.2-ounce CDM-8150, both featuring a Web browser. Talk and standby times haven't been determined.
Carrier Sprint PCS is now saying it will begin field testing 1X service in "a number of markets" by end of year with noncommercial handsets, then do a nationwide commercial launch of 1X service in mid-2002. The company will launch commercial 1X handsets in two phases. In the fourth quarter, it will offer handsets offering only 1X's capacity-enhancing technology, but it won't promote the technology to consumers because the benefits accrue mainly to the carrier, not to consumers. Then in the second quarter of 2002, Sprint will offer handsets offering 1X voice and data capabilities, and it will market the phones as 3G phones, a spokeswoman said.
Earlier in the year, Sprint had said it would begin seeding the market with 1X handsets in the third and fourth quarters and use some for technology and market tests in limited markets. The company had also said at the time that it would upgrade its entire nationwide network to 1X between late this year and early 2002, at which time it was expected that the company would begin promoting the service to consumers.
Carrier Verizon announced earlier this year that its goal was to offer 1X service commercially to subscribers by the end of the year. Service is already available in a handful of markets, including Las Vegas and San Diego, but the carrier didn't plan to promote the service until handsets were available.
Audiovox's two other new 2G phones include the 3.2-ounce CDMA trimode CDM-8200, the company's lightest CDMA trimode to date. The mid-tier handset features two-way SMS, T9 predictive text messaging, built-in speakerphone, and standard lithium-ion battery that delivers 225 talk-time minutes or 170 standby hours. It's scheduled for November shipment.
The dual-mode CDM-100 weighs 4.8 ounces, features four-line dot-matrix LCD display, and delivers 290 minutes of talk time or 160 hours of standby.
None of the four new phones is replacing another model.
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.