By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Here's what suppliers and carriers are introducing to boost optimism about fourth quarter wireless-handset sales:
Audiovox: Four CDMA 1X trimodes include the company's first phone with built-in camera and first two color-screen phones.
The 3.8-ounce CDM-9500 clamshell features 9-line 65,000-color TFT screen, gpsOne, photo caller ID, dual LCD screens and BREW/J2ME compatibility. It ships in the fourth quarter at a suggested $499, which will likely vary significantly from street retail.
The 3.2-ounce CDM-8500 clamshell features SMS, EMS, voice dialing, microbrowser and dual LCDs. The $399-suggested model is available.
EMS lets consumers attach music and animated icons to text messages sent to other EMS phones. It also allows over-the-air downloading of screensavers and polyphonic ring tones.
The 3.4-ounce bar-style CDM-8300 features two-way SMS and EMS, UP 4.1 microbrowser, gpsOne, voice dialing, speakerphone and predictive text input. The suggested retail is $249 and it's available through Canada's TELUS.
The clamshell-style CDM-9600 features 9-line 65,000-color TFT screen, built-in 310,000-pixel camera, photo caller ID, two-way SMS, gpsOne, dual LCD displays, WAP 5.0 microbrowser, predictive text input and BREW. Availability is targeted for the first quarter. Other details were unavailable.
Kyocera: The company's next-generation Palm-based smartphone, the CDMA 1X trimode 7135, is expected to be available in late fall through a carrier yet to be announced at $499-$599, depending on carrier and bundled service plan. The clamshell features 65,000-color touch screen, Graffiti writing pad, gpsOne, HTML and WAP browsers, access to existing ISP e-mail accounts through bundled Eudora software, MP3 player, vibrating alert and external caller ID LCD. At 6.6 ounces, it delivers up to 3.2 hours of digital talk time or up to 123 standby hours.
LG Mobile Phones: A quartet of fourth-quarter handsets includes the company's first co-branded LG/Verizon phone, the company's second phone with color displays, and first two gpsOne-enabled trimode CDMA phones.
The co-branded phone is the clamshell VX10, which is also the company's first CDMA tri-mode with BREW, making the phone compatible with Verizon's recently launched Get It Now service. That service uses circuit-switched data for over-air downloading of games, entertainment and productivity applications for use on the phone.
The 3.8-ounce VX-10 offers three hours of talk time or 4.6 days of standby. Other features include dual LCDs, Openwave 4.1 microbrowser, caller ID ringers, MIDI sound, two-way text messaging, scheduler, vibrating alert and calculator. It's available at $199 with a two-year contract through Verizon's Web site, 1,300 Verizon Communications Stores, and such retailers as RadioShack, Best Buy, Circuit City, Comp USA, Target and Wal-Mart.
Going forward, all LG phones for Verizon will be co-branded, complementing a similar program begun with Sprint earlier this year.
The 3.3-ounce trimode VX2000, LG's first gpsOne-enabled trimode, will be available to consumers in early November, presumably through Verizon. The bar-type CDMA 1X phone features changeable color faceplates, three hours of talk time, 4.6 days of standby, speakerphone, MIDI sound and Openwave 4.1 browser.
The company's second color-screen phone is the trimode BREW-equipped VX4400, which will also be the company's second gpsOne-equipped trimode when available in mid to late November to consumers. Presumably, the clamshell-style CDMA 1X phone will be sold through Verizon. Other features include POP3 e-mail access, MIDI sound, WAP 2.0 browser, dual LCDs and voice dialing.
Motorola: AT&T Wireless began offering the 850/1900MHz GSM/GPRS T720 at the end of October at $299 [$249 after rebate]. The 720 was launched earlier this year in a CDMA 1X version for Verizon's network.
The T720 is Motorola's first color-screen phone for the U.S. and the company's first non-iDEN phone with J2ME, a spokeswoman said. Talk Time is up to 165 minutes; standby is up to 165 hours.
The clamshell also offers dual LCDs, PIM functions, voice dialing/recording, vibrating alert and interchangeable color covers. It accesses POP3 e-mail and accepts an optional snap-on MP3 player. GPRS maximum download data rate is 54.8kbps, and the maximum upload rate is 13.7kbps.
Nokia: Three new GSM/GPRS phones, launched in October through AT&T, include Nokia's first two J2ME-equipped models outside of its Communicator smart phone. Both models are also the company's first 850/1,900MHz GSM models. One of the three is also Nokia's first with built-in Bluetooth for the U.S. market.
The three include the 6590 Smart Classic, available through AT&T at $149 after service-contract rebate. The 850/1,900MHz phone features changeable covers, voice dialing and recording, MMS receive mode and built-in FM mono radio.
The 850/1900MHz 3590 Expression, at $79 after rebate, features J2ME, changeable covers, voice dialing, polyphonic ring tones and MMS receive mode.
At the end of October, AT&T began offering the Nokia 6310i at $129 after rebate. Features include built-in Bluetooth, J2ME, voice dialing and recording, and triband 900/1,800/1,900MHz world-phone capability.
Later this year, T-Mobile will offer Nokia's J2ME-equipped 7210 triband, which is Nokia's first color-screen phone outside the Communicator smartphone. Features include built-in FM stereo and MMS send and receive. Pricing was unavailable.
Sanyo: The clamshell 5300 features built-in VGA digital camera with zoom, optional flash, 2.1-inch 65,536-color screen, external caller ID and J2ME to download Java-based applications. It will be available through Sprint in November at $399.99.
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.