By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Bellevue, Wash. — Research In Motion’s first candy bar-type BlackBerry e-mail phone is the 7100t, which will be available in October exclusively from T-Mobile at $199 after rebates. The quadband GSM/GPRS phone achieves its slim width through a proprietary keyboard technology called SureType, which combines a dialing pad with QWERTY layout. Each key of the SureType keyboard contains a maximum of two letters, which are aligned in a standard QWERTY layout. The keyboard uses a real-time software database of about 35,000 words, linguistic intelligence, and advanced learning capabilities to automatically interpret keystrokes and recognize words being typed. Like the traditional wider BlackBerry, it delivers e-mail, instant messaging, HTML Web browsing and organizer functions. Used with RIM’s BlackBerry Internet Service, the device gets push-based access to up to 10 personal and corporate e-mail accounts. E-mail attachments can be viewed. The 4.2-ounce device also features talktime of more than four hours, standby time up to eight days, speakerphone, Bluetooth, and polyphonic ring tones. T-Mobile plans to offer bundled voice-and-data rate plans for the 7100t starting at $59.99, including unlimited e-mail, unlimited text and instant messages and unlimited Web browsing.
Washington — The cellular market got more competitive in 2003, when the percentage of the population with access to three or more carriers grew to 97 percent from the previous year’s 95 percent, the FCC said in its ninth annual report on cellular competition. That’s up from 88 percent in 2000. The population of counties with seven or more carriers competing for business grew to 30 percent, the FCC added. The commission also noted the cellular penetration reached 54 percent of the total population at the end of 2003, or 160.6 million subscribers. More subscribers are also talking more. Average minutes of use per subscriber rose to more than 500 minutes at the end of 2003, up from 427 minutes in 2002 and 255 minutes in 2000.
Schaumburg, Ill. — Motorola teamed up with MOMO Design to develop a Bluetooth-equipped motorcycle helmet, targeted for first-quarter availability. Motorola will also offer the Bluetooth components as an aftermarket kit that can be attached to any helmet. The kit contains Bluetooth module that attaches to the helmet via included 3M adhesive. A lanyard and charger are included. From a Bluetooth-enabled helmet, bikers can access all major phone functions, including answer, end, redial, voice dial and volume. The battery’s talk time is five hours, and standby time is 100 hours. Pricing was unavailable.
Bellevue, Wash. — T-Mobile expanded distribution of palmOne’s Treo 600 PDA phone to its stores and authorized dealers, citing growing demand. The device had been availably only through the carriers direct-to-business channel, its online site and select value-added resellers. The 5.9-ounce quadband GSM/GPRS phone, available on T-Mobile’s site at $499, features Palm organizer, QWERTY keyboard, MP3 player, VGA camera, POP3 e-mail access and Web browser. It delivers six hours of talk time and weighs 5.9 ounces. The phone is also available from AT&T, Cingular and Sprint PCS.
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.