By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Wireless 2004 moved the industry closer toward a future envisioned by Sun chairman Scott McNealy, who claimed during the show that cellular phones are evolving into multipurpose devices that will replace a consumer's wallet, keys, MP3 player, portable TV and handheld game player.
The industry is also on its way toward turning cellular phones into long-distance remote controls that monitor and control home appliances from miles or continents away, said LG InfoComm president Juno Cho during another keynote speech.
Intent on grabbing a share of the portable audio/video market, multiple suppliers showed the first Java-equipped phones capable of playing 3D Java games, not just existing 2D games. The suppliers included Motorola, Siemens and Sony Ericsson.
Motorola also showed a Linux-based GSM/GPRS PDA-phone that doubles as a "multimedia entertainment phone" capable of playing music and video files transferred from a connected PC. The E680 triband world phone features large color display; touch screen dialing; built-in FM radio; built-in VGA camera; PIM applications that synchronize with Microsoft Outlook; MPEG-4 playback; and playback of audio files in the MP3, AAC, WMA and WAV formats. It also plays 3D Java games and is expected to retail for about $500.
In related developments:
Audiovox, Kyocera, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung showed their first megapixel camera phones. Nokia plans second-quarter deliveries. Kyocera plans early third-quarter delivery. Samsung's p735 is due in the third quarter. Motorola had four, including two announced before the show. Two will ship in midyear, and two are due in the second half. Suppliers forecast 2-megapixel camera phones by the end of the year.
TomTom, which makes GPS navigation add-ons for PocketPC and Palm PDAs, said it plans third- or fourth-quarter availability of similar add-ons for PocketPC- and Symbian-based PDA-phones and for BREW-equipped phones.
Samsung showed its first camera phone with the ability to capture video, the CDMA 1X trimode a680.
On the network side, carriers and infrastructure suppliers prepared themselves to build the high-speed data networks needed to turn cellular phones into multimedia terminals that wirelessly download and stream audio and video.
Verizon Wireless announced plans to expand its CDMA 1X EV-DO network by the end of the year to cover 30 percent of the population base in its markets and to phase in additional markets in 2005. The carrier didn't disclose its post-2004 timetable. "We're not sure if more ubiquity in 2005 makes sense for us," said Verizon CTO Dick Lynch.
Verizon's network will deliver data at speeds averaging 300-500Kbps, although Lynch said he regularly exceeds that rate when he uses the network at home.
To support the launch, LG unveiled its first EV-DO phone, joining an Audiovox model unveiled earlier in the year.
Samsung and Motorola demonstrated CDMA 1X EV-DV base stations that will deliver data at even faster speeds of 1MBps to 1.5MBps on average. Samsung also demonstrated a prototype EV-DV phone by streaming live CNN video to a handset at 15 frames per second. The phone featured rotating videocamera to make video calls and stream live video. "We could start shipping base stations by the third quarter," said Carl McLesky, senior systems engineer at Samsung.
Unlike EV-DO, EV-DV will enable simultaneous voice and data sessions from a phone, as will W-CDMA networks.
AT&T Wireless reiterated plans for a four-market rollout of W-CDMA technology, and Motorola and NEC showed their first U.S. W-CDMA phones to support the launch. NEC showed its model privately. Nokia also plans to support AT&T's launch of W-CDMA (see TWICE, March 22, p. 1 and 38).
W-CDMA promises to increase voice capacity over GSM and accelerate average data throughput anywhere from 200Kbps to 300Kbps or 400Kbps to 800Kbps, depending on the supplier surveyed. That's up from EDGE's 110-130Kbps, according to the 3G Americas trade group.
Also at the show:
NEC privately showed its first U.S. GSM/GPRS/EDGE phone, due in the third or fourth quarters to AT&T Wireless, NEC said.
Sony Ericsson exhibited its first EDGE phone (see TWICE, March 22, p. 40).
Samsung and Motorola unveiled the industry's first hybrid CDMA 1X/ GSM world phones, which are designed to work on U.S. CDMA networks and foreign GSM networks. Samsung's a790, a clamshell VGA-camera phone due in the second half, operates on 800/1,900MHz CDMA 1X networks in the U.S. and GSM 900/1,800MHz networks elsewhere. Motorola's a840, also due in the second half, operates in the same bands and adds GPRS data.
Samsung also displayed its first Palm-based PDA phone for U.S. GSM networks. The i505 features GPRS data and VGA camera.
Samsung showed its first slider-style GSM model, the d415, and its first PTT (push-to-talk) phone, the CDMA 1X a690. The latter is destined for Verizon's network.
Kyocera showed its second CDMA PTT model and Sony Ericsson showed its first two models, both for GSM networks. Suppliers expect all major U.S. GSM carriers to offer PTT before the year is out.
Siemens unveiled its first four integrated camera phones for the U.S. market. Two also capture video clips. None feature megapixel image quality.
Nixxo of Garden Grove, Calif., and Telson of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., entered the U.S. cellphone market with their first branded models.
Also at the show, Flarion demonstrated voice and high-speed data applications over its Flash-OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) technology, positioned as a low-cost high-speed competitor to wireless 2.5G and 3G technologies.
Flarion's technology allows for downloads in bursts up to 3MBps, with users typically experiencing 900Kbps download throughout, the company said. Uploads rates are 900Kbps in bursts, with the typical average experience of 300Kbps to 500Kbps.
Flarion and Nextel have teamed up to test the technology in the field for data transfer.Quick Takes On Data Speeds
|Technology||Theoretical Peak Rate (to handset)||Expected Average Throughputs|
|GPRS (General Packet Radio Service)||57.6kbps (four downslots)||40kbps|
|EDGE (Enhanced Datarates for GSM Evolution)||473kbps||70kbps-80kbps (two downslots); 100kbps-130kbps (four downslots)|
|cdma2000 1X RTT||153kbps||50kbps-70kbps|
|cdma2000 1X RTT EV-DO (EVolution-Data Optimized)||2.4Mbps, 135kbps from handset||300kbps-500kbps, with 1Mbps peaks, to handset|
|cdma2000 1X RTT EV-DV (EVolution Data Voice) (Release D)||3.1Mbps, 1.85Mbps from handset||1Mbps-1.5Mbps, with simultaneous voice and data|
|W-CDMA (Wideband-CDMA, Release 5) (aka UMTS, Universal Mobile Telecomm. Sys.)||2Mbps||various estimates of 200kbps-300kbps to 400kbps-800kbps, with simultaneous voice and data|
|W-CDMA HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access)||14Mbps||Not Available|
|Flarion's Flash-OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing)||3Mbps to wireless modem, 900kbps from wireless modem||1Mbps to wireless modem 300kbps-500kbps from wireless modem|
|Sources: Carriers, suppliers|
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