By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
San Francisco — Sierra Wireless and Sony Ericsson are touting new quadband EDGE cards for portable PCs, with Sony Ericsson unveiling its first such model to incorporate Wi-Fi 802.11b and g. Both operate in the 850MHz, 900MHz 1,800MHz and 1,900MHz bands for international roaming. Sierra's AirCard 775 is available through AT&T Wireless for $299, or $149 after rebate with purchase of an unlimited-use data plan. The Sony EricssonGC89 ships in the fourth quarter for carrier testing and customer trials, with commercial availability planned for the first quarter of 2005.
Richardson, Texas — New Wrist Net Smart Watches available from watchmaker Fossil feature thinner designs, add butterfly clasps, and receive MSN Direct wireless information and messaging services under a new two-tier price plan. Two Abacus-brand models, targeted to CE stores, are priced at a suggested $129. They're also sold through the Abacus Web site. The Fossil-brand model at $199 is sold through Fossil-owned stores, department stores and a Fossil Web site. Microsoft's MSN Direct service beams customizable information such as news and sports, MSN instant messages and Microsoft Outlook calendar-appointment reminders to the watches via FM stations' sidebands in more than 100 U.S. metropolitan areas. With the launches, the watches receive a limited amount of free non-custom information, including national news headlines, local temperature and stock indices. Previously, the watches were sold only with a $59.99 annual service plan, but now two plans are offered. One, at $39.95, delivers custom content. For another $20, subscribers get personal messaging and calendar appointment reminders delivered to their watch via MSN Messenger.
San Francisco — Wireless carriers have agreed to a set of interoperability guidelines that will enable subscribers to send MMS messages to other carriers' subscribers, CTIA announced during its convention here. The guidelines “will allow wireless carriers to phase in photo and video messaging services over time,” said president Steve Largent. Currently, subscribers can exchange photos and video messages wirelessly onto to subscribers of the same network.
Irvine, Calif. — Boost Mobile boosted its subscriber base by 195,000 in the third quarter, bringing its subscriber count to 800,000. The company also expanded the number of markets it services to 12 with the addition of three: the Ohio Valley, Michigan and Phoenix. Other markets include The New York metro area and Philadelphia.
Dallas — Samsung Telecommunications and Vogue will launch a comarketing program in the fall as part of a long-term multitiered partnership that includes the launch of a phone designed by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. The co-marketing program includes a “high-fashion” advertising campaign, exclusive promotional and multimedia content partnerships, and “extensive outreach to the fashion elite,” the company said. The limited-edition designer phone, also available in the fall, bears a reproduction of an Andy Warhol painting of von Furstenberg. The phone features camera and camcorder capabilities.
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.