By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Hauppauge, N.Y. — Audiovox's SMT5600 smartphone, available through AT&T Wireless at $149 after rebates, is smart enough to store and play back music downloads rented on a subscription basis from Napster To Go. The rented songs can be transferred from a PC to the phone's internal memory or to SD cards inserted into the phone.
Wellesley, Mass. — Cellular carriers are neglecting their most valuable high-end subscribers in the pursuit of the youth and family markets, yielding declines in average revenue per subscriber (ARPU) and jeopardizing future profitability, analyst Mark Lowenstein contends.
He projects a year-end subscriber base of 170 million for a 60 percent penetration rate, and, pointing to Europe's 80 percent penetration, he warned that “the route from 60 percent to those kinds of numbers is heavily weighted toward particular types of subscribers: the very young, prepaid, heavy texters and multidevice users.”
“Some of the price plans and promotional offers for the medium- to low-end of the market are questionable from a long-term profitability perspective,” he said. He pointed out that many of the six largest carriers experienced ARPU declines in the third quarter, despite flat pricing and robust data growth.
Bridgeport, Conn. — Phone Labs expanded the selection of cellular phones that connect to its Dock-N-Talk device, which links a cellular phone to a home's telephone wiring.
Adapter cables are now available for all current and recent Nextel phones, including the i30sx, i35s, i50sx, i55sr, i58sr, i60c, i80s, i85s, i88s, i90c, i95ci, i205, i305, i530, i710 i730, i733, i830 and i860. That brings the number of supported phones to more than 350. It's available direct from Phone Labs at $139, plus $14.99 to $17.99 for a connecting cable.
On two-line home-phone systems, the device let consumers create a dedicated cellphone line on the second line while maintaining standard landline service on the first.
Consumers can also opt to disconnect local landline service entirely, either in a primary residence or in a second home.
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.