By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Atlanta — Cingular became the second U.S. carrier to offer a BlackBerry phone that looks like a phone and not a PDA. The quadband GSM/GPRS 7100g incorporates traditional BlackBerry e-mail, browser and PIM functions, but in lieu of a wide QWERTY keyboard, the 7100g features a narrower "converged" dialing/QWERTY keypad called SureType. It's available as low as $249 after rebates and two-year service plan, with color LCD display, Bluetooth and speakerphone. Monthly data plans range up to $49.99/month for unlimited usage. T-Mobile launched the first in the BlackBerry 7100 Series in September 2004.
El Segundo, Calif. — Prestandardized WiMAX-like products will likely be sold this year to a limited number of wireless service providers, but delays in WiMAX-compliance testing will push deliveries of WiMAX-certified products back until early 2006, market researcher iSuppli forecasts. Interoperability testing was supposed to begin in early 2005, with first products delivered in mid-2005. Suppliers such as Alvarion, Motorola, Proxim and Airspan will continue to sell precertification products, but delays in compliance testing "will cause many of the larger service providers to not consider the technology in the immediate future," iSuppli said. WiMAX delivers data speeds up to 70Mbps, up to 30 miles in fixed and portable applications. A version still under development by the IEEE will allow for mobile handoffs.
Skokie, Ill. — Rand McNally launched a downloadable Java application delivering real-time traffic reporting in more than 90 cities, for a monthly fee of $3.99. Updates include information on weather, construction, road closures, congested areas and traffic-affecting events such as sporting events.
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.