By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
HELSINKI — Nokia plans early 2003 availability of a GSM/GPRS camcorder-phone to the U.S. and foreign markets at an expected retail of around $300-$350. The triband-GSM 3650 operates on the U.S. 1900MHz band and foreign 900/1800MHz bands. The device features 176 by 208-pixel color display, Symbian OS for PDA functionality, multimedia messaging service (MMS), and RealOne player, enabling storage of video clips taken via the built-in camcorder or downloaded wirelessly. The camcorder can capture clips of about 20 seconds. The device supports RealOne wireless-video streaming and features xHTML (WAP 2.0) browser and 4MB internal user memory. It weighs 4.45 ounces with standard battery offering up to four hours of talk time or up to eight days of standby.
RESTON, VA. — Nextel said it's on track to complete nationwide Direct Connect service in mid-2003 following a phased rollout beginning in the fourth quarter of 2002. When complete, the service will allow all Direct Connect subscribers to push-to-talk with other subscribers anywhere on Nextel's network. The service has been limited to a subscriber's home market. In the fourth quarter, subscribers in the New York and Boston markets will be able to travel between the two markets and Direct Connect with other subscribers in the city to which they have traveled. In another development, the company announced availability of its first GPS-equipped phone.
BOSTON — The number of U.S. mobile subscribers will increase by 50%, to 200 million, by the end of 2006, when minutes spent talking on mobile phones will exceed minutes spent on landline phones, the Yankee Group predicts. In minutes, almost 30% of total non-business calls were made on mobile phones in the third quarter of 2002. The percentage will grow to more than 50% by 2006. Three percent of the population have already "cut the cord and have a mobile as their only phone, said Yankee exec. VP Keith Mallinson.
DALLAS — MetroPCS launched its flat-rate prepaid service in San Francisco, completing its four-market rollout. The other markets are Atlanta, Miami, and Sacramento. The carrier's $35/month plan allows for unlimited local calling. The carrier has begun offering the Sony Ericsson T206.
SAN DIEGO — Carrier Leap Wireless announced operating-cost and staff reductions, that combined with earlier measures, will save about $8.8 million in fiscal 2002 and annualized savings of $20 million. The company, citing the wireless industry slowdown, said it will reduce its employee ranks by 8 percent, or 130 people, to about 1,500.
NEW YORK — Qualcomm and Nokia announced availability of W-CDMA handsets for operator tests. Qualcomm said its 1.9GHz WCDMA handsets are already available for carriers' test. Nokia said its 6650 900/1800MHz dual-mode GSM/WCDMA handset will be available for tests in the fourth quarter.
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.