By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
SCHAUMBURG, ILL. — One of the first practical computing applications to be available on Motorola's Java-enabled iDEN handsets will be a location-based service that displays maps and driving directions. The application will be developed by MapInfo of Troy, N.Y., to run on the i85s and i50sx handsets available in April from Nextel, Southern Linc and Pacific Wireless in the United States. The application, miGuide, will access Yellow Pages, retail business locations and driving directions from a MapInfo server.
NEW YORK — Wireless subscribers in the United States are less likely to use the wireless Web than their counterparts in four other countries, a survey by Accenture (formerly Andsersen Consulting) found. Nonetheless, wireless-Web users in the U.S. are more likely to purchase products over the wireless Web than their overseas counterparts. The company surveyed users of wireless phones and messaging devices in the U.S., United Kingdom, Finland, Germany and Japan in the fourth quarter of 2000. In all five countries combined, only 15 percent of the 3,100 respondents access the Internet through a wireless device, with the U.S. at the bottom with 7 percent. In contrast, 12 percent of U.S. wireless-Web users have made an online purchase compared to 9 percent in Germany, 7 percent in Japan, 6 percent in the U.K. and 5 percent in Finland.
REDWOOD CITY, CALIF. — Startup Celvibe has developed a real-time MPEG-4 transcoder/streamer that will enable individual carriers to stream multiple channels of live TV to wireless-phone subscribers. The service, if adopted by carriers, would be available to users of 2.5G and 3G phones.
SCHAUMBURG, ILL. — Cosmetics company Hard Candy will design interchangeable color faceplates and matching battery covers for the Motorola i50sx iDEN-network phone. In an agreement with Motorola, Hard Candy will introduce several cover sets that will coordinate with Hard Candy's nail-polish colors and feature the Hard Candy logo. The cover sets are expected to be available exclusively through www.myhardcandyphone.com beginning in May.
"Young adults today demand a personalized look in their high-tech products to reflect their personalities and lifestyles," said Bill Werner, VP/GM of Motorola's iDEN Subscriber Group.
WATERLOO, ONTARIO — Blackberry wireless messaging devices will offer calendar synchronization over a wireless network, thanks to an updated enterprise server from Blackberry manufacturer Research In Motion. To synchronize their Blackberry calendars, users currently must dock the device with their PC when they return to the office. The enterprise server will let subscribers update their desktop calendars from the road, and let office coworkers send wireless updates automatically when they make calendar changes on the PC.
KANSAS CITY, MO. — Sprint's launch of a $449 Sanyo-made clamshell phone with a color LCD makes possible a new feature for the industry: Photo Caller ID.
The 2-inch (diagonal) 256-color LCD will display pictures of up to 20 people listed in the phones book when those people call. Subscribers can download the pictures from a PC.
The 3.53-ounce dual-band phone (1.9GHz CDMA/800MHz analog) features external Caller ID screen, organizer functions, voice dialing, call screening and the hours of digital talk time (or 120 digital standby hours) on standard lithium ion battery.
PALO ALTO, CALIF. — OmniSky, the provider of branded wireless e-mail and Internet services to PDA users, announced that its existing CDPD radiomodem and wireless Internet service for the Handspring Visor Platinum and Prism also work in the new Handspring Visor Edge handheld computer.
The OmniSky service lets users wirelessly browse Web sites and access various e-mail and calendar systems.
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.