By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Irvine, Calif. — Consumers who wax nostalgic over 1940s- and 1950s-era woody station wagons will get a rise out of Boost Mobile's special-edition i860 handset from Motorola. It sports an old-fashioned wood-grain design but offers up-to-date features such as 4X-zoom camera/camcorder, MP3 ringtones and push-to-talk service. It's available at Boost's Web site and will be available in February at specialty youth-fashion retailers at a suggested $499.
Redwood Shores, Calif. — Wherify Wireless said Wal-Mart will offer the Wherifone GPS Locator Phone through select stores and its Web site, www.walmart.com, as part of the phone's second-quarter launch. It's positioned as a safety and security tool for use by young teens and the elderly and as a way to broaden the cellular market's demographic. The triband GSM G550 can be tracked continuously at one-second intervals to within a foot when outdoors and to within three to 90 feet when indoors. A store-and-forward feature lets a subscriber download the device's previous locations after the fact. The G550 is expected to retail for $150 with service plans starting at $14.95/month, including a certain number of locate requests and voice minutes. Consumers track a person carrying the phone by using a Web browser or calling Wherify's monitoring service.
Newton Center, Mass. – Worldwide cellular handset shipments hit a record in 2004, with factory-level shipments jumping 32 percent to 683.5 million, according to a Strategy Analytics report. The market-research company expects shipments to rise only 8 percent in 2005 to 735 million because of a peaking upgrade cycle in mature markets and slower growth in net new subscribers in developing markets. The top six suppliers maintained their market-share ranks in 2004, but No. 1 Nokia and No. 4 Siemens lost share, while No. 2 Motorola and No. 3 Samsung gained share, as did No. 5 LG and No. 6 Sony Ericsson.
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.