By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Converged portable devices, unlocked GSM phones and high-speed wireless data are among the cellular handset highlights here at International CES.
At least two companies, Haier and Pharos, plan to unveil unlocked GSM phones that can be activated on any U.S. GSM network. The Pharos product (see p. 122) is a converged GPS-equipped smartphone/PND (portable navigation device).
Other converged products include:
New Nokia GSM phones that sport dedicated MP3 player and camera keys accessible when the phones are closed.
A Samsung phone with dual LCD screens, making it look like a phone on one side and an MP3 player on the other.
A Samsung PocketPC-phone with Wi-Fi.
A high-speed data phone on display will be a 0.34-inch Samsung phone with high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) technology to download data at speeds up to 400Kbps to 700Kbps, with bursts to 1Mbps. Its hybrid bar/slider configuration places a touch screen and dialing keypad on the front. A QWERTY keyboard slides out lengthwise from the side, enabling users to view text on the screen in landscape mode.
Here are some more details on what dealers will find:
Haier: Marketer Trans Global Consulting and Marketing Group is marketing Haier America's unlocked GSM phones to MVNOs, regional carriers and unlocked-phone channels in the United States and Latin America, including e-tailers and brick-and-mortar retailers.
One new model is the Y-MP3190 MP3 phone, which is about the size of a lipstick case and features a shiny black mirrored exterior and smooth, rounded shape. It is 3.5 inches by 1.25 inches by 0.75 inches and weighs 2.24 oz. Besides an MP3 player, it sports FM stereo tuner, Bluetooth stereo transmitter, USB memory drive, voice recorder, internal 128MB embedded memory and micro SD slot. The expected everyday retail is $250 to $300.
Nokia: Two new ''multimedia computers,'' due in the first quarter, include the N76 with dedicated music and camera keys on the outside, 3.5mm headphone jack for use with standard stereo headphones, 2-megapixel camera, 15 fps QVGA video camera, microSD slot and ability to view attachments. It also plays music in the MP3, AAC, eAAC+ and WMA formats. It's available in quadband EDGE form operating in the 850/900/1,800/1,900MHz bands. Another version adds 2.1GHz W-CDMA for overseas use.
The other multimedia computer, the N93i, is one of a few models with optical zoom, this one 3x. It is a quadband model that operates only in one U.S. GSM/EDGE band at 1,900MHz. It also operates in GSM/EDGE 800/900/1,800MHz bands and 2.1GHz W-CDMA in foreign markets. Features include 3.2-megapixel camera, 30 fps MPEG-4 video camera, and playback of other video codecs. It also offers TV output to display pictures, video and computer documents on a TV or projector. Other features include Wi-Fi, universal plug-and-play, viewing of e-mail attachments, miniSD slot and playback of music in the MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+ and WMA formats.
Samsung: Multiple new phones include the Ultra Music Phone with MP3 controls on one side and phone controls on the other, a slim 0.35-inch bar phone with high-speed HSDPA data, a Wi-Fi-equipped PocketPC-phone and a model optimized for messaging.
The Ultra Music phone is a dual-band CDMA 1x EV-DO bar phone with a large LCD on one side along with a touch-sensitive control pad to control playback of MP3 and WMA music files and other multimedia. The multimedia menu can also be accessed from this side. The other side features smaller LCD screen, dialing keypad and access to all cellphone functions. Other features include 1.3-megapixel camera, microSD card slot and stereo Bluetooth.
The SGH-a727 is the 0.35-inch-thick bar phone, a quadband HSM model with EDGE and HSDPA data, 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.0, memory-card slot and playback of MP3, WMA, and AAC music files. Instant messaging clients are included.
The SCH-i760 is the PocketPC phone based on the Windows Mobile 5.0 OS, Wi-Fi, USB and touch screen. The touch screen appears on the front of the phone along with diagonally arrayed dialing keys and a click wheel-look menu bar. A QWERTY keyboard slides out along the entire length of one side, enabling users to rotate the phone into to view the front screen in landscape mode. Other features: MP3 player and 1.3-megapixel camera.
The SCH-u740 messaging phone features a dual-hinge design whose display switches from portrait to landscape mode for use with a QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard and dialing keypad share many of the same buttons, with the dialing numbers appearing sideways when the screen is in landscape mode and right side up when the screen is in portrait mode. The u740 is optimized for users of e-mail, instant messaging and text messaging.
UTStarcom: Two new 800/1900MHz CDMA phones include the 0.8-inch-thick CDM8960 clamshell, positioned as a high-end phone with high-speed EV-DO technology to deliver data, music and video on demand at throughputs of 400Kbps to 700Kbps with 2Mbps peaks. It stores music, video and digital images in multiple formats on 64MB of embedded memory and on optional miniSD cards. It incorporates a 1.3-megapixel camera.
A second phone, the CDM8935, is more affordable and said to be the smallest CDMA camera phone on the market. It features 310K camera and lacks EV-DO. The 3.3-inch by 1.7-inch by 0.7-inch unit weighs 2.8 ounces.
Both ship in March.
XE Mobile: The GSM-network prepaid/pay-as-you-go MVNO is adding SonyEricsson Walkman-brand music phones to its selection, which already includes Motorola and Nokia phones. The phones are bundled with an XE Club Card worth $40 in discounts at more than 21,000 retailers, including Target.com, FYE Music Stores and Foot Locker.
The Walkman phones include the T290a, Z520a and W300, all available in clam packs. Prepaid cards are also available at retail locations.
XE phones and service are sold through college stores, Office Depot, Meijer, FYE music stores, Coconuts, Sam Goody, Spec's Music, Strawberries, Suncoast Movies and Wherehouse.
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