By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Four new CDMA 1X phones on display here by Kyocera include the company's first phone with embedded camera and its second PTT (push-to-talk) phone.
All four will benefit from a stepped-up consumer-advertising campaign, planned in June or July to increase brand awareness.
The camera phone, the 1.2-megapixel Koi, is also Kyocera's first phone with a revolving design in which the phone swivels closed rather than folds or slides closed. Due in the early third quarter at an estimated $250 to consumers, the Koi features 5x zoom, built-in flash, assisted GPS, instant messaging service of a carrier's choice, 15-second VGA-quality videoclip capture and the ability to download BREW applications. Its 16MB internal memory stores up to 40 1.2-megapixel pictures if no BREW applications are stored.
Pictures can be taken with the phone open or closed. When closed, the phone can be held horizontally like a traditional digital camera to take pictures. The lens is on one side, and a large color LCD on the other acts as a view finder.
The company's second PTT phone will be the ruggedized candy bar-style KX440, possibly shipping in the late second quarter, the company said. Kyocera declined to identify the phone's PTT platform. Its first PTT CDMA 1X phone, the 3250, is based on the Kodiak platform to deliver short conversation bursts over analog and digital voice channels. Kyocera previously said it plans to support all four major CDMA PTT platforms, including the Sprint-adopted Winphoria and Verizon-adopted Togabi. Chipmaker Qualcomm has developed BREWChat. All three use VoIP.
Kyocera's first PTT phone retails through Alltel for $99 with two-year contract before special promotions, and Kyocera said the KX440 will "likely" be priced lower compared to most other PTT phones selling around $250 with contract before promotions.
The KX440 can be ordered by carriers in their choice of frequency bands, with color or black-and-white display, and with or without BREW download capability. Because of PTT battery drain, the 440 will ship with larger 1300mAh battery.
Also new: Kyocera's first phone designed by BMW Designworks USA, previously designed phones for Nokia and Nextel. BMW is designing phones only for Kyocera under an exclusive global contract. The BMW-designed clamshell phone, the KX1, features asymmetrical design, BREW, assisted GPS and user-interchangeable faceplates, a feature said to be unusual in clamshell phones. Despite its high style, it is positioned in the lower mid tier, a spokesman said. It's due in mid-to-late third quarter.
In its entry-level candy bar-style KX400 series, Kyocera will add two new designs to complement the series' Blade, Phantom and Rave models. The new Pulse and Aktiv models are due in the third quarter. All models in the KX400 series can be ordered by carriers in their choice of frequency bands, with color or black-and-white display and with or without BREW download capability. The looks of the Blade and Phantom models will also be updated.
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.