By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Samsung's SPH-I300 will become the latest Palm-based PDA/wireless phone on the market in late September when Sprint PCS begins offering the product through its phone stores and retail channels.
Additional Palm-based wireless-phone/PDAs are also on the way.
Samsung's dual-band CDMA model, expected to retail for $500, will join Kyocera's trimode CDMA Smartphone and an optional VisorPhone GSM module available for Handspring's Visor PDA. Two new Palm-based phones from Handspring are also in the works, according to Handspring documents submitted to the FCC.
Samsung's model, which features color touchscreen, looks like a traditional pen-based PDA but adds an antenna and built-in microphone and earpiece. Users dial through the touchscreen by pressing numbers on a virtual dialing keypad or by accessing the Palm contact database. The Kyocera phone, in contrast, looks like a phone with traditional dialing keypad, but the keypad folds open to reveal a touchscreen. Kyocera's phone, a CDMA trimode, has been available since March through Sprint and has been retailing for $400.
Handspring's VisorPhone module is a GSM transceiver that Handspring has begun offering free with service activation and purchase of a Visor PDA. The module was initially offered at $299 with activation.
To promote its entry into the hybrid phone/PDA market, Samsung will spend about $10 million to market and promote the I300 through a 30-second TV commercial, print ads, billboards, and online ads running from late September through the end of the year. The campaign will target heavy business travelers between 30- to 50-years-old whose careers are primarily in sales, technical and middle-management positions that require them to be out of the office frequently.
The TV ads will appear on national cable channels. Targeted channels include ????CDD?????, The Weather Channel, CNBC, and others. Prints ads will appear in such publications as American Way, Business 2.0, GQ, PC World, USA Today, and Working Women.
Samsung phone is 4.9x2.28x0.82 inches and weighs six ounces with standard battery. Features include: Palm OS Version 3.5, 8-bit 256-color touch screen, additional LCD on top of device for displaying caller ID numbers and phone indicators, voice dialing, voice memo, speaker phone, Web browsing through Openwave Mobile Browser 4.1, Web clipping capabilities, 160x240-pixel touchscreen, vibrating alert, and Graffiti writing area.
As for Handsping's planned devices, both will feature wireless-voice capability and Palm OS, but one will add a built-in QWERTY keyboard. Both feature Handspring's Web browser and a flip-up cover that doubles as a phone earpiece.
Handspring declined to comment on the devices or availability, but Handspring executives earlier in the year said the company would announce wireless products before the year is out.
Kyocera's QCP 6035 Smartphone weighs 7.34 ounces, delivers up to 4.5 hours of digital talk time or up to 100 hours of standby, and features HTML browser, WAP microbrowser, and Web Clipping applications. A built-in speakerphone and earphone jack lets users talk while using PDA functions. Users can also dial by tapping a number in their Palm contact list.
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