By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
NEC plans to reenter the U.S. wireless-phone market in the fourth quarter, when it hopes to offer a GSM/GPRS phone, followed a year later by a GSM/EDGE handset, said Jose Sosa, NEC America marketing VP.
The company, which began marketing cellular car phones in the mid-1980s, stopped selling wireless handsets in the United States in March 2001. NEC will join multiple companies that have reentered the U.S. market, including Sony, Hitachi and Siemens.
NEC's relaunch will mark a strategy shift, with the company focusing on higher end products rather then low-tier-priced products, Sosa said. The new product, the N515 flip phone, will feature four bands for use in U.S. and overseas networks, 65,000-color 13-line/20-character LCD screen, and Java-based J2ME technology for running downloadable applications such as games. It will also offer multimedia messaging service (MMS), picture caller ID, polyphonic ringtones, and the ability to download ringtones, wallpaper, animation, and photos from an NEC Web portal, said Sosa. The GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) phone also features WAP 2.0 browser that access sites marked up in i-mode, WAP and xHTML mark-up languages.
NEC America's next product will be a GSM/EDGE phone due at the end of 2003.
Worldwide, NEC has no plans for 2G TDMA or CDMA handsets, nor does it plan CDMA 2000 1x products, Sosa said. The company markets GSM in Europe and 3G W-CDMA handsets in Japan.
EDGE (Enhanced Datarate for Global Evolution) delivers always-on digital packet-data connections at 3G speeds up to 384kbps to a wireless phone in a car traveling at 65mph, the company said previously. W-CDMA (Wideband-CDMA) also delivers 384kbps datarates in a moving vehicle while expanding the voice capacity of 2G networks.
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.