By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Wireless handsets with a variety of new features have come to market, with Verizon offering the industry's first global-roaming GSM/CDMA 1x phone, T-Mobile offerings its first two handsets with three instant-messenger services built in, and Western Wireless' Cellular One offering a rugged Kyocera handset with built-in flashlight.
Meantime, AT&T Wireless has extended the availability of its two W-CDMA handsets to two new markets where W-CDMA service recently went online: Dallas and San Diego. In July, AT&T turned on its first W-CDMA markets: Detroit, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle.
Verizon's quad-band global phone is the Samsung SCH-A790, available at $349 with a two-year contract. It operates on 800/1900MHz 1x networks in the United States and select foreign markets and 900/1800MHz GSM networks outside the United States, mainly GSM networks operated by Vodaphone, Verizon Wireless's co-owner. Roaming service for the phone is available in more than 100 countries in Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, Canada and select Latin American countries. Consumers pay $1.29 per minute when placing calls in most countries outside the U.S. International text messaging available in most countries costs 50 cents to send and 5 cents to receive.
The clamshell phone weighs 4.2 ounces with standard battery delivering 2.9 hours of CDMA talk time or 3.5 hours of GSM talk time. Standby times are 141 hours with CDMA or 145 hours with GSM.
Other features include integrated camera with zoom and flash, downloadable applications, MMS in the United States, 260K color main screen, 65K external color screen, voice recognition and 10MB memory for multimedia applications.
For its part, T-Mobile has launched two phones with software for all three major instant-messaging services built in. The services are Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger. They're built into the Nokia 6800 at a suggested $149 and the Nokia 6010 at a suggested $99. The 6010 is currently free with rebate when purchased from T-Mobile's Web site with one-year contract.
The 6800 folds open to reveal a QWERTY keypad that can be used to create messages. It features voice recorder and speakerphone. At 4.3 ounces, it delivers four hours of talk time or 240 standby hours.
At AT&T Wireless, the Motorola A845 and Nokia 6651 W-CDMA/GSM handsets are available at $299 in Dallas and San Diego, following their July introduction in the carrier's four W-CDMA launch markets. Both are capable of displaying streaming and downloadable video and audio provided by RealNetworks, including news channels and movie trailers. The carrier's NovaTel Merlin W-CDMA PC modem card is also available in the six W-CDMA markets at $1459 after rebate.
AT&T said its W-CDMA service delivers data at average speeds of 220Kbps to 320Kbps, with bursts to 384Kbps.
After it merges with Cingular, AT&T Wireless will continue to use the AT&T name for six months, after which its markets will transition to the Cingular brand. The change was negotiated with AT&T, which licenses the name to AT&T Wireless.
For its part, Cellular One has become the first U.S. carrier to offer Kyocera's Aktiv handset, a model with flashlight, changeable spot-textured silver faceplate and rubberized side grips. It also features polyphonic ringtones, screen savers, wallpaper designs, downloadable games and ringtones, Internet access, and voice-activated dialing.
The 3.52-ounce CDMA 1X trimode handset incorporates assisted-GPS and TTY and TDD capabilities for the hearing impaired. Aktiv delivers up to 3.5 hours of talk or up to 180 hours of standby time on a standard lithium ion battery. Productivity tools include a world clock, scheduler, calculator, alarm clock, tip calculator, countdown timer, vibrate alert and stopwatch.
The Aktiv is free for a limited time after $25 rebate with calling plans priced at least $40 per month with a two-year service agreement.
Western Wireless of Bellevue, Wash., serves more than 1.3 million customers in rural areas of the western United States.
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