By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
LAS VEGAS -Wireless-messaging carriers and suppliers attending CES will doggedly continue to reposition pagers as extensions of the Internet to receive wireless e-mail and information services.
At the show, they'll devote most of their attention to two-way devices and services because of continued declines in the one-way subscriber base.
They'll also talk up new services that let subscribers send and receive e-mail from their wireless device without having to use a second e-mail address.
"Consolidated e-mail will accelerate two-way sales, but it's not just e-mail," said Arch retail VP Mike Lurie. "Carriers are letting you have one device that blends all the technologies you have-including PDAs and e-mail-to deliver value-added features that we believe the marketplace is waiting for to enhance the user experience."
Those features include "turning devices into personal information centers to select [airline] flight and stock information, and data on demand," Lurie said.
Privately, Motorola will demonstrate a prototype of a consolidated e-mail solution for the consumer-oriented T-900 two-way pager and the business-oriented Timeport P935. The solution would let the devices pull e-mail from an existing POP3 and IMAP4 e-mail ac-count. In contrast, Motorola's V-Client e-mail solution re-sides on a corporate server and pushes incoming e-mail to a two-way pager.
Consumers will be able to add the solution to an existing P935, but the current T-900s might have to be reprogrammed to take advantage of the solution, a spokeswoman said. The solution is due in the first half.
Arch, which will meet with retailers off-site, began last October to offer a consolidated e-mail service in which an Arch server grabs a consumer's e-mail from multiple addresses and pushes it to Arch-network two-way pagers, including the Motorola T900.
Among device makers, Glenayre will show its @ctiveLink two-way wireless-messaging module for the Handspring Visor PDA. The company is selling the modules to two-way carriers SkyTel and Metrocall.
Through retail channels, the two carriers had also planned to sell the modules in a bundle with the Visor at a suggested $428. The bundle is also available through online retailers.
In Motorola's booth, the Motorola-Timex joint venture Beepwear will introduce the Timex Internet Messenger one-way word pager, which doubles as a wristwatch and operates on the SkyTel network. It will be available April 1 through Timex distribution and by SkyTel for consumer electronics distribution.
The SkyTel network device is 38 percent smaller than previous Timex wristwatch pagers and will retail for about $99, compared with $159 and $179 for current Timex models, the Middlebury, Conn.-based joint venture said. The new model will vibrate to alert users to incoming messages.
The device will be offered with a new service plan that lacks operator-assisted service but boosts the number of messages per dollar. Metro-area word paging service of $9.99 per month allows for up to 500 messages of 100 characters each. For an extra $1, subscribers get nationwide roaming service.
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.