By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
You won't have to visit the booths of portable-audio, digital-camera, or IT suppliers to view the latest MP3 portables, digital cameras, and PDAs. Just check out the cellular booths.
Here at CES, the selection of cellular phones with MP3 playback, PDA functionality, and megapixel digital cameras will grow, as will phones with QWERTY keyboards for messaging and phones with high-speed EDGE and CDMA 1x EV-DO data technologies.
Two companies, NEC and LG Mobile Phones, will show their first EDGE phones for the U.S. market, and Motorola will show its first EV-DO phone. BenQ will show its first Pocket PC phone.
MP3 players will be included in phones from Motorola, Samsung, and LG. Select models will offer video-on-demand. And everyone will exhibit megapixel cameraphones.
The introductions point to a day in the next decade when handsets will become all-purpose multimedia devices, replacing MP3 portables or PDAs for many consumers — all at carrier-subsidized prices.
Here's what dealers will find:
BenQ: The company's first PDA phone is the P50 PocketPC-based P50, a quad-band GSM/GPRS world phone with built-in Wi-Fi, QWERTY keyboard, 1.3-megapixel camera/videocamera, Java and J2ME support, MP3 player/recorder, Bluetooth, ItDA, USB, and 2.82-inch color TFT touchscreen. It's expected to be available in February at an estimated street price of $800. A 3G phone, the hybrid W-CDMA/GSM/GPRS S80, is a clamshell model with 1.3-megapixel camera, flash, digital zoom, MP3 player, IrDA and USB connectivity, 2-inch 262K TFT LCD screen, mini-SD expansion slot, and 1.4-ounce weight. It will be available in January at an estimated street price of $500.
LG Mobile Phones: Three new phones include the company's first EDGE phone for the U.S. market, an instant messaging phone with slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and a slider.
The EDGE Class 10 phone is the triband 850/1,800/1,900MHz A7110 with 65K color screen, VGA camera/camcorder, video-on-demand, AOL instant messaging, Java, digital zoom, and up to three hours of talk time (or 8.2 days of standby).
The phone designed for heavy users of instant messaging is the F9100 with slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The 850/1,900MHz GPRS Class 10 phone featured embedded IM for AOL, Yahoo, and others. It also features Java and personal organizer functions.
The LG-535 with 1.3-megapixel camera is a dual-band trimode CDMA 1X model with slider form factor, mini-SD slot, streaming multimedia capability, and 262K color LCD screen.
Motorola: Four new phones include two GSM/EDGE models and the company's first CDMA 1X EV-DO phone.
The EV-DO phone is the E815 with Bluetooth, 2.2-inch color display, 1.3-megapixel camera/camcorder, integrated MP3 player, 40MB internal memory, TransFlash slot for additional memory up to 256MB, and video-on-demand capability.
One of the EDGE phones is the V635 with 1.23-megapixel camera/camcorder, MP3 player, MMS, 8x zoom, 5MB embedded memory, TransFlash slot, and Bluetooth. The other EDGE phone, the V186, features instant messaging, MMS, speakerphone, MP3 ringtones, and interchangeable color covers.
Also new: the GSM/GPRS V171, designed for long battery life of 400 minutes of talk time or 300 standby hours. Features include EMS, SMS, 4K color display, and embedded and downloadable games.
A snowboarding jacket and helmet will also be displayed with built-in Bluetooth capability They were designed in conjunction with snowboarding-outerwear designer Burton. The jacket features a Bluetooth-equipped control unit/MP3 player, which connects wirelessly to a microphone embedded in the upper collar and via wires to stereo speakers built into the hood. Users supply their own Bluetooth cellphone. The control unit features caller ID, an on/off switch, voice dialing, battery meter, and MP3 operation. The components are removable for washing.
NEC: The recently announced NEC 232E "fitness phone," also the company's first EDGE phone, is a mid-tier handset targeted to time-pressed women. It enables users to download fitness-related content.
Samsung: The company plans a first-half 2005 launch of its first PDA-phone and first smartphone equipped with CDMA 1x EV-DO high-speed data technology. They are the SCH-i730, based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile PocketPC platform, and the i640, based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile Smartphone platform.
The i730is a digital-only 800/1,900MHz model with built-in QWERTY keyboard, instant messaging, SD slot, 2.8-inch 65K color screen, and stereo speakers.
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.