By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Sprint expanded commercial availability of Qualcomm's QChat push-to-talk (PTT) technology to almost 50 markets and expanded its selection of QChat-enabled phones to four from two.
A fifth phone will be available later this year.
QChat, which debuted in Kansas and Missouri earlier this year, accelerates PTT call-setup times to less than a second in CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A networks. Sprint brands its PTT service as Nextel Direct Connect and stresses that its CDMA-network QChat phones can engage in PTT communications with Sprint's iDEN-network phones.
In a separate announcement, Sprint said it would offer Windows Mobile 6.1 upgrades sometime this summer to users of the HTC Mogul and HTC Touch PDA phones and the Samsung Ace smartphone. The upgrade is already available for the Motorola Q9c smartphone. The carrier will phase in availability of the Mogul, Touch and Ace with out-of-the-box Windows Mobile 6.1 OS as inventories of existing models are depleted.
On June 15, distribution of two existing QChat phones from Sanyo — the PRO-200 and PRO-700 — grew to all QChat markets from the Kansas and Missouri launch markets. Also on June 15, Sprint began offering the LG LX400 and Samsung Z400 with QChat capability. The quartet is available through Sprint-owned retail stores, direct sales and telesales in all QChat markets. Availability to the indirect channel hadn't been announced.
The four models use Rev. A high-speed-data technology only for the QChat function, Web browsing and select data features, but they lack access to the full suite of Sprint's Power Vision multimedia services. Later this year, however, Sprint will roll out the Motorola V950, "our first CDMA Nextel Direct Connect phone with Power Vision," a spokeswoman confirmed.
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