By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Sprint PCS teamed with Warner Music at CES to launch new wireless music services that include the wireless industry's first on-demand streaming-music sampling service.
In another development, sales and distribution senior VP John Garcia said Sprint probably would begin offering a Hitachi-made Pocket PC phone in mid-year but he didn't announce a price. The Hitachi Multimedia Communicator will be Hitachi's second U.S. market phone and is first announced PocketPC phone with built-in digital camera.
As part of the music service, Sprint also offers the industry's first downloadable ringers that use the voices of various Warner artists and includes animated pictures of the artists. The services also enable subscribers to use a Sprint phone to purchase the Warner artists' CDs through Amazon.com.
The music services are available through CDMA 1X phones equipped with Java. In 2003, Sprint expects 70 percent to 80 percent of the phones it sells to incorporate 1X and Java, Garcia said.
For its music service, Sprint currently offers streaming 30-second clips from about 50 Warner artists, to be expanded in the future. Some clips will be music that hasn't been released on CD. The streaming service costs $3.99 for a three-month subscription for unlimited streaming. Downloaded celebrity ringers cost $2 each. Animated celebrity ringers and screensavers also cost $2 each.
For the PocketPC-phone launch, Sprint plans retail- and enterprise-channel availability. It will feature touch screen, QWERTY keyboard, and Pocket PC Phone Edition OS, which integrates phone and PDA functions. Applications include Pocket versions of Outlook, Word, and Excel Internet Explore, Windows Media Player, Xscale 400MHz processor, and TFT color screen.
In other news:
The carrier expanded its roster of downloadable games to include its first games targeted to the under-12 crowd. The games are from such content publishers as Disney and a subsidiary of toy-company Bandai.
It also announced content partnerships with Sony Pictures (for games, downloadable ring tones, and screensavers), iFone for classic games such as Asteroids and Centipede, and Bandai. Sprint is the first U.S. carrier to offer games based on Bandai toys.
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