By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Sprint Nextel will have something for music lovers, business users and world travelers this month when it launches its first international BlackBerry, adds over-the-air music downloading to the HTC-made Mogul PDA phone, and launches its second music-phone with built-in FM transmitter.
The international BlackBerry is the 8830 World Edition, available later in July at $199 with two-year contract after instant and mail-in rebates totaling $200, a spokeswoman said. It differs from the Verizon Wireless version in that it accepts unlocked SIM cards activated on foreign GSM networks. The feature is useful for frequent travelers and businesspeople stationed in a foreign country for an extended period because they'll be able to use lower local rate plans instead of paying international roaming rates, she explained. The local SIM card also simplifies dialing by residents of the country visited by the BlackBerry user because they won't have to dial an international access code and country code to reach the user, she noted.
The HTC-made Mogul PDA phone is the U.S. market's first CDMA phone equipped with Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6 operating system. It's also Sprint's first Windows Mobile 6 device. With a software download later this year, it will become the carrier's first CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A handset, joining multiple Rev. A data modems in the Sprint portfolio. It will also be the first PDA phone compatible with Sprint's over-the-air music-download service when a software download is made available in mid-July, she added.
Rev. A promises to accelerate data downloading to an average 600Kbps to 1.4Mbps, with 3.1Mbps peaks, the spokeswoman said. Uploads will average 350Kbps to 500Kbps. That compares to Rev. 0 downloads averaging 400Kbps to 700Kbps and uploads averaging 50Kbps to 70Kbps.
The touchscreen- and Wi-Fi-equipped Mogul will be available through retail channels, including Sprint-owned stores, this month following last month's launch through the carrier's Web site and business channels. The price is $399 with a two-year service agreement. It already supports on-demand video but the Sprint TV or MobiTV services whose content includes live TV channels.
For music aficionados who don't need a business-oriented phone, Sprint launched yesterday LG's Muziq music phone, joining the LG Fusic as the only music phones with FM transmitter to play music through a home or car stereo system. Its launch will expand the carrier's portfolio of over-air music-downloading phones to 14, the spokeswoman said. At $99 with two-year contract, it will be one of 10 music-downloading phones priced by Sprint at less than $100.
Compared with the Fusic, the Musiq provides more choices of FM frequencies over which to transmit phone-stored music up to 10 feet. Musiq also adds an internal antenna, is thinner and supports microSD cards up to 4GB, whereas Fusic accepted microSD cards up to 2GB. In addition, Musiq users can listen to over-the-air music downloads via stereo Bluetooth, whereas Fusic owners can listen only to side-loaded music via stereo Bluetooth.
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.