By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Verizon Wireless launched a pair of phones that are its first to incorporate an upgraded push-to-talk (PTT) service that combines VoIP and CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A technologies.
The PTT technology, developed by Motorola, accelerates call set-up times, expand PTT call capacity and provides other enhancements, a spokeswoman said. The first phones with the technology are the Motorola-made Adventure V750, available at $99.99 with two-year contract after $50 mail-in rebate, and the G'zOne Boulder, available for $129 after a $50 mail-in rebate and two-year agreement. Both are designed to meet the military's specs for shock, vibration, dust, solar radiation, high- and low-temperature operation, and altitude.
The enhanced PTT service is available in all of Verizon's Rev. A markets, which includes 85 percent of the U.S. population, or more than 256 million people, in 258 major metropolitan areas. In areas where Rev. A service is not available, the two new phones revert to Verizon's previous-generation PTT service, a spokeswoman said. Overall, Verizon offers PTT service in one form or the other in markets reaching 95 percent of the U.S. population.
CDMA 1x carrier Sprint Nextel has also rolled out a Rev. A-based PTT service, but it uses Qualcomm's QChat technology instead of Motorola's technology.
Verizon declined to disclose the improved call setup time available in its Rev. A markets, but the carrier did say the number of people who can be included in a PTT group session goes to 50 from 20. PTT contact list capacity grows to 500 individual contacts from 150, and to 100 groups from 50 groups. The technology also adds a presence feature that enables a compatible phone to display the names of people available for a PTT call. The capability was available previously in a rudimentary form but was phased out years ago, a spokeswoman said.
Although the V750 and Boulder are the carrier's first Rev. A-enabled PTT phones, more are due later this year, the company said. Additional Rev. A phones without the enhanced PTT feature are also due. To date, Verizon offers three Rev. A phones, including the touchscreen-only LG Dare, which lacks the PTT feature.
The V750 clamshell meets the military's specs for shock, vibration, dust, solar radiation, high- and low-temperature operation, and altitude, Verizon said. It features 2.2-inch internal display, 1.6-inch external display, and such features and services as turn-by-turn directions, stereo Bluetooth, external music keys, music downloading, video streaming, 2-megapixel camera and microSD slot.
The G'szOne Boulder, available in orange or black/silver, is available online at www.verizonwireless.com and through the carrier's business channels. The phone will be available in retail stores in mid-August. The Boulder features flashlight, electronic compass, turn-by-turn directions, music streaming and download services, video streaming service, 1.3-megapixel camera, microSD slot and stereo Bluetooth,
Subscribers can add unlimited push-to- talk service to the phones for $5/month, per line to any Nationwide voice plan.
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