By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Audiovox revealed new details about its camera-phone plans and said it's targeting the fourth quarter for delivery of a videocamera-phone, if carriers outfit their CDMA 1X networks with the needed technology.
In a presentation to retailers here at CES, Audiovox Communications president Philip Christopher said the company plans a return to the United States GSM market after an absence of about six years. He also said Audiovox is considering the addition of push-to-talk capability in future phones for carriers that see the feature as helping bolster their youth-market appeal.
After the presentation, marketing VP Katie Wasserman told TWICE that GSM/GPRS phone shipments probably won't occur until 2004.
By the end of this year, Audiovox might ship the CDMA 1X trimode CDM-9900 with built-in videocamera, which will take 15-second full-motion video clips that could be e-mailed wirelessly or transferred to a connected PC. It wouldn't be used for videoconferencing. The phone will incorporate GPS position-location technology, but additional details were unavailable.
Audiovox offered plenty of details about its first camera-phones, which take digital still images. For 2003, Audiovox plans a quartet of camera phones, not the three previously announced.
The first one available will be the high-tier Toshiba-branded CDM-9600 CDMA 1X trimode, available in March through Sprint. The clamshell-style phone features 6x zoom, VGA picture quality (310,000 pixels), color screen, dual LCD displays, GPS, BREW and Java capability, WAP 5.0 browser, and picture caller ID.
The next camera-phone will be the 3.9-ounce high-tier clamshell dual-band 800/1900MHz CDM-7950, due in May from Verizon. The CDMA 1X phone lacks analog but offers 6x zoom, 350,000-pixel picture quality, macro close-up capability, and built-in flash. Other features include BREW and Java capability, GPS, color screen, dual LCDs, and an unspecified microbrowser. The exterior LCD is a 256-color display.
A third phone, a mid-tier model due by September, is the clamshell trimode CDMA 1X CDM-8900. Its zoom capability will be at least 6x, the company said. A carrier agreement wasn't announced.
A fourth phone is the trimode CDMA 1X CDM-8600. Features include GPS, blue backlight, main 65K-color TFT screen, and exterior circular black-and-white LCD display.
In his presentation, Christopher said Audiovox is the only phone supplier that sells phones to every CDMA carrier in North and Latin America.
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.