By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Sprint PCS and AT&T Wireless have developed new services targeted to the youth market.
Sprint's services include the My Music MP3-file storage service for users of the $399 Samsung Uproar phone, which doubles as an MP3 player. The service, offered free for a year, stores up to 2GB of a user's music on a server operated by Seattle's HitHive, freeing up the user's hard drive.
Users must upload their ripped music to the site from their PC. From the site, users download their music for transfer to the phone, which incorporates 64MB of embedded memory. No removable memory-card option is available.
Sprint bundles ripping and music-management software with the phone, along with stereo headphones that double as a hands-free headphone.
The MyMusic site doesn't stream music wirelessly to the phone, but Sprint said that when 2.5G high-speed data is online, it will at some point offer wireless streaming music (once called radio).
Other Sprint youth initiatives launched in recent weeks include an interactive wireless game service offering 27 games. Game software is stored on a Sprint server and accessed by a WAP phone.
Other services include online wireless chat rooms and a Wireless Allowance pricing plan that lets parents control phone use by their children. The parent pays a monthly flat fee of $34.99 billed to their credit card.
Sprint has begun to educate retailers about the initiative, a spokeswoman said. The carrier will promote the services in its stores and is evaluating the use of POP to give to retailers.
Free AOL instant messaging to all of Sprint's WAP-phone users will also attract youthful subscribers, the company said. Non-AOL members can create a buddy list of AOL subscribers on a Sprint server. Regular AOL subscribers can also access their AOL e-mail from a Sprint phone.
For its part, AT&T is packaging 60 youth-oriented websites on an optional home page that can appear on the user's PocketNet CDPD phones. Access to the sites is free, and because the CDPD phones use packet data technology, usage doesn't count against a subscriber's voice-minute bucket.
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.