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AT&T Adds Smartphones

3/22/2010 02:23:02 PM Eastern
Las Vegas - AT&T Wireless is expanding its smartphone lineup and Verizon Wireless is adding third party computing devices to its network.

Both carriers made their announcements on the eve of the CTIA Wireless 2010 convention, here, with AT&T adding Palm and Dell branded products, while Verizon Wireless is certifying two mobile computing devices and a hybrid cellphone/cordless desktop phone for use on its 3G network.

At AT&T, the carrier said it plans soon to offer Palm's WebOS-based Pre Plus and Pixi Plus as well as Dell's first U.S. smartphone, the Android-based Aero, formerly called the Mini 3.

AT&T's Palm announcements make AT&T the third major carrier after Sprint and Verizon to offer smartphones based on Palm's new WebOS operating system. The carrier stressed, however, that on its network, the two devices become the first WebOS smartphones to offer simultaneous voice and data, a feature of AT&T's 3G network. Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus will be available at $149 and $49.99, respectively, after mail-in rebate and with a two-year contract that incorporates an unlimited cellular-data plan.

The unlimited data plan, required of Dell Aero users as well, also gives users of the Pre Plus, Pixi Plus and Dell Aero unlimited access to AT&T's more than 20,000 Wi-Fi hot spots.

Details of the Aero were unavailable, but it is Dell's first smartphone in years and has been rolled out in foreign markets in recent months.

AT&T said it would soon announce the availability dates and distribution channels for the Palm devices and the Dell Aero.

 At Verizon, the carrier certified Motion's ruggedized J3400 tablet PC, Motorola's ruggedized MC9598 handheld computer and Waxess USA's HomeCel 1000 landline/cellular desktop phone for use on the carrier's 3G network.

The hybrid two-line phone, intended for small business and homes, is the first of its kind certified for use on one of the country's major national carriers. It connects to the traditional landline phone network, but it also incorporates a 3G cellular transceiver in its desktop base to receive calls via the cellular network. It's designed to let users take advantage of lower-priced cellular plans to cut home or small-business communications costs, the company said.

The HomeCel features 2.4GHz digital spread spectrum cordless technology, keypad in the base and handset, and expandability to up to four cordless handsets. SMS messages can be sent from the cordless handset, which also enables three-way conferencing through its cellular and landline connections.

HomeCel pricing and distribution details were unavailable.

In portable computing devices, Motion's J3400 tablet PC joins Motion's C5 and F5 tablet PCs as Verizon-certified. They feature Qualcomm's Gobi chipset, enabling activation on wireless networks based on different 3G technologies.

Motorola's MC9598 handheld computer joins three other Motorola handheld computers certified for Verizon's network.
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