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Carriers Target Multiple Cellular Niches In Q4

10/21/2009 02:34:05 PM Eastern

New York - New cellphones livening up fourth-quarter competition
include a restyled BlackBerry Bold for T-Mobile
and AT&T, a new Pantech quick-messaging phone for
AT&T and phones for senior citizens from MVNO Consumer Cellular.

BlackberryRIM's new BlackBerry Bold 9700 worldphone, which operates internationally
in 3G HSDPA networks, will be available in coming weeks from both AT&T and
T-Mobile. For T-Mobile, the Bold is the carrier's first 3G BlackBerry, and its RIM's
first BlackBerry to support the carrier's residential Wi-Fi VoIP service. That
service encourages consumers to use a cellphone as a home's primary phone because
consumers don't have to worry about using up cellular voice minutes or potential
in-door cellular-signal loss.

From T-Mobile, the
price will be $199 with a two-year contract. From AT&T, the Bold 9700 will
be priced at $199 after $100 mail-in-rebate and the purchase of a monthly data
plan.

AT&T was the only carrier offering the previous version of
the BlackBerry Bold, the 9000, which was operated internationally in 3G mode.
Like before, the new Bold will offer AT&T's video share feature, enabling
users to transmit live video while on a voice call.

The restyled Bold, which features hard QWERTY keyboard and no
touchscreen, is smaller at 4.29 inches by 2.36 inches by 0.56 inches, compared
with 4.48 inches by 2.6 inches by 0.59 inches, and lighter at 4.3 ounces vs.
4.8 ounces. It replaces its predecessor's trackball with a touch-sensitive trackpad
for easier navigation. New cosmetics include a dark chrome frame, leatherette
back, soft-touch sides, and sculpted keyboard with chrome frets for faster
typing.

The new model also adds BlackBerry OS v5.0, which supports
BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0, making it possible for users to add follow-up
flags to e-mails, manage Microsoft Exchange mail folders, forward appointments,
and view  calendar attachments.

Like its predecessor, the Bold 9700 features 3G HSDPA, 624MHz
processor, built-in GPS, camera, Wi-Fi, MicroSD/HDSC slot, and included
document viewing and editing software. The new model ups the camera/camcorder's
resolution to 3.2 megapixels from 2.0.

Other features are included 2GB memory card, 2.44-inch light-sensing
480 by 360 display, BlackBerry OS 5.0 and audio/video player.

For its launch, Pantech began offering its 3G Reveal slider, a double-keyboard
quick-messaging phone, through AT&T. The price is $79.99 after a two-year
contract and a mail-in $50 promotion card rebate. It's available at carrier
stores and online.

AT&T's latest double-keyboard phone features a front-panel numeric
keypad that slides up to reveal a QWERTY keyboard below. Both sets of keys
remain active when exposed so that users get quick simultaneous access to
numbers and letters. Reveal is one of the first phones preloaded with
AT&T's new HTML mobile browser and att.net home page. Other features
include music and video playback, access to AT&T's music and video
services, and AT&T Navigator navigation.

For older consumers,
MVNO Consumer Cellular of
Portland, Ore., unveiled its latest two phones. Both are sold with Consumer
Cellular service, which unlike other elderly-targeted phones is available with
postpaid rather than prepaid service. No contract is required.

Consumer Cellular's
Doro PhoneEasy bar-style 345 and clamshell 410 are available at $40 and $50,
respectively, with $35 activation fee. The GSM phones, made by Sweden-based Doro,
feature large contoured buttons, large-text display, a loud vibrating ringer
and soft-touch surfaces for a better grip. They also feature speakerphone, SMS
text, FM radio, calculator and games, which can be turned off to simplify the
menu. The 345 adds LED flashlight. The phones join models from Motorola and
Nokia.

The MVNO's
cellphones and plans are sold through direct mail, direct-response ads,
toll-free number, the company's Web site, and 63 Sears stores in Oregon,
Washington, California and Hawaii. The MVNO, founded in 1995, is also the
AARP's exclusive wireless provider for members.

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