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Wireless PocketPC Phones Bow

1/09/2002 11:52:00 AM Eastern

Las Vegas - Samsung Electronics America and Audiovox unveiled the first cellular smart phones based on the Microsoft PocketPC 2002 operating system.

They'll join wireless smart phones based on Palm, Symbian and proprietary OSs.

Audiovox plans first-quarter shipments, while Samsung, which operates separately from wireless marketer Samsung Telecom, said its model is available in Korea and is targeted to ship in the United States in the third quarter.

The phones displayed by both companies incorporate third-generation CDMA 1X technology, which is being deployed by Verizon and Sprint PCS to deliver high-speed wireless-data transfer over their voice networks.

Verizon plans to make 1X service available commercially in the first half. At the end of 2001, Verizon installed 1X in cells covering 20 percent of its footprint. By mid-2002, most of Verizon's network will be upgraded.

CDMA 1X, a so-called third-generation technology, offers data rates up to 144Kbps, but Verizon's initial deployment will deliver data consistently at 40Kbps to 60Kbps, the company said.

Both phones are equipped with Pocket Word and Pocket Spread Sheet to create documents that can be emailed wirelessly from the phones. Pocket Internet Explorer allows for wireless Web browsing, and Pocket Outlook allows for wireless e-mail access.

Samsung's device, called the NEXiO S150, measures 6.1 x 3.6 x .6 inches and weighs 9.8 ounces. It features 5-inch 800x480 reflective LCD screen, 32MB of ROM and 32MB of SDRAM, VGA port for making presentations from the included Pocket PowerPoint Viewer, PIM applications and voice recorder. Options include GPS module, 300,000-pixel digital-camera module, 11Mbps wireless LAN module, E-book reader, removable USB host jack and games. Continuous talk time is 3.5 to 4 hours, and standby time is 96 hours. The battery provides 6 hours of continuous PDA activity.

Samsung didn't specify a price. Also, changes might be in the works for the U.S. version. "We are actively studying the best configuration, including wireless, for the NEXiO product to bring to the United States," said a spokesman for parent Samsung Electronics in Korea.

For its part, Audiovox plans first-quarter shipments to carriers of the Thera, a Greek word for "opening." It's shaped like a traditional PDA and is equipped with color touchscreen, stylus, 32MB SDRAM, 32MB of flash memory, SD card slot, voice recorder, Pocket Word, Pocket Internet Explorer and Windows Media Audio player. The 5 x 3 x .75-inch device operates on 800/1900MHz CDMA networks. Pricing was unavailable.