By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
San Diego — Kyocera Communications is expanding its Hydro series of waterproof smartphones and offering its first Verizon-network phone since 2007 with the launch of the Hydro Elite.
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.
Overland Park, Kan. — Sprint will become the last of the four national carriers to offer a BlackBerry 10 OS smartphone on Friday when a Sprint-network BlackBerry Q10 becomes available at $199 with contract.
The phone, however, won’t be stocked by any brick-and-mortar stores. Sprint will offer the LTE-equipped device on its website and through its telemarketing staff, and consumers who want to buy it in Sprint stores or in indirect-channel stores will be able to order it through those locations for shipment to their homes, a spokesperson said.
Washington – Acting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn is stepping up the commission’s efforts to get cellular carriers to agree to an industrywide policy that lets consumers unlock their phones after their contracts are up.
“I've directed the FCC staff to redouble our efforts with partners across the administration and industry to explore all of our available options for a quick resolution,” she said.
New York – Virgin Mobile’s first waterproof phone, a retro CDMA 1x flip phone, and a 4G LTE slider are among the new cellphones hitting the market.
The flip phone and slider are LG-made models for Verizon’s network. The slider is one of only a handful of smartphones on the market with a slide-from-the-side QWERTY keyboard.
Hauppauge, N.Y. – Personal Communications Devices (PCD), founded 29 years ago as a part of Audiovox, entered into an agreement to sell substantially all of its assets to Quality One Wireless, which is a wireless-distribution company like PCD.
Shenzhen, China — The first smartphone incorporating the open Firefox OS will become available in the U.S. for the first time now that ZTE said it will soon offer an unlocked ZTE Open smartphone direct to consumers on eBay.
The OS is designed to bring down the cost of smartphones by using HTML5 web technology to develop phone features and apps, accelerate the development of low-cost mobile apps that target small niches, and challenge the dominance of curated app stores from Apple and Google, inventor Mozilla has said.
Dallas – AT&T is building up its smartphone selection for the fall with the Aug. 23 launch of the 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega smartphone/tablet hybrid, Motorola’s flagship Moto X and the HTC One Mini.
AT&T will be the first to offer the phones in the U.S. market.
The carrier will launch the 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega smartphone/tablet hybrid at $149 with two-year agreement and at $24/month for 12 months (or $288) without contract under the carrier’s Next trade-in program.
Dallas – Samsung is bringing its previously announced 6.3-inch Galaxy Mega smartphone/tablet hybrid to the U.S. market beginning this month.
AT&T, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular will carry the device, but Sprint did not reveal the unit’s pricing or specific availability dates through each carrier. Samsung also did not announce which color options – black or white -- that each carrier would offer.
Sprint said it would offer the device “later this year.”
Overland Park, Kan. — The six-transistor pocket radio of the early 1960s is going high-tech with Sprint’s launch of the NextRadio interactive radio app on select Sprint smartphones equipped with an analog FM-radio chip.
Sprint is the first carrier to offer the NextRadio app on smartphones.
Westlake Village, Ill. — Consumer satisfaction with their cellular purchase experience through carrier-direct channels rose among all four national contract carriers in the first half compared with the second half of 2012, a J.D. Power survey found.
AT&T’s customer satisfaction rose the most, putting the carrier in the top spot for the first time in the survey’s 10-year history.