Communications Briefs


iTunes Phones Planned

Rosemont, Ill. — Motorola will leverage the popularity of Apple’s iPod music players with first-half 2005 availability of multiple cellular phones that store and play back songs downloaded from Apple’s iTunes music store. Apple will create an iTunes mobile music player that will be “the standard music player on all mass-market phones,” Motorola said. The music player will play back MP3 songs and Apple-format songs downloaded from the company’s iTunes store. Apple’s format uses the AAC codec wrapped in a proprietary digital rights management [DRM] technology. Select Motorola phones already include MP3 playback.

Third Smart Watch Supplier

REDMOND, Wash. — Swiss watchmaker Tissot, a Swatch Group company, is joining Fossil and Suunto in offering Smart Watches based on Microsoft’s Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) technology, which uses FM radio sidebands to deliver information and messages to wristwatches. The watches receive such personalized content as news, weather and stock updates; calendar appointment reminders; and instant messages. Tissot’s High-T Smart Watch uses touch screen navigation, enabling wearers to simply touch their watch to display content. The watch is available through jewelry stores in select North American markets and is the first Smart Watch to have the price of the watch include six months of the MSN Direct service.

Joined At The Hiptop

Palo Alto, Calif. — Hiptop marketer Danger reached an agreement with Sharp for the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of current and future Hiptop devices in North America and Europe. The current Hiptop, available through T-Mobile as the Sidekick, connects to Danger’s hosted data service. Danger previously sourced the products from Flextronics and marketed them on its own but said it always wanted to focus on developing software and services for the device.

Wherify Readies Locator

Redwood Shores, Calif. — Wherify Wireless, the company that markets a cellular-based child-tracking system, tapped Flextronics to build its Wherifone GPS Locator Phone, a trimode CDMA 1X device intended to track adults, cars and pets. Previously, Wherify said it planned July or August shipments of its new Wherifone GPS Locator Phone, targeted to retail at an everyday $149. To track the device, consumers will access Wherify’s monitoring service by Web browser or by voice call. The device can be tracked to within a foot in outdoor locations and to within 30 feet in indoor locations. The tiny 0.5-inch by 2.5-inch by 1.34-inch device lacks display and dialing keypad but will make voice calls to three preprogrammed numbers, including 911. The device also receives calls through its assigned phone number. With an optional concierge service, users can voice dial any number after they connect with the company’s call center.

CDMA/GSM Phone Available

Bedminster, N.J. — Verizon Wireless has begun offering the nation’s first hybrid GSM/CDMA 1x phone through its enterprise channels. It will be available later this year through broader channels. Samsung’s A790 operates on Verizon’s CDMA 1x network in the U.S. and roams into GSM networks operated by Vodafone in more than 100 countries. Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Vodafone and Verizon Communications.


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