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Handsets Offer More Data Services

Orlando, Fla. — Handset suppliers introduced more 3G W-CDMA phones incorporating high-speed HSDPA data technology, new smartphones and PDA phones based on the new Windows Mobile 6 OS, a palmtop Windows Vista phone, and some of the first phones that will operate in the new 1.7GHz and 2.1GHz bands set aside for cellular in the United States.

Here are the details on these and other phones launched at the CTIA show to leverage consumers’ growing appetite for data services:

HTC: The company was offsite with multiple devices including a palm-top Vista OS PC with 30GB HDD and embedded GSM/EDGE/HSDPA wireless. Dubbed Shift, it’s meant mainly as a wireless-data device, but it can be used to place voice calls with a headset. It features 7-inch widescreen touch screen on the outside, but when the device folds open, a QWERTY keypad slides out for typing, and the device takes on the appearance of a mini laptop.

Other features include WI-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0, quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE and triband HSDPA.

It will be available in the third quarter in the United States and Europe as an unlocked phone expected to retail for the price of a midrange notebook computer, HTC said.

The company also showed a PDA phone with a shift-like form factor. The Advantage uses the Windows Mobile 6 OS and features touch screen and thin, magnetically connected QWERTY keyboard. Features include 5-inch touch screen, 6GB HDD, Wi-Fi, GPS navigation, quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE, and triband HSDPA. It’s due this summer through Amazon and other retailers.

iMate: The marketer of unlocked GSM phones unveiled five new Windows Mobile-based phones, all quadband GSM/EDGE phones with triband HSDPA operation in three U.S. bands, the company said. Each model will be available in two U.S. flavors: 850/1,900/2,100MHz HDSPA and 850/1,700/2,100 HSDPA. The 1,700 and 2,100MHz bands were recently auctioned off for cellular use, with T-Mobile buying 1,700MHz spectrum and Cingular buying 2,100MHz spectrum. All models and flavors additionally offer quadband GSM/EDGE operation.

Various models will be available as unlocked phones in the third and fourth quarters with one model due in the first quarter of 2008. All are Windows Mobile 6-based PDA phones with touch screen. The company also cited potential to sell the phones to carriers.

Microsoft: Microsoft senior VP Pieter Knook said LG and Toshiba have taken out licenses for the Windows Mobile 6 OS for smartphones and PDA phones and that three current Windows Mobile 5.0 devices on the AT&T network — the Palm 750, Cingular 8525 and Samsung Black Jack — will be upgraded to Windows Mobile 6, presumably as a running change.

Motorola: Two of five new U.S. market phones are entertainment-oriented.

The Razr maxx Ve, the company’s first U.S.-market phone to combine external MP3 keys and stereo Bluetooth, is a top-tier CDMA 1x EV-DO phone that supports Verizon’s over-air music-download service. It boasts a 2.0 megapixel camera and microSD slot, and it’s the company’s first cameraphone with autofocus. It’s due through Verizon in mid-April.

The EV-DO Rokr Z6m is the company’s first U.S. phone with 3.5mm headset jack for use with standard stereo headphones. The high-mid-tier slider, operating in the 850/1,900MHz bands, could support over-air download, the company said. Other features include 2-megapixel camera, USB 2.0, and microSD slot. It’s due in the first half through an unannounced carrier.

Three entry-level phones due in the third quarter are all GSM models lacking high-speed data.

The W365 is a quadband GSM clamshell with 1.3-megapizel camera mono Bluetooth, and MP3 ringtones. It adds GPRS data.

The company also revealed that a U.S. version of the q9 Windows Mobile 6-based smartphone will be available late this year in the United States and will operate on the new U.S. 1.7GHz band. It’s one of Motorola’s first two GSM-equipped Q smart phones, supplementing a CDMA 1x EV-DO model, and will feature EDGE and HSDPA high-speed data as well.

Sony Ericsson: One of three new phones is the company’s first HSDPA phone, the Z750. It’s due in the third quarter with a suggested retail of $399 but is expected to retail for less than $100 with carrier contract. The clamshell phone operates in HSDPA mode in the foreign 2,100MHz band and in the existing 850MHz/1,900MHz U.S. bands. It operates in GSM/EDGE mode in the U.S. 850/1,900MHz bands and in the foreign 900/1,800MHz bands. It plays MP3 music stored on Memory Stick Micro cards but isn’t Walkman-branded.

Another new phone, the W580, is Walkman-branded and will be the first Walkman slider in the United States. It’s the company’s thinnest Walkman phone at 14mm and will support over-the-air downloads from the Napster Mobile service. It will retail for less than $99 after carrier subsidy when it ships in the third quarter.