Torrance, Calif. — Pharos expanded its portfolio of unlocked portable navigation device (PND) phones with the launch of its first model to operate in 3G mode in both the T-Mobile and AT&T networks.
The touchscreen-equipped Traveler 137, which doubles as a Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional PDA phone, is
available from Amazon.com, Dell.com, eXpansys.com and Newegg.com at a suggested $599. Consumers who buy direct from Pharos with a two-year T-Mobile contract pay a discounted $349. No subsidy is offered with an AT&T contract.
As 3G phones that double as Internet-connected PNDs, the 137 and existing 117 and 127 feature assisted GPS and Pharos’s Smart Navigator “hybrid” navigation service. The service is promoted as more reliable than carrier-provided navigations services. Unlike the carriers’ navigation services, maps and route-calculation software reside on the Pharos phones, not on a cellular-connected server, Pharos explained. With a carrier’s navigation service, consumers lose their maps and directions if their phone loses its connection, but the Pharos phones won’t lose their maps and data when they are out of cellular range.
Pharos provides U.S. maps as a free over-the-air download. Maps of Canada, Western Europe and Eastern Europe are available for rent on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The new device is positioned as delivering 3G voice capacity and data speeds in both carriers’ networks because it operates in W-CDMA HSDPA/HSUPA mode in the 1700, 1900 and 2100MHz bands. T-Mobile’s 3G network operates in the 1700/2100MHz bands. AT&T offers 3G in its 1900MHz spectrum as well as in a growing amount of its 850MHz spectrum.
AT&T originally launched 3G in its 1900MHz spectrum but is expanding 3G service to its 850MHz spectrum. To date, 850MHz spectrum has been deployed “in more than half of AT&T’s 3G network footprint to improve overall coverage and in-building reception, with additional markets planned for later in the year,” a spokesperson said. In areas where 850MHz spectrum is unavailable, AT&T will deploy additional capacity in the 1900 MHz spectrum band to boost overall network capacity, she added.
Pharos’s current 117 and 127, available since December at $529 each, operate in 3G mode in AT&T’s 850/1900MHz 3G spectrum. They don’t operate in T-Mobile’s U.S. 3G network. All Pharos models also operate in quadband GSM/EDGE mode in T-Mobile and AT&T markets and foreign markets.
All three models are touch-screen models based on the Windows Mobile 6.1 OS, but the 127 adds hard QWERTY keyboard. Other shared features include the 7.2Mbps version of HSDPA, HSUPA at 2Mbps, assisted GPS, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The 5.9-ounce 137 adds upgradability to Windows Mobile 6.5 and a larger 5-inch LCD screen, whose resolution at Wide-VGA 480 by 800 with 65K colors offers twice the resolution as the iPhone’s 5-inch display, the company said.
Other features of the 4.6-inch by 2.4-inch by 0.51-inch device include 512MB ROM, FM tuner, 3-megapixel camera plus 0.3-megapixel camera for video calls, USB 2.0, and MicroSD slot with SDHC support.
As Internet-connected PNDs, the devices also receive real-time traffic updates, map updates, updated points-of-interest data and Follow Me service, making it possible for people to view the GPS location of Pharos users through their own Windows Mobile device or through an Internet-connected PC.