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January 2003: New products. Part 2

Part 1

Although such models as Sharp GX10, Panasonic GD87 are actively sold in Russia, there is no great choice among the phones with integrated cameras. Gray deliveries cant satisfy demand, mainly, because of high prices compared to European prices. According to the last information Panasonic GD87 will be officially delivered in Russia in April or later. Other models, such as Samsung V200, LG G8000, will be also available at that time. In last two cases first worlds sales will concur with first sales in Russia. According to preliminary information, Samsung V200 will cost 600 USD, price of the phone from LG would be 40 USD less. A winner in this competition will be that company, which will be able not only to show phones first, but also satisfy demand of the market. European players begin to sell similar models, for example, Nokia 7250 only in spring. Lets see, what products were unveiled by several companies, which activity we didnt describe in part 1. Firstly, some words about Nokia.

Nokia. It is rumored that Nokia, the worlds largest mobile handset manufacturer, is set to release a new product in May. The device will be called N-Gage and it will be a combination of a portable games console and mobile phone. According to preliminary information it is built around Symbians smartphone operating system, on the base of platform 60 from Nokia. Probably, this device would call as Nokia 3450 and it opens a new class of devices in the phone line of this manufacturer. From marketing point of view it is logical to produce such kind of devices, because, on the one hand, it is a way to prolong a life cycle of this platform and on the other, to offer a product of new class, which have not standard and as a result, attractive, features.

In January Nokia also produced two new mobile phones for TDMA networks. Its a rather common event, but for the first time such kinds of phones are equipped with color displays. Its interesting that Nokia pays more attention to TDMA market. Namely, this company was the first one, which unveiled a dual band (IS-136 TDMA/AMPS) phone - Nokia 2160.

New models are called Nokia 3520 and Nokia 3560. First phone is a dual band (TDMA 800MHz/AMPS) and the second handset is already tri-band (TDMA 800MHz/1900MHz/AMPS). Both phones have built-in Wap-browser in version 2.0, polyphonic ringing tones and Java support. Other features are more traditional: a built-in phonebook holding up to 250 contacts, each with multiple entries, up to 3 minutes of voice memo recording, up to 20 voice tags, voice commands to control up to 5 menu items and organizer. First deliveries of these models are expected in the middle of the year, presumably in June.

To the beginning

Links to new articles:

Sagem doesnt have a brilliant situation; there are no money to make expensive phone developments. That is why the company is concentrated on producing one functional phone. Then, it just clones it. The same was with the new model Sagem MY X3. In spite of the mark it is based on the platform similar to MY X5. To make the new phone cheaper, color display was substituted to black-and-white one with a blue backlighting. Besdies, total memory was reduced and some other not significant features were changed. By the way, design is a little bit different now. But if you decide to compare phones dimensions and weight, youll notice that they are identical. Advantages of this model are the following: low price (about 140 Euro), nice design and average functionality.

The other representative of this cloning phone line is MY G5. This handset is a kind of game device. It has many games and special shape of keys, which is more suitable to play games, than to dial a number. Comparison of dimensions, weight and other capabilities of the handset show that the new phone is the same 5, may be, a little bit different.

Sagem plans to unveil several new elaborations on CEBIT, for example, revised version of MY-X5. It will have slight differences in design and software. Two models with different indexes will be available. In contrast to old developments, Sagem MY X6 will be a top model of French manufacturer. The phone has TFT 65K screen with the resolution of 128160 pixels and integrated digital camera. Images can be send through MMS messages, the highest resolution of photos is 640480 pixels. Some photos can be assigned to names kept in the phonebook. Other features are standard: GPRS, polyphony, organizer. It is expected that this model would go on sale in the middle of spring and its price would be about 350-400 Euro. Its a little bit less, than the price of similar T610.

To the beginning

LG. Consumers have heard about G-series phones since announcing of LG 510. The main difference of these models is GPRS support. Until recently such kinds of phones werent produced, but there were a lot rumors about them. In February LG introduces several phones with GPRS support simultaneously. Mostly these models are well-known: 5200, 5300, 7000, 7020, but instead of W-index they will have G-index. LG G5210 is a new phone, but it differs from W5200 only in new shape and design. LG G7000A is a copy of W7000 in design features, but it is equipped with 65K-color STN screen like LG W7020. Its interesting that during year 2003 both series (W and G) will be available on the market. The manufacturer thought that not all users require GPRS technology now. Exact price of the new models are not known, most likely variation in prices would be about 10-15 USD. The phones are expected to be launched in the end of February.

To the beginning

Sharp. Sharp quietly introduced its new model - Sharp SG-200. Absence of information about this phone can be explained easily, it almost doesnt have any differences from Sharp GX-10 except GSM 1900 support. Now these phones are only supplied for T-Mobile. The price of the phone is the same as Sharp GX-10 has.

To the beginning

BenQ. The only Taiwan manufacturer, which sales the phone under own trade mark, BenQ launch a high-end model M770GT. The phone has a titanium alloy exterior. In addition it has a golf notebook function providing information on golf courses and strokes. An expected price of the new phone will be about 350 USD. The phone will go on sale in the beginning of February.

Next model - the S830 scheduled to launch in March. It is a folder type phone (clamshell design) with a color screen and GPRS support. Unfortunately, that is all information about it. Totally this year the company is going to introduce about 4 new models, one of them will have an integrated digital camera. Now the company produces such phones as BenQ S620i, S630i, M560G.

Also the company announced that in the 3Q it will show a new smartphone, based on Symbian OS. It is necessary to note that other products, based on rival OS (from Microsoft, for example) are not developed now. The company considered that such elaborations would be possible not earlier than in 2004.

To the beginning

Japanese manufacturers. Sanyo acknowledged one more time that OLED screens would be one of the most demanded displays for mobile phones in the near future. In summer the company plans to produce first phone with an organic EL panel. Now Sanyo has been conducting its field tests. In contrast to usual clamshell phones, new model has a design similar Nokia 7650 and Siemens SL55. For example, a keypad is slid from under a screen. Among other peculiarities we can pay attention to 2 integrated CCD-cameras (on the rear and front covers of the phone). Other features are typical to all modern phones. The handset would be available in the middle of summer 2003.

NTT DoCoMo begins sales of F2051 for FOMA network. The difference of FOMA F2051 is in extended stand-by time, the phone can operate up to 230 hours. Its 3.3 times longer than stand-by tome of other models. The other innovation is i-motion mail service support, which enables users to e-mail about 15-second (100 KB) video clips taken with the handset's integrated camera. It is also possible to download files from different i-mode sites.

An integrated 100,000-pixel CCD allows to take pictures and video clips with the resolution of 176144 pixels. The camera rotates at the angle 270 degrees. An internal TFT-display is capable to support up to 65000 colors. The phone supports Java applications; totally up to 200 Kb of Java applications can be stored in the phone memory. The size of one application cant be more than 30 Kb. Up to 300 Kb can be used to store video clips (in 4 Mobile format). The phone is available in two colours: Silver and Navy. The handset weighs 114 grams and measures 102 x 50 x 27 mm.

The last news is about popular class of devices, such as smartphones. Hitachi produced a new smartphone - Hitachi Multimedia Communicator. It is based on Microsoft Pocket PC Phone Edition software for CDMA networks. Xscale 400MHz processor from Intel is used in this device. Besides, it is equipped with QWERTY-keyboard, full-color TFT screen, which can support up to 65000 colours, integrated camera and a replaceable battery. The communicator is expected to be launched in the first half of the year. Price is unknown. IN USA this device will be available for Sprint customers.

As we can conclude from this scant description, it is a typical HPC based on Pocket PC with added cellular module. Knowing Microsoft policy, we can assume that other manufacturers unveil similar devices too in the near future. Unfortunately, not only OS, but software as well, will be the same in these smartphones. They will be differed in design and sets of extra applications and, of course, price will be also different.

To the beginning

AudioVox continues to excite imagination of US users by producing new models. CDM-7950 is a folder type phone, which has two color displays. An external display can show up to 256 colors and an interior one is 65K-color TFT screen. The handset has an integrated digital CCD camera, which has a resolution of 350 000 pixels. It also supports Java and Brew technologies. CDMA2000 1x.

CDM-9600 is similar to previous described phone, the only difference is a simpler integrated camera. Besides, small photos can be assigned to phone numbers here. This function is very popular now.

To the beginning

Accessories, mainly, handsfree

Bluetooth technologies are very popular now and manufacturers try to offer other products, which have the same functions but lesser price. We came across Xtalk Wireless Headset, which costs now $70. The company states that:

"Xtalk Wireless Headset is the only cellular headset in the world that uses a DSP chip. This allows a perfect digital transfer of information. Bluetooth has to compress, convert, and then decompress the information, which can cause "cut-outs" and "tunneling" problems. Xtalk doesnt have these shortcomings. Moreover, this wireless headset is designed to be compatible with all cellular phones, which made within the last few years and have a standard 2.5mm plug. The Headset has a range of 25 feet (about 7.5 m)". Also the company says that this technology is safer and much cheaper (half price). The manufacturer us cunning or doesnt know the real situation on the market, what also doesnt speak well about it. Many companies have already used DSP-processors in their products, besides, all shortcomings of bluetooth technology are much exaggerated.

To estimate a potential of this technology, just view several latest announcements. For example, Sound ID announced its new wireless hands-free, which doesnt differ greatly from similar devices at first sight. The earpiece weighs just 11 grams, but provides 3 to 4 hours of talk time and 70 hours of standby time. It is supposed that this device is compatible with any Bluetooth-enabled cell phone. According to the manufacturer the main difference of this product is a unique personal sound system. The company has integrated a digital signal processor in this device. It constantly analyzes environmental noise; and sound changes depending on noise conditions (street, airport, supermarket). Such changes happen automatically. Even when you go along the street the audio signal is adapted to optimize the clarity. Elaborators said that design of this hands-free was created according human anatomy; doctors also took part in its elaboration.

At the web-site of the company you can pass a small test, which will help you to define an optimal sound level personally for you. The results can be downloaded to a hands-free and they will be used as base settings. Unfortunately, we couldnt find how one could download these data. The new technology is named Personal Sound System and the new bluetooth headset get the same name. It would be very interesting to test such kind of device because all announced features sound really great. And its not obvious how they will work in practice.

Korean manufacturer Openbrain announced bluetooth stereo-headset. According to the manufacturer it is the first worlds device of such kind as it supports Audio On Demand service, which is developing on several markets, for example in Korea. Openbrain believes that it would be a key product and it states that this player will change a principle of portable music devices.

Here are short specifications of this product

  • Weight: 72 grams (with a battery)
  • Autonomy: up to 150 hours of standby time, 6 hours of play back time, 3 hours of talk time/play back time/downloading time
  • Time of re-charging: about 2.5. hours
  • Bluetooth v1.1
  • 32-128 Mb of Flash memory to store music files
  • Audio On Demand support (via CDMA 2000 1x)
  • A possibility to store musical files in MP3/WMA format
  • A possibility to download musical files (MP3/WMA) from PC via Bluetooth USB
  • A possibility to use a mobile phone to choose musical treks stored in Bluetooth
  • A possibility to make and receive calls
  • Different possibilities to wear
  • Removable lithium-ion battery

Its obvious that AOD will be available only in those networks, which support this service. Whether it will be developed on other markts or not, well see later. It is presumed to produce the other version of this device without AOD support. It will cost $261, including USB adapter and 32 Mb of Flash memory.

Apart from bluetooth technologies, integrated digital cameras has an increasing popularity. Sometimes dimension of the pone are not allowed to integrate a camera, then, it is possible to use an external digital camera. Atsana introduced Mobile Phone and PDA Video Camera reference design. The main peculiarity of this device is that it is worlds first video camera accessory module which provides high-resolution (more than 1 Megapixel) capabilities. This camera is based on CMOS sensor camera chip, which has integrated capabilities of flexible control for image pre-processing, white balance and so on. The module has 8 Mb of Flash memory (it is used to store images) and 2 b SRAM (it is used for programs execution). Up to 50 JPEG images of high resolution can be stored in flash-memory. Apart from photos, it is possible to receive MPEG4 video (176x144 QCIF 30FPS+; 352x288). Up to 5 minutes of full-motion video can be stored in memory. A display of either a phone or PDA can be used as a viefinder. Images and video stored in module on handset can be played back.

Advantages of using this module by elaborators is that it is programmable to support downloading of myriad of different applications, i. e. it can be modified almost for any products. In particular, it is possible to transmit images or video from module to phone via IR-port or other communication facilities. Unfortunately, this module has rather large dimension and it cant be built in modern mobile phones (only smartphones is an exception).

At last, few words about rather unusual accessory, which we could not bring ourselves to call a phone. Developers of this model decided to protect its owner from attackers and thieves. They turned the phone in a stun gun, which can zap the attacker with 180,000 volts. Unfortunately, you cant make calls using this device, named Cell Phone Stun Gun, but can provide a good self-defense. Now, dont leave the phone near your friends, because if they take it and try to call, either they will be shocked or they can hear siren which outputs a deafening 130 dB. Its not pleasant, isnt it? The price of the novelty is compared with ordinary low-end phone, its $79.00 USD.

To the beginning

 

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maria Sennikova (maria@mobile-review.com)

Published — 7 February 2003

 

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