LAS VEGAS—If it’s a CTIA Wireless show, you have to expect there will be quite a few handsets being announced. This year’s show in Las Vegas is no exception, with new handsets from all of the major handset manufacturers.
One of the biggest pieces of handset news was the announcement by Kyocera, which has only made CDMA handsets outside Japan, that it will get into the GSM market. Kyocera’s first four handsets for GSM/W-CDMA are all set for the Latin American markets. Spokesman John Chier says Kyocera wants to continue to sell handsets to Latin America operators who have switched or are planning on switching from CDMA to GSM technology. No carriers were announced for the first four phones.
Will Kyocera bring its GSM/W-CDMA phones to other markets, like the U.S.? Chier wouldn’t say.
Kyocera also announced three new CDMA handsets, the Neo E1100, Mako S4000 and Adrena S2400. In addition, Kyocera announced it planned to finalize its $400 million acquisition of Sanyo’s mobile phone division, which will make the combined company the sixth largest handset manufacturer in the world. The Sanyo brand will continue to appear on phones for some time, though.
There also was a new handset manufacturer displaying phones at CTIA. Velocity Mobile, which has been talked about for some months, showed off its first two phones. The phones, called the Velocity 103 and Velocity 111, both use the Windows Mobile OS and are GSM/W-CDMA/HSPA capable.
The Velocity 103 will be available in the second quarter and the Velocity 111 will be available in the third quarter, both in unlocked and unsubsidized configurations. The company, however, promises that the phones will be affordably priced when they become available.
Velocity Mobile, with offices in Seattle and London, is backed by the large computer original design manufacturer Inventec.
Motorola announced that Verizon Wireless, Alltel and U.S. Cellular will start selling the manufacturer’s latest smartphone, the Moto Q 9c. The Q 9c follows on the earlier Q and Q 9m. The Verizon Wireless model will include the operator’s VZ Navigator service and will start selling this month. The models for Alltel and U.S. Cellular will be available in the summer.
Research in Motion has two new BlackBerry handsets with three different carriers, including the BlackBerry Curve 8330. The Curve 8330 is the smallest and lightest QWERTY BlackBerry for EV-DO networks. It will be sold through both Verizon Wireless and Sprint. It includes built-in GPS, a web browser, multimedia capabilities, and expandable memory. There are three earlier GSM/GPRS/EDGE models of the Curve, the 8300, 8310 and 8320, with the latter having Wi-Fi. This is the first Curve for CDMA and will be available on Verizon Wireless in May as well as on the Sprint network.
The second phone is the BlackBerry Pearl 8120 for T-Mobile USA, which also is a dual-mode handset with Wi-Fi. It also has a camera with video capture, multimedia and expandable memory.
LG Electronics is showing three new phones at CTIA Wireless 2008, including a new version of a messaging handset with a widescreen for video display, called the enV2.
The enV2 flips open from the side to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard and supports EV-DO. The phone will be available for Verizon Wireless’s VCast music and video service. It also has an external keypad and screen. It has a 2.0-megapixel camera and camcorder, image editor, 10x zoom, music player, a microSD card slot, stereo sound, and Bluetooth.
LG also announced two other CDMA handsets, a slider model with a touch screen called the Glimmer, and the Scoop, which has a QWERTY keyboard that slides out from the side of the handset. The Scoop has a music player, camera and camcorder. It also supports Alltel’s Celltop home screen.
ZTE announced two handsets at CTIA, both supporting carriers with AWS spectrum. The handsets are the ZTE C78 and C79 models, both for CDMA 1x networks.
“With the recent availability of the new AWS spectrum, carriers now have the potential to provide expanded wireless services to U.S. customers,” says George Sun, CEO of ZTE USA. “Our new handsets allow U.S. carriers, both large and small, to leverage the AWS spectrum and fully profit from their investments in the spectrum.”
The C79 is a full-featured, flip phone with an MP3 music player, 1.3 megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth, a 2-inch high-definition screen and support of a MicroSD removable memory card. The C78 is a more basic candy bar phone with a VGA camera, multimedia messaging and Internet browsing. It also has Bluetooth.
Sony Ericsson announced that its Z750a will be available exclusively through AT&T. The clamshell handset has a multimedia player, 2.0 megapixel camera, Internet browser and e-mail.
“We are delighted that AT&T will offer this device in the U.S. along with the hugely successful W580 Walkman phone,” said Karen Morris, vice president of marketing for Sony Ericsson North America.
TCT Mobile of China, which purchased the Alcatel phone unit and brand two years ago, also announced it will have 15 handsets for the North American market. The company introduced four models but said more are on the way.
“We are excited to carry on our longstanding expertise in creating quality phones a affordable prices, and will continue evaluating opportunities to better serve our North American customers,” said TCT Mobile CEO Liu Fei.