CTIA: Mobile world looks beyond phone calls

By , IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless

Push-to-talk has proved popular with business subscribers of Nextel, which pioneered the service, analysts said. For consumers, such a service using VOIP could be appealing because of cost and the ability to reach friends and family immediately, Yankee Group's Entner said. He believes one-quarter to one-third of all U.S. cellular subscribers eventually might sign up for push-to-talk. However, being able to use it with friends on other carrier networks will be a key to making it useful, analysts said. That's not possible yet but should come with enhancements to the Open Mobile Alliance's POC (Push-to-Talk Over Cellular) specification on which Siemens based its application, Liebl said.

Standards alone won't make that happen, IDC analyst Shiv Bakhshi cautioned. In addition to interoperability, there will have to be clearinghouses among the carriers, he said. In addition, there's no guarantee consumers will embrace push-to-talk, he said. Nextel's offering has caught on because it was tied in to an overall set of services for businesses, he said.

There will be no shortage of phone news at the show, including handset introductions by Kyocera Wireless Corp., Audiovox Communications Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Nokia Corp.

Kyocera will unveil seven new handsets at the show, including the Koi, a CDMA phone with a 1.2-megapixel digital camera with video camcorder capability. The company's second CDMA push-to-talk phone, the KX440, also is set to debut in Atlanta. Both are scheduled to ship globally late in the second quarter, according to a company statement.

Nokia's plans include the introduction of several new handsets and the U.S. debut of the Nokia 7610, the company's first phone with a megapixel camera, according to a company representative. Samsung will introduce about 10 new phones, including its own 1.0-megapixel phone with video capability, a company spokeswoman said.

In addition to unveiling new handsets, Samsung is set to announce Monday that its OneNAND flash memory product is available, and will demonstrate the chip during the show. OneNAND makes use of an integrated flash memory controller to improve memory performance in next-generation cell phones. Samsung will also demonstrate its multichip packaging technology for integrating different types of memory into a single handset.

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