LG, Motorola executives tout new phones

The head of LG Electronics Inc.'s U.S. mobile phone business gave a glimpse of some upcoming multimedia phones from the South Korean manufacturer in a keynote address Tuesday at the CTIA Wireless trade show in Atlanta.

The phones, some coming to Europe and some to the U.S. this year, feature video, audio and high-quality camera features. Juno Cho, president of San Diego-based LG Mobile Phones, described them briefly during an enthusiastic keynote address about mobile devices as sources of self-expression, peace of mind and convenience.

The company plans to bring two-way mobile videoconferencing to the European WCDMA (Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access) market in the second quarter with the U8150.

The LG7000, a new phone with video camcorder capability, is set to launch in the U.S. market "very soon," Cho said. For the European market, LG expects to release in April the G7200, a video-on-demand phone using GSM/GPRS (Global System for Mobile communications/General Packet Radio Service). LG sees subscribers using the video-on-demand feature for MMS (multimedia messaging service) messages with video elements, as well as other applications.

In South Korea this month, LG introduced the LP3000, a CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) phone with an integrated MP3 player as well as digital still camera and camcorder capability, which Cho said has proved popular with young consumers. Also this month, LG is rolling out in South Korea its LP8900, a phone geared for mobile commerce.

Also in his presentation, Cho and another LG executive demonstrated the use of a cell phone as the remote control for a "smart" home. Using a simple handset interface, simulating commands given from miles away, they turned off the kitchen gas for safety, turned on an air conditioner and viewed what was on each shelf of an Internet-connected refrigerator to come up with a shopping list.

Motorola Inc.'s new chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), Ed Zander, outlined announcements the communications equipment maker made Monday at CTIA and laid out what he sees as the biggest challenge of keeping people connected everywhere and all the time. The hardest job is not building devices and networks for use at home, in the office, in the car and walking down the street, it is making the transitions between those modes smooth and easy, he said.

Zander highlighted Motorola's agreement announced Tuesday with Good Technology Inc., in which Motorola will support Good's GoodLink wireless messaging and corporate data access system on its MPx handset. The MPx has a QWERTY keyboard and runs Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Mobile software. Professionals will be able to use GoodLink on the device with Microsoft Outlook.

At the show, Motorola is introducing the A845, a UMTS/WCDMA (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service/Wideband CDMA) phone that will be used on AT&T Wireless Services Inc.'s high-speed wireless data network to be deployed in four U.S. markets this year. The A845 includes two-way video calling, GPS (Global Positioning System) location capability, MP3 audio downloading and other features. It is expected to ship in the second half of this year.

Also rolled out here was the A840, a combination GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) and CDMA phone designed to let travelers use the same phone in North America, Europe and other regions with the same number. It supports 800MHz and 1900MHz CDMA, CDMA2000-1x, 900MHz and 1800MHz GSM and GPRS.

The V710, a new CDMA phone also rolled out at the show, features a 1.2-megapixel camera and integrated Bluetooth personal-area wireless networking for use with wireless headsets and car kits. Motorola also is demonstrating its infrastructure equipment for CDMA2000-1x EV-DO (Evolution-Data Only), a high-speed mobile data technology.

Also during Tuesday's keynote session, hip-hop music and fashion entrepreneur Russell Simmons said the wireless industry needs to keep its eye on its youth culture in order to satisfy consumers with handsets, ringtones, video content and other products. Hip-hop artists set the tone for many consumers, said Simmons, who is chairman and CEO of Rush Communications Inc. and co-founder and chairman of Def Jam Recordings.

"This is the most important brand-building community in America," Simmons said.

CTIA, sponsored by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, continues through Wednesday.

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