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More wireless wonders

You can't tell just how slim the new Razr-inspired V8 phone is in only two dimensions.
You can't tell just how slim the new Razr-inspired V8 phone is in only two dimensions.Motorola

When attending the CTIA Wireless trade show you would expect to find lots of new cell phones and all the stuff that goes with them. Here in New Orleans, none of the 35,000-plus attendees have been disappointed.

Motorola is here previewing a number of new models based on their Razr phone. That’s the super-thin, super-cool $500 phone that’s created such a buzz with the "beautiful people."

The prettiest of the bunch is the black metallic SLVR V8 (pictured above).  It’s one of two non-clamshell models (that is, they don’t flip open) based on the Razr. This little GSM/GPRS/EDGE phone comes standard with Bluetooth, a VGA camera, a MP3 player and a push-to-talk button.  I didn’t have a lot of time to play with the V8 but I have to tell you that my first impression is that it is extremely lightweight and feels amazingly slick in your hand.  Motorola says to expect the V8 this fall.

Its little brother will be the slim, silver metallic V280. It also has Bluetooth, a VGA camera, a MP3 player and that push-to-talk feature, but there are a few less features inside so it weighs a little less than the V8 and appears to be a drop thinner. The V280 will be available in the second half of 2005.

And, Motorola is also gracing us with a clamshell model based on the Razr. They call it their PEBL V6. This very shiny, oval little phone opens up to show a great screen, and that now-infamous super, slick Razr keypad. Although I didn’t see a camera, I know the phone does have video record and playback capabilities. This cute little GSM/EDGE phone should also be available later this year.

Motorola was not talking about their iTunes phone.  It was supposed to be introduced last week at the CeBIT show in Germany – but was pulled at the last minute.  The phone can download and play songs from Apple’s iTunes music store.  All Motorola will say is that they’ll have a lot more to say as release day gets closer – now set for summer.

Speaking of clamshells, industry leader Nokia is also here showing off its own versions. Big difference with these new offerings is that they’re CDMA phones that operate on the 800/1900 MHz bands as well as handling AMPS800/GPS.

The 6155 has a 1 megapixel camera with an 8X digital zoom and a LED flash, dual color displays, enhanced voice commands and dialing, push-to-talk features and an integrated FM radio. Its sibling, the 3155, drops the digital camera and some of the premium features of the 6155. Both should be available in the second half of the year.

Many cellular phones work with slide-in SIM card. SIM stands for subscriber identity module and the postage stamp-sized card holds your phone number and account information as well as some phone numbers.

Modern day SIMs have 128KB of memory to store information. The people at M-Systems, innovators in portable storage, are releasing the MegaSIM card module with up to 1 GB of memory. The company says MegaSIMs will help cellular phone operators offer more advanced mobile services such as MMS (multimedia messaging), MP3 playback, video downloads and high resolution picture storage.

No wireless show would be complete without the introduction of new wireless networking cards. I’ve told you about Sierra Wireless’ AirCard 580 which works on Verizon’s EV-DO high-speed wireless network. I’m actually using it now and it’s better than the high speed service available through the hotel.

Well, GSM/GPRS/EDGE providers worldwide have been working behind the scenes to come up with a system which can compete with Verizon's EV-DO network. They think they’ve come up with something good.

The new system, which is backwards compatible with GPRS and EDGE systems, is called HSDPA – High Speed Downlink Packet access. Sierra Wireless was previewing a new card to go with it: The AirCard 860 will allow download speeds of 1.8Mbps and uploads of 384Kbps, similar to DSL and some cable modems. 

Everyone is hoping that the HSDPA cards and the new wireless networks they’ll work on will be up and running by the end of 2005.