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VoIP Systems

Handset Cavalcade

Analysts aren't expecting a huge number of actual handset announcements at the NXTcomm show this week. With the launch of the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone on June 29, and other major models just out or coming soon, however, there's going to be plenty of talk about upcoming gadgets over the next few days in Chicago.

Apple iPhone
Naturally, a lot of this talk is going to be focused on the iPhone. Announcing the phone in January, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the touch-screen device would deliver 16 hours of audio playback, or five hours of talk time, Web browsing, or video.

Speculation is rife, however, that the actual battery performance will be less than stellar. "Thus far, it’s all just speculation," comments Carmi Levy, SVP of strategic consulting at AR Communications. "Still, battery life could be the iPhone’s Achilles heel unless Apple has baked in some new as-yet-unannounced power supply or management technology."

Levy is not convinced it matters so much anyway. "Apple will never sell the iPhone in massive numbers anyway," he claims. "It’s too expensive and too feature-limited. Just like the first generation iPod gave way to follow-on devices that established a clear product hierarchy while dropping the price and expanding the feature set, the iPhone will follow a similar trajectory."

RIM Pearl 2
The buzz around BlackBerry 's rumored "Pearl 2" phone is growing, but analysts are expecting a fourth quarter launch for the Canadian vendor's latest entry into the consumer market. "A RIM release is an event in itself, so I would expect RIM to hold off on an official announcement until later this summer," says Levy.

The new device is likely to be thinner, smaller, and lighter than before [Ed note: Well, duh!]. New features will include faster EV-DO 3G connectivity, a better camera, and more memory.

Motorola, Nokia & Sony-Ericsson
"Nokia’s announcement earlier this week of the super-low-power Bluetooth technology, known as Wibree, will likely eclipse anything it would announce at NXTcomm," says Levy. "Motorola’s major handheld-related announcements came last month, while Sony-Ericsson’s announcements are scheduled to hit the press before the show begins." (See Sony Ericsson Launches 3 Phones and The Next Cut.)

Microsoft/HTC
Steady is the way for Windows devices at NXTcomm, according to analysts. Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is launching a business-focused Windows Mobile 6 device from High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498). The slide-top smartphone with a full keyboard is called -- get this -- the "Mogul."

Siemens
Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) actually has new devices at the show. The German phone vendor is showing off new Gigaset units that combine traditional cellular calls with VOIP. Other vendors are expected to follow suit with units that add connectivity over several different wireless network types.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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