Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Remembering the LG Chocolate and Verizon’s VCast
BASKING RIDGE, N.J.-Verizon Wireless is using the launch of the new Chocolate phone to tout upgrades to its Vcast Music service. The highly anticipated handset from LG Electronics Co. Ltd. makes its U.S. debut this week after gaining substantial traction in South Korea and Europe. The new Verizon Wireless model will be targeted at mobile music fans, featuring dedicated keys to access playlists, removable memory and the ability to send messages or browse the wireless Web as it plays music. The sliding-style phone, which is available online and is scheduled to hit retail shelves next week, will sell for $150 after discounts and a two-year agreement. “This is a lifestyle device that reflects the discerning taste of a customer who relies upon the Verizon Wireless network to stay connected,” said Chief Marketing Officer John Stratton, “but wants a device that speaks to the innovation and personalization that can be achieved with music.” … Read more

Starbucks does mobile gaming
SEATTLE—Starbucks Coffee Co. is the latest mega-brand to go mobile, launching a scavenger-hunt promotional campaign for wireless users. The coffee giant launched a Web site, starbuckssummer.com, that allows customers to send a message to a short code and receive three weekly clues on their phones via text messages. Users are asked to submit a text message or a photo to “solve” the clue. The company claims the campaign is the first mobile game incorporating visual recognition technology, which determines whether submitted images represent the correct answer to each question. Five successful contestants will by chosen to compete in a real-time game in New York City, with the winner receiving a trip to Costa Rica. … Read more

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microSD cards take off
PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y.—As multimedia-enabled handsets flood the market, so are external memory options, according to a new report from The NPD Group. The number of handsets equipped with removable media slots increased more than 250 percent to 2 million phones sold in the first quarter of this year, up from a half-million in the second quarter of 2005. The most popular memory card format is the microSD card, offered in half of the 2 million phones sold, followed by the miniSD card, featured in just under one-third of phones sold in the first quarter. The cards can be used to store downloaded content from the handset and port that content to other devices, or vice versa. Some carriers supply the memory card with the purchase of a phone, but many require the consumer to purchase their own separately … Read more

Cingular brings 3G to San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO, Texas-Cingular Wireless L.L.C. launched its UMTS/HSDPA mobile broadband network in the hometown of parent company AT&T Inc. The wireless carrier announced that it has added San Antonio to the list of metropolitan areas where its high-speed wireless data service is available. According to Cingular, users now have “contiguous 3G coverage in the greater San Antonio area and through Austin and surrounding areas.” Cingular said that it will invest around $346 million in its Texas network this year, of which about $156 million will be spent in the southern area of the state including San Antonio. Cingular plans to extend its HSDPA network coverage to most of the top 100 U.S. markets by the end of the year. … Read more

Cingular gets an Entourage
LOS ANGELES-Cingular Wireless L.L.C. has teamed with HBO to offer made-for-mobile episodes of the cable operator’s hit show “Entourage.” The 4-minute episodes are designed to complement the TV series and will center on “Entourage” character Johnny Drama. The wireless clips will feature the same characters and actors as the regular show and will be developed by the same writers and producers. “The episodes are short and funny,” said Cingular Vice President of Marketing John Burbank, “just the kind of entertainment mobile customers want.” Cingular also said that subscribers can now view full-length episodes from “Entourage” as well as other HBO titles including “Sex and the City,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Tourgasm.” The news is the latest effort by a Tier 1 carrier to push multimedia entertainment services by offering high-profile content from well-known providers. Verizon Wireless has offered made-for-mobile clips based on the hit Fox show “24,” and Sprint Nextel Corp. inked a deal to carry exclusive video from the National Football League. … Read more

Motorola on developing a handset icon: the Razr

Score a hit in the global marketplace with a sleek handset that spawns imitators and you can crown yourself a design innovator and refer to your designs as “iconic.” This is particularly true if, previously, you’d been groping for ideas and, now, sales and glowing press propel your company’s revival. Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. In developing this story line–part hard fact, part myth-making–it helps if you are recognized by a high-profile award for your work and you have hard-working, humble brainiacs to trot out as representative of your new direction. Yes, we’re talking Motorola Inc. and the Razr handset, which has taken the world by storm in the past two years. Deservedly, the company, the handset and in particular the Razr design team were recognized last week in Washington, D.C., by the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation’s Industrial Design Inventor of the Year Award. Motorola, through its anointed designers and engineers, claims that it has learned some keys to design innovation through the creation of the Razr. If that’s true and the process can be repeated, the Midwestern handset behemoth may have struck upon a process that could produce another hit-certainly that’s the dream and the plan of the company and its investors. … Read more

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Smartphones and data pricing: Compete on price or hold the line?
The data on mobile devices and data is clear and simple: smart-phone users consume more data because their devices are optimized for games, video, music and e-mail. Even the most popular handsets-for instance, the seemingly ubiquitous Motorola Inc. Razr-don’t come close to driving similar use. All this according to M:Metrics’ May Benchmark Survey of smart-phone use and data consumption in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Germany and France. So is driving data adoption, which challenges the industry, as simple as building affordable smart phones and they will come? One view is that driving data adoption, at least in the United States, is in fact as simple as making smart phones available at affordable prices. That follows the traditional model in use today in which network operators subsidize handsets to make their money on two-year service contracts, with either smorgasbord or a la carte pricing for viewing video, downloading music, sending text messages, downloading ringtones, etc. But another view is that the industry should develop stronger value propositions for both devices and data offerings and focus on maintaining prices and thus margins for long-term profitability, avoiding the fate of the wireline companies that competed on price until their services were commoditized, cannibalizing their industry. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.



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