Alcatel extends its reach in NZ market
ELECTRONIC communications giant Alcatel is strengthening its bridgehead into
the New Zealand cellular market.
Alcatel entered the global cellular industry in 1996, and released its first
cellphone in New Zealand in May. The company now has two phones on the market,
with three more available soon.
All Alcatel's phones connect to BellSouth's GSM digital network, and the
company has a close marketing relationship with GSM reseller Telstra.
The standout product among its new offerings is the One Touch Com. The Com
is a combined cellphone, personal organiser and e-mail client, which replaces
the regular telephone keypad with a touchscreen.
Using an on-board modem, the phone can link with Internet connection points
including corporate dial-in lines or an Internet access company. From here it
can send and receive electronic mail with the POP3 and SMTP protocols.
Additional message functions are offered with the GSM Short Message Service
(SMS), which can send short bursts of text to other GSM cellphones.
The Com's large screen allows more information to be displayed at once. This
allows one-touch scrolling and dialling of numbers in its address book. A
selector wheel on the side of the phone provides navigation without needing to
access the touch screen.
An intelligent charger has connections for power and data. The data line is
plugged into a personal computer serial port, allowing information to be
exchanged between the phone and Microsoft's Outlook and Schedule+ applications.
The on-board calender and diary functions can be updated across the cellular
network using SMS codes, allowing staff to change appointments while the user
is on the move.
An infra-red port gives additional linking capabilities.
Other software features include on-screen graphics sketching, a calculator
and access to information stored on the GSM memory card. The phone has a total
of 512Kb of memory.
Specifications quoted by Alcatel include 2.5 days of standby time from a
Alcatel's other new offerings are the One Touch Club, which is targeted at
low-end business customers, and the super-small One Touch Pocket.
The One Touch Club's big selling point is the ability to run off AA or AAA
batteries, in addition to the traditional lithium or NiMH batteries supplied.
This provides a emergency power option if customers are away from a charging
The Pocket fits comfortably in a breast pocket. It also has the ability to
share information with a PC, using a serial link from the charger.
Pricing on the new phones will depend on purchasing agreements with the
cellular provider or dealer. The One Touch Com and Club will be available in
November, but the One Touch Pocket is still undergoing field trials.
Alcatel quotes an international failure rate of less than 1 per cent on the