Alcatel extends its reach in NZ market
(Dominion; 10/27/98)

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 
 lithium battery.

    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 
 new phones.

Thanks Kinetic!

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