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CTIA 2006

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In addition to the phones LG officially announced which were prominently featured at their booth, we spotted a few more on the show floor.

 

The AX390 is an upgraded AX-4750. Like the the 4750, it is an Alltel phone with Kodiak Push To Talk and a large speaker in the center of the clamshell hinge. The 390 doesn't seem to actually upgrade any features, it just updates the design. (At least based on the limited info LG would provide on the phone.) However the new design alone is a much-needed update, as the design of the 4750 was rather clunky.

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When meeting with Kineto to discuss upcoming UMA plans for the US, we had chance to play with the LG CL400.

 

Like the Samsung T709 and Nokia 6136, the CL400 is a rather ordinary handset. (Is it just us or does it look like a less slick LG350?) Like the others it will be able to seamlessly handoff voice and data calls between the GSM network and Wi-Fi hotspots. We confirmed that T-Mobile will definitely launch UMA in the US, but it is not clear whether this model will be part of their offering, considering T-Mobile doesn't regularly offer LG handsets.

Additionally we were told that Cingular was seriously considering UMA, however once AT&T announced it would become sole owner of Cingular their interest in UMA waned severely. This seems at odds with the advantage of UMA, which would let AT&T make the most of its landline network and hotspots, leveraging it to lighten the cellular load. This LG as well as UMA version of the N80 were almost certainly created with Cingular in mind. The LG model even starts with a C, a sure sign it was meant for Cingular.

At a separate Nokia demo, we were shown how UMA doesn't require a special access point; all it requires is a WEP connection between the phone and an access point, even an off-the-shelf one. When in range of a hotspot it has the password for, the phone will automatically establish a connection, tunnel into the UMA server over Wi-Fi and transfer the call.

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