CTIA Fall 2006
UTStarcom continues to be a unique player in the US cell phone market. While they are finding success bringing their own entry-level phones to US carriers, they also continue to help overseas manufacturers bring unique phones to America.
The most interesting example of that this year is the G'zOne from Casio-Hitachi.
The phone has been rumored and demo'd for almost a year, but now it finally seems on track for a holiday-season release. At the spring CTIA show, we only got to see the Japanese version, but now UTStarcom is showing off the US version. The one we saw had a Verizon logo on the back and was running the full Verizon menu interface.
It's fairly well-spec'd phone, with a 2-megapixel camera and EVDO high-speed data, although it lacks a memory card slot, music player, and Bluetooth.
The big feature however is its rugged and completely waterproof design. It's not just water-resistant; you can actually submerge it completely, as UTStarcom demo'd at the last CTIA show.
While Casio is a big name in phones in Japan in general, Casio's watch division also clearly had a hand in the design of the G'zOne. Not only does the external display look like a watch, but it works like one, too. Holding down a side button activates the stopwatch and timer features, which look and work just like they would on a Casio watch.
UTStarcom was also showing off a very thin clamshell phone they call the CDM-8932.
If it looks familiar, you might recognize it as the Pantech PN-3200 / PN320. While Pantech is bringing it directly to Telus and soon Disney Mobile, UTStarcom will handle its launch with some other carriers. They claim it is on track for release soon with at least two Teir 1 or 2 US carriers.
Last but not least (except in thickness) is the SLVR-like PCS-1400.
This little number is actually made by UTStarcom. We've covered it before and speculated that it was headed to Virgin Mobile, which has since been confirmed by documents on the FCC web site.
A 1450 model with slightly upgraded specs was also on display, although there's no word yet on when or if it will be picked up by a US carrier.
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