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New phones unveiled at CES

Nokia, Sprint and others show off new phones and phone accessories geared to work on new, higher-speed cell phone networks at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Nokia, Sprint and others unveiled new phones and phone accessories Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The gear will work on most major carriers' networks and on the new, higher-speed cell phone networks Cingular Wireless, Sprint and Verizon Wireless are expected to introduce this year.

The new networks supposedly will be able to handle more cell phone calls at the same time, which carriers say will make cell phones more reliable. But whether it will improve coverage areas or dead zones--a major sore spot for cell phone users--remains to be seen.

Nokia unveiled a phone designed to work simultaneously on two different types of phone networks, according to a company representative. The phone, the Nokia 6340, will work on cell phone networks based on technologies GSM (Global System For Mobile Communications) and TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access), according to a Nokia representative.

Carriers such as Cingular Wireless have networks that use both TDMA and GSM technologies. Nokia's phone could help carriers that use these two types of networks cut costs such as roaming charges they pay other carriers, said Nokia spokesman Keith Nowak. Cingular has not signed any distribution agreements, Nowak said.

Kyocera Wireless unveiled a portable keyboard for the 6035, a combination cell phone and personal digital assistant sold by Sprint and Verizon Wireless, according to a Kyocera Wireless representative.

Portable keyboards are already available for many wireless devices, including most other PDAs and Nextel Communications' line of Java phones.

Also Monday, Sprint announced that it will begin selling Java-enabled Hitachi phones in the United States. These phones would allow customers to download software instead of forcing them to buy a new phone to get new features. Phone owners will be able to download games and business applications using the Java programming language, according to Sprint.

Motorola 120x These are the first Hitachi cell phones available in the United States, a Hitachi representative said. They will be available in mid-2002, to coincide with the launch of Sprint's new phone network, according to Sprint PCS Senior Vice President John Garcia.

Sprint announced its intention to start selling Java phones in September. Sprint is following Nextel Communications, Motorola and Sun Microsystems, which started selling Java phones in early April.

Motorola also joined the high-speed phone parade with the 120x, a silver handset that will cost less than $100, according to a company representative.

Verizon Wireless isn't expected to make any major announcements, according to a Verizon representative. A Samsung representative said the company will announce some new phones for both Verizon and Sprint customers at the show.