LG Electronics on Monday said its new Trax multimedia phone would be available exclusively through AT&T, which last month expanded its entertainment offerings with the nationwide launch of a wireless video-sharing service.
The Trax is a sleek, multipurpose clamshell-shaped device that connects to AT&T's 3G UMTS/HSDPA network. Besides video sharing, AT&T offers video streams, music downloading, and other services on the high-speed network.
The Trax is roughly 4 inches by 2 inches, and is slightly thicker than a half-inch. The device, which weighs about 3.5 ounces, includes a memory port for 4 Gbytes of microSD expansion storage. The phone also supports Bluetooth wireless technology used in hands-free headsets, and includes a 1.3-megapixel camera and in-camera photo-editing.
The Trax is scheduled to be available Tuesday in select AT&T stores and online. The phone will cost $130 after a mail-in rebate and a two-year service contract.
The Trax is offered as an access device for AT&T's growing number of entertainment services. In July, AT&T launched in 160 markets across the United States mobile Video Share, which enables two subscribers to share video during voice conversations. Besides the Trax, the service also is available on four other handsets that range in purchase price from $30 to $130: LG CU50a, Sync by Samsung, Samsung A717, and Samsung A727. The service costs $5 a month for 25 minutes and $10 a month for 60 minutes. An à la carte feature also is available for 35 cents a minute.
AT&T also offers a mobile music service that enables customers to access subscription services, such as Napster and eMusic. "The Trax by LG offers AT&T customers an extremely functional music phone with a cutting-edge design," Ehtisham Rabbani, VP of product strategy and marketing for LG Electronics MobileComm USA, said in a statement.
AT&T also offers the Cellular Video service, which features content from CNN, The Weather Channel, iFilm, Comedy Central, and exclusive premium content from cable network HBO.
LG Electronics and Samsung are the top mobile-phone brands in the United States for advanced entertainment features, according to Parks Associates. A survey of 2,000 Internet users age 13 and older found that 12% reported having mobile TV features on LG phones, and 11% on Samsung handsets. Some 8% of the respondents had Motorola phones with advanced entertainment features, and no one had Nokia products with the same capabilities.
New data suggests that consumers are warming to the idea of watching TV programming on the small screen of a mobile phone. Between 60% and 85% of people who have seen video on a handset enjoyed the experience, according to Research and Markets.