Motorola Inc’s new 9800X Personal Cellphone, claimed to be the smallest, lightest cellphone available (CI No 1,165), is part of what the company describes as a major effort to dominate the top end of the cellular market. The new product – launched over here at London’s Science Museum – measures 6.4 by 2.4 and is either 1.3 or 1.7 thick depending on the battery: it weighs 12.3oz with the standard battery. Motorola claims the next smallest phone on the market is 54% larger than the 9800X. The cellphone will be available for all 900MHz analogue systems; it allows up to 75 minutes continuous talk time with a standard battery, has 1,320 channels, full ETACS capability and memory for 120 names and numbers. The next efforts in reducing weight will probably focus on the battery, which weighs 5.6oz in standard form. At UKP2,300 – Americans pay only $3,000, the equivalent of UKP1,765 the 9800X will be promoted as a premium product, in a industry where cellphones are increasingly becoming a mass market commodity; UK shipments start this week. The phone was developed at Motorola’s research facilities in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and the company has plans to bring production of the phones to Europe, possibly to its Stotfold facility in the UK; around 90% of the phone’s components are from within Motorola. The phone has been launched several months before the start of Telepoint service this summer; Motorola, however, maintains that the two products are in separate markets. The new phone will be supplied through Motorola’s existing dealers, as well as the major cellular distributors. Initial industry reaction appears to be favourable: Millicom Cellular UK Ltd expressed a wish to take the product within hours of its launch, and Air Call Cellular Ltd is also set to take the 9800X soon. Both predict strong demand for the phone in the early stages of its release.
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