Vodafone launches own brand phones; backs away from German cable bid

Ignoring the opportunity of making the announcements at MWC, Vodafone has unveiled a clutch of new handsets that will carry the company's own brand.

Leading the pack is a device manufactured by Taiwan-based Qisda which has a display measuring 10cm, but more importantly claims to be the first handset to support a 1280 x 1024 pixels touchscreen display. The phone, which also features HSDPA, Wi-Fi, accelerometer and a 3MP camera, would also appear to be primed to run the Android OS.

Also of note is the Vodafone 2010 Compass handset which has been designed in collaboration with German studio nr21 and features the company's 360 service, music player, camera and a full QWERTY keyboard. The Vodafone 360 Krystal handset is distinguished by having two displays (one on each side). One apparent application for this feature is to place the phone on a foreign language newspaper which will then be translated and displayed on the second screen. However, questions have been raised over whether the 360 Krystal will be anything more than a glitzy concept or demo handset.

Other devices launched include one developed by LG (the GD880), and the Vodafone 737 Quincy and Vodafone 545 Larry with the manufacturing source of these latter phones not being made public.

Finally, the company unveiled the Mio Valinor--albeit not a phone but a car navigator with a 17.5cm display, HD video support, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity.

However, none of these new devices had pricing information or release dates.

Separately, Vodafone has stated that it has dropped plans to acquire the German cable operator Kabel Deutschland. Offers for the business, valued at around €5 billion, closed earlier this week with BC Partner, CVC Capital Partners and Bain Capital already confirmed as bidders.

For more on this story:
Unwired View and BusinessWeek

Related stories:
Vodafone first with Google Nexus in Europe
Vodafone dictates strategy to handset vendors
Vodafone pushes for iPhone to carry 360 service
Economic slowdown accelerates Linux growth in mobile handsets

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