zzzPhone looks to capitalize on open access


zzzPhone looks to capitalize on open access

Yesterday a new online mobile phone vendor called zzzPhone launched its factory-direct, customized handset business. The company lets users build souped-up phones, which are shipped unlocked. zzzPhone aims to focus on feature phones with large touch screens and customized features like those offered by Apple's iPhone, Nokia's N95 and Palm's Treos.

If carrier statements and FCC rules are to be believed, we are on the cusp of an open access era in mobile communications. The Shenzhen, China-based zzzPhone is looking to capitalize on this new trend by empowering users to bring the handset of their choice with the features of their choice to any GSM network.

What's more, zzzPhone's elimination of the "middle man" in the mobile phone supply chain could significantly reduce costs for users: A near equivalent handset to the N95 costs significantly less than Nokia's pricetag of $739--just $149.

While zzzPhone assures shoppers that it uses the "same high quality components" as major handset brands like Motorola, Nokia, Palm, and Samsung, the phones suffer from a lack of imagination, which could turn off most online shoppers. Engadget quipped that the company's soporific name says it all "zzz zzz zzz."

Verizon Wireless recently noted that its open access initiative would only appeal to a small number of its subscribers. The same is probably true for zzzPhone and other customizable factory-direct phone portals. For those buyers that can get past the boring designs, a cheap touchscreen-enabled, tri-band, seven-megapixel camera phone with two SIM slots could be the best way to connect to that upcoming open access 700 MHz C Block. -Brian