Sierra Wireless announced today the Voq line of professional phones and value-added software for business users. New Voq-branded professional phones will be based on Microsoft Windows MobileTM software for Smartphones and will feature both a familiar phone keypad and unique flip-open QWERTY thumbpad. The Voq product line also includes other hardware and software innovations for easy information navigation and retrieval, compelling text entry, and email that is automatically updated. The first Voq model will support global markets by operating over the GSM and GPRS wireless networks and is planned for commercial availability in the first half of 2004.
"Sierra Wireless is in a great position to succeed in the Smartphone market, from their strong background in wireless data to their established relationships with wireless carriers," said Roberta Wiggins, Director, Wireless and Mobile Services, The Yankee Group. "Our research points to an upcoming spike in the adoption of Smartphones and Voq's key features including the flip-open QWERTY thumbpad, make it a formidable offering in this market space."
"Sierra Wireless' Voq promises to be the most important new entrant in the messaging device space in 2004. By going with the Windows Mobile platform and leveraging their proven experience in wireless data, Sierra Wireless and Voq are setting the standard for future phone/messaging handhelds," said Ken Hyers, Senior Analyst, In-Stat/MDR.
"Traditional handset manufacturers are struggling to produce a Smartphone that truly addresses the needs of the corporate mainstream," said Dale Vile, Senior Analyst, Quocirca. "The ability to store and access business information is of little benefit if it cannot be navigated conveniently, and effective business messaging requires a comfortable input mechanism. Sierra Wireless understands that innovative ways of tackling these issues are essential if service providers are to gain acceptance of Smartphones and tap new revenue streams in the business sector."
The Voq professional phone is based on Windows Mobile(r) software for Smartphones, which enables users to synchronize their most important information from Outlook, browse the Internet, listen to music, and customize their phones with personalization options. It has a 200MHz Intel(r) PXA262 processor with stacked flash memory with value-added hardware and software product capabilities that include:
* A familiar 12-key dial-pad for full mobile phone functionality and a unique flip-open QWERTY thumbpad for easy text entry;
* A remarkably simple way to store, navigate and retrieve information;
* Secure, automatically updated e-mail requiring no desktop redirector or dedicated server. The e-mail solution supports standard enterprise email systems including Microsoft Exchange(r), Lotus Notes(r), and Novell Groupwise(r) ;
* Software upgrade options with advanced e-mail functionality and support for existing Virtual Private Networking (VPN) security systems.
These capabilities are the result of extensive primary market research into the communications needs of mobile professionals. Sierra Wireless has an active IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) program and has applied for patent protection to cover the unique hardware and software differentiators it has conceived in the Voq product line.
"Sierra Wireless has expertise in providing wireless data solutions for business users, and we're pleased to welcome their new handset based on our Windows Mobile software," said Juha Christensen, Corporate Vice President of the Mobile Devices Division at Microsoft. "The Voq brand of Smartphones from Sierra Wireless combines the power and familiarity of our Windows Mobile software into an exciting and unique design."
"Sierra Wireless has done a great job creating a family of computing and communications devices with very innovative designs," said Ron Smith, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Wireless Communications and Computing Group. "With the power and performance of the Intel processor and memory components, the Voq professional phone has delivered convergence and mobility for the business user."
"Voq leverages our own expertise in enterprise wireless data and our existing channels and relationships," said David Sutcliffe, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sierra Wireless. "Busy professionals and corporate users need a wireless solution that can deliver compelling voice and data functionality in a single, pocketable device. We are investing in expanding our product line to meet these needs and are doing so with a continued business focus on growth and profitability."
The company has an existing global network of wireless operators and corporate technology channels and expects to take Voq to market under co-branding arrangements with some of these channels. Voq hardware and software products will be in network operator and end user testing programs in Europe and North America through Q1 of 2004. In addition to working closely with Microsoft and Intel, Sierra Wireless is partnering with Flextronics International Ltd., a global leader in wireless handset manufacturing, to manufacture Voq products.
Sierra Wireless provided financial guidance for the third and fourth quarters on July 17, 2003. There are no changes to the third quarter guidance resulting from this Voq professional phone announcement. Updates to fourth quarter guidance, if any, will be provided as previously planned on October 22, 2003 when we report Q3 results. The company has been funding Voq product and market development primarily through resource allocation and internally generated margins and plans to continue doing so.