After MWC: Placing bets on the next mobile HD voice handsets

As France Telecom/Orange announced its plans for covering Europe with mobile HD voice service and AMR-WB, a senior company official said Orange plans to offer 8 mobile HD voice phones in the first half of 2010, with “all” of its handsets supporting HD voice by the end of 2011.   Which vendors are qualified and which should we expect?

Currently known and already on deck are Nokia (www.nokia.com) and Sony Ericsson.  Nokia already supplies one handset for Orange Moldova’s mobile HD voice service, the Nokia 6720c.  Sony Ericsson announced two GreenHeart handsets as “HD Voice ready” with AMR-WB.

Doing the math = 8 – 3 (identified) = 5.  Add (subtract) another Nokia model for good measure and that leaves 4 handsets and at least one more manufacturer needed to fill out a portfolio of mobile HD voice handsets by the end of June.

A look at Orange’s website shows the company also offers phones from Alcatel, Blackberry, HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung.  Of these, HTC, LG, and Samsung are the most likely suspects.

HTC practically defines leading edge performance for the tech set, especially when it comes to Android-based phones.  Combine that with D2 Technology’s announcement of incorporating wideband codec support into its IP communications stack for Android phones makes an AMR-WB HTC handset probable; D2 has implied that it is alpha-testing AMR-WB.

LG has 8 phones in the Orange portfolio. At CES, a senior LG executive got very quiet when asked about AMR-WB and HD voice, followed by some very careful words around not talking about future products.

With 14 phones in the Orange portfolio, it would be very surprising if Samsung did not offer a high-end handset supporting AMR-WB.

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