HOUSTON — Thales Communications announced plans to expand the demonstration program of its multiband Liberty radios and is demonstrating new battery-charger functionality at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) show this week.

While Thales has displayed the open-standard, multiband Liberty radio at trade shows for two years and is currently shipping the product, the company’s ability to let potential customers trial the radio has been limited. However, with more than 100 Liberty radios in cache, Thales is in a better position to let public-safety agencies “test drive” the multiband device, said Steve Nichols, the company’s director of homeland security and public safety.

“It’s the nature of this market that they all want to try one,” Nichols said, noting that regional managers can arrange for a demo Liberty to be sent to a public-safety agency “probably within the next month or so.”

Thales also is demonstrating a new battery charger that will charge every Thales portable radio — public safety and military — the company manufactures, Nichols said. The charger meets military specifications for use in high-noise and generator-power scenarios, he said.

“For your average police department that has plenty of AC just sitting there, they’re good,” Nichols said. “But, as soon as they deploy — go out to a Katrina, go out to a fire or go out to an earthquake —they’re on generator power. This probably would be of interest to them, because it’s really a charger that’s designed to work in those kinds of environments.”

In addition, Thales is demonstrating a prototype of battery-management software it hopes to release later this year, Nichols said. With the new software and connectivity, the status of a battery charge and the long-term health of a battery in a Thales charger can be monitored both on site and from remote locations, he said.