Florida-based startup xG Technology recently announced its completion of the manual assembly of its TX60 handsets by Cambridge Consultants, setting the stage for mass production of the mobile voice-over-IP (VoIP) devices by early next year.

The TX60 is a “small-footprint phone with some nice design features,” including operation on xG’s proprietary xMAX networks and Wi-Fi networks, xG Technology Chairman and CEO Rick Mooers said. Company officials believe the TX60 is a significant upgrade to the company’s previous handset designs, which were much larger.

After Cambridge Consultants completes its testing of the TX60, the handset design will be given to xG’s production partner in China. Mooers said the company hopes mass production of the handset can begin before the end of the year, but it may not happen until early in 2009.

Meanwhile, xG Technology’s second-generation BSN 250 base stations that will work with the TX60 handsets are expected to be operational by mid-November, said Joe Bobier, xG Technology’s president of operations and CTO. Territorial customers who purchased the xG’s first-generation mapping base stations will receive the second-generation base stations at not additional cost, Mooers said.

When the base stations are deployed and used with a limited number of TX60 handsets late this year, xG Technology officials hope that tests confirm that the system meets 4G parameters, Mooers said.

Known as xMAX, the technology developed by Bobier and xG’s engineering team has been a source of controversy within the wireless industry, with critics arguing that the company’s claims of very low-power, long-range, high-throughput data transmissions are not physically possible. While xG had hoped to unveil a voice-only mobile network last fall, the company instead decided to focus on delivering full-featured voice and data mobile networks that would better rival the 3G offerings available today.

“We are behind our timeline and some of our original expectations … The biggest issues have been the normal bumps that you get in design and manufacturing,” Mooers said. “The timing stuff has nothing to do with the viability of the technology. It has to do with the fact that it’s hard to design a mobile network ourselves, when you don’t have Ericsson as a partner or you don’t have Verizon as a partner.

“We had to go through a learning curve here, but it was necessary for us to be able to realize our financial opportunity without having to give it away.”