Japanese unveil mobile videophone

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TOKYO--Japanese telecommunications company Kyocera Corp. on May 17 took the wraps of a new mobile phone that transmits and receives images of callers through a miniature camera and a two-inch LCD screen in the phone.

The company's VisualPhone VP-210 will hit the market in Japan at the end of July and sell for less than $325. The phone, which is the first of its kind in the world, weighs 165 grams (8.5 ounces); measures 4 mm wide, 140 mm long and 29 mm thick (2" x 5.6" x 1.1") and works on the personal Handyphone system.

With a VisualPhone, a caller can plug a headset with micro-phone into the mobile phone and send pictures of himself or herself to someone with the same type of phone, who will be able to watch moving pictures of the caller while sending similar images to the caller.

The phone allows for digital photos and text to be sent by email. Caller ID systems can store photographs and an answering service allows for digital photographs to be stored with the recorded voice message.

Kyocera says it has no plans to market the phone overseas.

Copyright May 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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