Motorola's latest phone reads name cards for you

Motorola is offering a smart phone in China that includes a business card scanner.

Motorola is making life a little easier for Chinese executives. The company's latest smart phone, the Ming, packs a 2-megapixel camera that doubles as a business card scanner.

Name cards are an essential business tool in China, as in other parts of Asia. When two executives meet for the first time, they always exchange cards. To help users keep track of the cards they collect, Motorola engineers added a card scanner and optical character-recognition software to the Ming handset.

The Ming is the first Motorola handset to incorporate the card-reader function, said Guo Feizhou, a Motorola spokesman in Beijing.

The clamshell-style Ming, named after the Chinese word for "bright" or "clear," has a clear-crystal flip cover to protect its 240-pixel-by-320-pixel TFT (thin film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) screen, which is capable of displaying 260,000 colors.

The smart phone, which includes an Intel Corp. Xscale processor, runs a version of the Linux operating system and includes a suite of productivity applications, including a document viewer, a POP3 mail client, a calendar, and a contact list that lets users assign digital photographs and specific ringtones for different contacts.

Users can input Chinese characters using the Ming's stylus and character-recognition software. The software allows for characters to be input using a range of methods, including the Pinyin romanization system.

Other features include an FM stereo radio receiver, a built-in music player, a speakerphone function, and support for Bluetooth.

The Ming handset is currently available in China for around 4,000 renminbi (US$497) and has begun shipping in Hong Kong.

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