Panasonic shows first international 3G handset

Panasonic Mobile Communications unveiled in Beijing on Tuesday its first WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) mobile phone for the international market.

A prototype of the handset, called the Z800, was on show at the PT/Expo Comm China 2004 telecommunications exhibition that opened in Beijing on Tuesday, according to a company statement. Launch plans for the handset were not announced.

Panasonic Mobile Communications, a subsidiary of Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial, has been producing WCDMA handsets for the Japanese domestic market since NTT DoCoMo launched its 3G service in 2001. Panasonic was one of two handset makers to initially offer cellular phones for the service and the Z800 resembles style-wise its Japan launch model, the P2101V. Panasonic has subsequently developed three further WCDMA handsets and two PC Card data modems for NTT DoCoMo's service.

The Z800 draws on this technology base, the company said.

The handset is a clamshell-style cell phone that supports WCDMA and tri-band GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service). It includes a browser compatible with WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) version 2.0, Java support and software for e-mail, SMS (Short Message Service) and MMS (Multimedia Message Service).

The main display is a color TFT (thin film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) with 176 pixels by 220 pixels resolution and the sub-display on the outside of the body is a color STN (super twisted nematic) LCD with 64 pixels by 96 pixels resolution. There are two cameras, an outer one with 1.3-megapixel resolution and an inner-one with 110,000-pixel resolution. The phone also has Bluetooth, USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 and IrDA infrared ports and supports MiniSD memory cards.

It measures 96.5 millimeters by 49 millimeters by 26 millimeters and weighs 115 grams.

At the same exhibition, the company also unveiled five GSM handsets for the Asian market including its X700 model, which is based on the Symbian OS and Series 60 platform. The handset has already been launched in Europe and its appearance at the Beijing event marks its Asian launch, Panasonic said.

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Martyn Williams

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