NEC adds touchscreen to new cell phones

NEC will this month launch two cell phones with large touch-screen display panels and text recognition, it said Friday.

Both phones are for use on GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks and are targeted at users in China. Entering text into a mobile phone can be a slow and frustrating process at the best of times but is even more confusing in China where there are several different standards for text entry and thousands of characters.

NEC, based in Tokyo, added the touch screen to make text entry easier, said NEC spokeswoman, Emi Hidaka.

The N610 is the smaller of the two handsets and measures 88.9 millimeters by 48.5 millimeters by 21.2 millimeters. It weighs 95 grams and includes a 2-inch display with 176 pixels by 220 pixels resolution and a 300,000 pixel resolution camera. It supports 40-tone ringtones, MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) version 1.2.1, Java MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) 1.0 and Motion JPEG video clips. Talk time is 120 minutes and standby time is 150 hours, according to NEC.

The N620 has slightly higher specifications and is a little larger. It measures 94.8 millimeters by 51.8 millimeters by 22.3 millimeters and weighs 102 grams. The screen is a 2.2-inch model with resolution equivalent to the N610. The camera is also the same resolution and other features include 64-tone ringtones, MMS, WAP version 1.2.1, Java (MIDP 2.0), Motion JPEG and a Chinese language text to speech system. Talk time is 120 minutes and standby time is 200 hours, NEC said.

NEC plans to put both phones on sale in China in mid-July, Hidaka said. Prices have yet to be determined.

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