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$10 paper mobile phone to launch this year

$20 Web device also in the pipeline from NY inventor

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A US inventor plans to have a $10 paper mobile phone on the market later this year.

The disposable device is the brainchild of Randice-Lisa Altschul, who has 22 patents on the technology. Called the Phone-Card-Phone, it is the thickness of three credit cards and made from recycled paper products. It comes with 60 minutes of calling time and a hands-free attachment.

Despite its name, there is no actual phone card involved. When users are finished they can either chuck the phone away, or charge extra time via their credit card.

The phones will be available in three ways - through retail - in supermarkets and clothes stores such as The Gap; from vending machines; and as promotions -where companies such as McDonalds would dish them out along with a Big Mac and fries.

It may sound like pie in the sky, but Altschul says her business, New Jersey, NY-based Dieceland Tech Corp, already has 100 million units on order. And the phone card companies themselves are among those putting in orders for the products - she reckons they are worried that the device will replace their market.

The phones, 300 million of which should be produced in the US in the first year, are due to be unleashed on the US market in the third quarter of 2001. Six months later they will be available globally.

The gadgets are initially aimed at "moms, kids and senior citizens", according to Altschul. "I'm not going after the business-man market."

"I'm going cheap and dumb," she told The Register, revealing: "In monetary terms, I want to be the next Bill Gates."

Also in the pipeline is a paper laptop. This device, at the prototype stage, is expected to cost $20 and act as a Web access device. It is due for launch at the end of 2002.

You can catch a glimpse of the products here. ®

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