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Sanyo sub-sonic mobile phone to ship by month's end

Bone conduction

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Japanese electronics giant Sanyo has developed a truly silent mobile phone. Instead of a loudspeaker, the handset, the TS41, uses the user's own skull to transmit the incoming call.

Using bone to conduct sound waves isn't new, but this is the first time we've heard the technique being used for a mobile phone. Sanyo claims it's a world's first.

When you hold the handset against your cheekbone, it vibrates and the vibrations are transmitted through your skull to the bones in your inner ear. They vibrate in turn, just as if they were under the influence of a sound wave and send signals into the brain accordingly.

The upshot: the user hears a 'sound' that isn't actually there. Sanyo claims bone conduction makes the 'sound' easier to hear, especially in a noisy environment.

Sanyo's handset will be offered by Japanese network provider Tu-Ka at the end of this month.

The clamshell handset weighs 98g. Inside is a 2.1in, 176 x 132 16-bit colour LCD. On the back is a 1in, 64 x 64 16-bit colour screen that display the time. It can play 40-voice polyphonic ringtones.

The TS41 contains a conventional speaker. Using it, the phone can provide 140 minutes' worth of talktime. With the sub-sonic speaker, it can only manage 130 minutes. Standby time is 400 minutes. ®

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