Three new handsets from 3

Lovely. But 3 x DoCoMo = divorce?

3 UK has introduced three small video handsets, doubling the range available to VideoTalk subscribers. Climbing onboard the 3G network are
the NEC e616, the NEC e313 and the Motorola A925.

The NEC e616 is a clamshell style, dual-band phone. It has a built-in MP3 player, Bluetooth, Sony MemoryStick Duo card slot and Java support. It’ll cost you £199.99 from 3 shops or from 3Points in Superdrug. The NECe313 is not so feature-rich, but is half the price at £99.99. The main selling point is its size (small).

Motorola’s A925 is a phone/PDA hybrid, based on the Symbian platform. Portability is not a selling point in this case, unless you believe that more is more. The A925 is nearly 15cm long, has a 208x320 pixel 16-bit TFT touchscreen and weighs in at a hefty 210g: about the same as a small tin of beans. However, this phone gives you expandable memory of up to 128MB, speakerphone, email client, built-in still and video camera and Bluetooth. No prices yet.

All the handsets are exclusive to 3 at the moment, and are available only with a monthly contract.

Cutting loose

The launch comes alongside reports that NTT DoCoMo, the dominant mobile telco in Japan, is cutting ties with the UK operator.

Hutchison and DoCoMo deny any change in their relationship, but analysts says that DoCoMo is disappointed that its i-mode service has not been deployed in the UK.

Speculation about 3's relationship with the Japanese operator were sparked at a news conference on Friday. DoCoMo chief executive Keiji Tachikawa said his company wants to work with a UK operator to adopt i-mode in a second generation network. Anyone who knew about Britain's mobile market would see that mmO2 was the only option, he said, Reuters reports. ®

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