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KDDI unveils 'Love Mate' Windows Wi-Fi phone

Exploring the Aichi World Expo 2005

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Japanese mobile phone network KDDI this week introduced what may be the nation's first Windows Mobile 2003-based 3G smart phone, the intriguingly named 'Love Mate'.

KDDI/Fujistu Love Mate OrangeKDDI said the handsets are aimed at visitors attending the Aichi World Expo 2005, which kicks off in March and runs through to the end of September. It's not clear at this stage whether they will have a life beyond the show.

Love Mate's two versions are dubbed Orange and Blue. Both feature Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition for PocketPC software for PDA and phone operation, said KDDI. Both sport neck/hand bands. To that, Orange adds 3G, CDMA (1x WIN) support, 802.11b Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 1.2, along with web and email software to take full advantage of these numerous wireless connectivity options.

Orange is in part pitched at non-Japanese speakers, so presumably it will ship with English-language software and possibly some form of visual translation code to help them navigate the show. KDDI hopes it will particularly appeal to World Expo visitors from overseas.

The Blue variant appears to lack the communications components that Orange boasts. Instead it's intended as a portable information terminal to be used by visitors as they make their way around the Expo - essentially doing what Orange does, but without the phone and WLAN functionality. It will operate as a PDA, however. A CompactFlash slot is used to add a Wi-Fi card. There's a mini SD slot in both machines too.

KDDI said it will offer 3800 Orange Love Mates and 1200 Blues. Both handsets measure 15.5 x 6.7 x 2.5cm, so they're by no means compact devices. Orange weighs 220g, Blue 190g.

Both units are based on a 520MHz Intel PXA270 CPU backed by 128MB of SDRAM and 64MB of ROM. The screen is a 2.8in 240 x 320 job, and there's a VGA digicam. The power pack is a 1950mAh battery, capable of giving three hours' Wi-Fi usage for the Blue and four hours for the Orange. With Wi-Fi off, Orange offers 30 hours' stand-by time and 150 minutes' call time, KDDI said. Device development was handled by Fujitsu. ®

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