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Orange all a-quiver over 'vibro-tactile' mobile phone

Samsung E770 shakes - but does it stir?

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In a bid to put the buzz back into the mobile phone market, Orange UK has launched a version of Samsung's E770 handset that sports what inventor Immersion calls "vibro-tactile sensations".

Yes, rather than merely vibrate when a call comes through or you achieve a high score in one of the phone's bundled games, the VibeTonz-enabled E770 will drum out a very specific ditty. Users will be able to select different VibeTonz alerts for all their various caller groups, so not only will kids' ridiculously loud ringtones reveal it's their best buddy calling, but they'll be able to 'feel' the identity of the caller even when their phone's tucked in the back pocket of the jeans.

The handset will also shake in subtly different ways whenever an SMS, MMS, email or instant message is received.

The E770 also contains four VibeTonz games, each with a range of custom vibrations for in-play events, and Orange has lined up a series of mobile-games developers to create more ready for users to download. The phone comes pre-loaded with 15 VibeTonz alerts, but we'd put money on Orange offering more for download for which it hopes punters will happily pay up.

Orange didn't say how much the special E770 will cost, but the standard version is currently being offered free of charge to customers signing up for a monthly airtime plan. The E770 is not currently available on pay-as-you-go.

Samsung's SCH-n330 and Vi-A820 handsets already support VibeTonz in the US through carriers Verizon, Metro PCS, Alltel and Sprint. In South Korea, the VibeTonz-enabled SCH-G1000 is offered by SK Telecom. Sanyo has signed up to support the techology, but has yet to offer a phone that incorporates it. ®

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