"NTT Mobile Communications Network Inc. (NTT DoCoMo) is displaying two new portable phone models and another handset compatible with wireless application protocol (WAP) at the NET&COM21 event.
"The show is a comprehensive exhibition of new networking technologies which opened at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba on Feb. 2.
"The new NTT DoCoMo products are attracting much attention from visitors to the show.
"The two new portable phone models are for use with "iMode," a service that allows users to access data content using only their portable phone handsets. The new phones, the "P502i" model (see photo) from Matsushita Communication Industrial Co., Ltd., and the "N502i" model made by NEC Corp., are expected to go on sale sometime in the middle of this month. Both models enable users to link the handset to a special keyboard via a cable in order to write e-mail messages. Likewise, both new phones are equipped with the familiar type of black and white LCD screens used in most of the models already on the market.
"The P502i will also allow users to make use of a special service, accessed via iMode, which sends data to complement the position-locating data services provided for car navigation systems. The user first connects the phone handset to his or her car navigation system, and then is able to receive information on restaurants and other businesses in the specific vicinity.
"Because the data provided by the service also includes the latitude and longitude of the stores featured, users can see them appear on the screen of the car navigation system, and can even tell the system itself to work out the best route between their current location and any store they want to go to. NTT DoCoMo said it intends to launch this service some time in March.
"Another NTT DoCoMo product on show at the event is a specimen of the "MobileGet" handset terminal that is scheduled for sales release later this month. This is DoCoMo's first WAP mobile phone/PHS handset. At first, it will only be sold to people subscribing to the "PAT" service (a service that allows horse racing bets to be placed via a PC). Users will be able to view race-related information on the handset's WAP browser, and then purchase betting slips with the aid of its special WAP software.