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Monday, October 11, 1999 Published at 19:06 GMT 20:06 UK

Business: The Economy

Phones of the future unveiled

Seeing is believing: a wireless videophone

Mobile phones which link to the internet using voice commands have gone on show to the world.

Motorola has unveiled a host of new-age phones which could become the communication tools of the future.

The telecoms revolution
The company, which has a display at the World Telecom 99 show in Geneva, believes products which use both internet and telecoms technology will make life easier.

Motorola is already producing mobile phones with web browsers, enabling users to access the worldwide web and send emails. A limited number are already on sale.

[ image: Technology may mean the internet and phones merge]
Technology may mean the internet and phones merge
It is also introducing phones with personalised applications, phones which take voice commands, and concept wrist watch phones.

Randy Battat, senior vice president of Motorola's internet and networking group, said: "What's behind this is making usage more effective.

"You shouldn't have to learn different types of technology - some people still use faxes as well as emails, for example. You should have the same contact list on your phone as on your pc, for instance.

"We're making communications simpler and more manageable."

Motorola's "vox e-mail" phones could ask "How can I help you?"

By answering "news headlines", "traffic" or "weather", for instance, the user would be able to listen to information read from the internet.

And after programming in contact names and numbers, the phone would dial numbers on voice command, such as "Call Bob Smith".

[ image: Time for a change: you could call friends from your watch]
Time for a change: you could call friends from your watch
Phones with browsers can be personalised like e-mail contact names, or set up to take part in text group discussions - just like internet chat rooms.

They can also be set up to link to "favourites" just like a personal computer.

The phones cost about the same as existing mobiles, says Mr Battat.

Two other concept items on show were a prototype wrist watch phone and a protorype wireless videophone.

He said: "You have an earphone for the wrist watch phone, and it can take all the data from your pc."

The videophone would show someone's surroundings to the person at the other end. Motorola says it would be useful for building sites, estate agents and the police as well as ordinary people.

No prices for these items are available, as they are not yet being manufactured, but Mr Battat says he believes they will be within a year or two.

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