Cellular Camera-Phone Service Launched For U.S. Consumers

By Joseph Palenchar On Aug 5 2002 - 6:00am

AT&T Wireless became the first U.S. wireless carrier to give consumers the ability to use a wireless phone to take digital pictures and send them to any e-mail address.

Subscribers can attach a Sony Ericsson digital-camera accessory to the bottom of a Sony Ericsson T68I GSM/GPRS phone and turn the phone's color-display screen into a viewfinder. The phone and attachment are available though AT&T's direct and indirect channels in more than 25 of the top 100 U.S. markets, covering more than 60 percent of the population in AT&T's footprint. The company plans to extend the network nationally by year's end, excluding markets that it recently acquired from carrier Telecorp.

Late last year, Sprint PCS began offering a wireless-picture service over its 2G CDMA network, but the service is targeted to vertical markets such as the insurance industry. The offering requires the use of a Ricoh RDC-i700 digital camera that accepts a PC Card-size Sprint PCS Wireless Web Modem. Users can't make voice calls from the device.

The Sony Ericsson T68i retails for $199.99, and the camera accessory costs $129.99. Pictures can be e-mailed at no additional cost over mMode GPRS data-service fees, which start at $2.99/month plus usage charges.

The pictures can be sent to computers, used as the phone's onscreen wallpaper, assigned for use as picture caller ID, or transmitted to other phones, PDAs or laptops via IR or Bluetooth capabilities.

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