• Kyodo News

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KDDI Corp., operator of the au cell phone service, unveiled on Monday its summer lineup of 13 handsets featuring its first “hi-vision” video camera and a player for reading electronic novels.

KDDI, Japan’s second-largest mobile phone carrier, will roll out starting Friday eight new models, excluding five announced previously, with prices ranging from around ¥20,000 to more than ¥50,000.

From Hitachi Ltd., KDDI will introduce in July the Mobile Hi-Vision Cam Wooo, which can capture images of 1280 x 720 pixels and deliver them at a maximum 30 frames per second.

Next month, the carrier will offer a handset made by Toshiba Corp. with a wide 3.5-inch display and 7 gigabytes of storage that will allow users to read about 5,000 e-novels, which can be purchased online. The book phone is also equipped with 19 different types of electronic dictionaries.

KDDI said it will introduce a new pricing system starting in August that will allow subscribers to make calls for free 24 hours a day with up to three designated people also using au phones for a flat monthly rate of ¥390 in addition to the basic charge they already pay each month.

“With these summer products, prices and services, I am sure our customers will be satisfied,” KDDI President Tadashi Onodera said at a news conference in Tokyo.

Among other new models, KDDI also unveiled Sportio Water Beat, a waterproof handset that users can attach to their arm to practice and improve their golf and fitness skills.

It also displayed a waterproof solar handset that can deliver one minute of call time for every 10 minutes of charge time in sunlight, both produced by Sharp Corp.

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