KDDI first to offer Bluetooth mobiles
TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- Japan's number two carrier, KDDI, will release cellular phones using Bluetooth wireless technology as soon as June.
Bluetooth allows users to connect mobile phones to electronic devices such as personal computers, handhelds and digital cameras without the use of cables.
The world's first Bluetooth-enabled cell phones, to be marketed under KDDI's "au" brand, will be able to exchange e-mail, video and other data with personal computers wireless, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports.
KDDI has announced an annual sales target of 1 million units. Both Sony and Toshiba will manufacture its range of Bluetooth-enabled hand phones.
No Bluetooth agenda for DoCoMo
NTT DoCoMo, KDDI's main competitor and Japan's leading mobile operator, has yet to articulate a Bluetooth agenda, although both Sony and Toshiba now make handsets for the cellular giant.
KDDI plans to switch most of its mobile phones to Bluetooth-based models in two years, reflecting its desire to catch up with DoCoMo, which has jumped ahead of KDDI in the cell phone-based Net data business with its celebrated i-mode service.
At the end of March, KDDI had 10.96 million cellular subscribers, well behind DoCoMo's 36.03 million.
Bluetooth is a global wireless technology standard that enables that is not impeded by line-of-sight restrictions.
Toshiba estimates the world production of Bluetooth products will reach 93 million units in calendar 2001, 250 million units in 2002, and 700 million units in 2005.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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