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Motorola FONE F3 and F3c Preview

 Motorola FONE F3 Discontinued
26th July 2006

See our review of the MOTOFONE F3 here

The Motorola FONE F3 (also known as the MOTOFONE) is a very slim bar format phone that's due to hit the market by the end of the year. There are two versions - the FONE F3 is a GSM handset, the F3c is a CDMA version for North America and other CDMA markets.

We understand that the FONE is 9mm thick which makes it one of the slimmest handsets on the market, but the main point of interest with the MOTOFONE is the display.

 Motorola FONE Motorola say that the so-called "ClearVision" panel uses electrophoretic display (EPD) technology, which in effect is a type of digital ink. An EPD display consists of a number of particles (typically suspended in some sort of fluid) which have a light side and a dark size. An electric charge "flips" the particle over. It's rather like a microscopic reversi board, with dark and light sides to each particle.

There are a some major advantages that EPD displays have over more traditional panels such as TFT or OLED technologies. Firstly, the screen can be read even in direct sunlight as it behaves just like a printed piece of paper, and secondly the energy consumption of an EPD display is very low, and as electrophoretic displays are basically quite simple there's a potential for saving space and weight. There are a couple of major disadvantages - it's a monochrome-only solution, and in low lighting conditions the electrophoretic display will be very difficult to read as it has no internal illumination of it's own (unless Motorola have been very clever indeed).

Motorola have designed the phone.. err FONE.. to be durable and dust resistant, and also very easy to use with a simple interface and voice prompts, plus a "loud" setting for noisy environments. The MOTOFONE seems to be aimed at the lower end of the market, as there's no mention of a MP3 player and no sign of expandable memory - and also the FONE F3 comes with a variety of functions to help prepay/pay-as-you-go customers to keep track of charges.

It's certainly an interesting handset when it comes to the display, and it might even mean a renaissance for monochrome displays as the electrophoretic display panel does have certain advantages over a traditional LCD.

The rest of the technical details of the Motorola FONE F3 / F3c are not known at the time of going to press, but they will presumably be confirmed at a later date.

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