updated 12:10 pm EDT, Wed September 24, 2008
Cellphone with car key
Automaker Nissan, wireless network provider NTT DoCoMo and electronics maker Sharp on Wednesday announced they have developed a prototype cellphone that doubles as an intelligent ignition key for automobiles. Like the system used in Nissan's Japanese cars since 2002, the intelligent key uses two-way wireless communications capable of triggering the doors or engine but without requiring a separate device.
No specs are known about the phone's functionality, though they should soon be revealed as the companies will provide more information and demonstrate the device at the CEATEC exhibition in Japan that starts on September 30th. NTT DoCoMo is primarily involved in marketing the phone, while Sharp is responsible for most of the hardware development. Nissan is integrating its existing Intelligent Key system into the device.
The three companies are planning on bringing the phone to stores early in 2009 in their home market of Japan. No pricing or a possible US release were announced.