Japan Loaning Handhelds to Tourists (Updated)

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A Japanese government ministry is testing the feasibility of loaning handhelds to tourists to help them get around in Tokyo.

ABC News didn’t specify what type of handhelds are being used in the test, but the devices have Internet access and can make outgoing domestic phone calls.

Update: This program is using Toshiba Genio Pocket PCs. These connect to cellular-wireless networks via a CompactFlash card.

They are pre-loaded with sightseeing information. In addition, 50 of the 100 devices can serve as English-Japanese voice translators.

At least during the test run, this service is free, including unlimited Internet access and phone calls. Participants only have to answer a questionnaire when they return the device.

This pilot program is part of Japan’s attempts to increase the number of tourists that visit the country.

Additional information is available on the program’s official web site.



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