Those wacky kids in Japan can do all kinds of things with their cell phones that those of us in the U.S. can't. Thanks to Nissan, Sharp Corporation, and NTT DOCOMO, the Japanese mobile communications company, they can now add car control to the list of possible cell phone features.

The phone uses the two-way communication of Nissan's Intelligent Key System, the same thing you use on your G37. For now, it can only lock and unlock the car and start and stop the engine, but if it takes off we imagine they'll add other options later. This is about convenience, not necessarily about sense -- if your phone gets stolen, that makes your car one more thing that the villains can abscond with.

The phone won't go on sale commercially until 2009, but will be demoed at the CEATEC exhibition in Japan later this month. You can read the full press release is after the jump, and get ready to overhear this in Japanese: "I called the wrong number and my car just drove off..."

[Source: NTT DOCOMO]



PRESS RELEASE

Nissan, NTT DOCOMO and Sharp Jointly Develop World's First Mobile Phone with Built-in Intelligent Key

Tokyo, Sep 24, 2008 -- Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., NTT DOCOMO, INC. and Sharp Corporation announced today that they have jointly developed a mobile phone capable of functioning as an intelligent key for automobiles - a world's first*1. The device will incorporate Nissan's Intelligent Key system, already a standard feature in various Nissan vehicles.

The convergence of automotive and cellular technologies was made possible by DOCOMO's expertise in the marketability of mobile phones, Sharp's development of the phone itself and Nissan's provision of technical support to ensure the key's operability with its vehicles.

Nissan's Intelligent Key system, installed in more than 950,000 units of various Nissan models*2 since 2002, employs two-way wireless communications technology to automatically unlock/lock*3 the car door and start/stop the engine. Nissan and Sharp has now integrated these electronic intelligent-key, wireless communications and electromagnetic technologies into the new handset.


As mobile phones increasingly become a daily necessity, the integration of these technologies*4 and the potential to further expand related functionality helped to bring together the three parties, who expect users to appreciate the seamlessly integrated features of their new handset.


Nissan, DOCOMO and Sharp will demonstrate this mobile phone with built-in Intelligent Key in their respective exhibits at CEATEC Japan 2008, which begins September 30*5. The three firms will continue to develop the product with an aim for commercial distribution in early fiscal year 2009.

  • 1: As of September 2008, based on Nissan research.
  • 2: As of August 2008, Japan only.
  • 3: Manual remote entry also possible, like with conventional remote key.
  • 4: Mainly automatic keyless entry and engine ignition, lockout prevention, plus conventional manual remote entry.
  • 5: Wednesday, September 30 until Saturday, October 4 at Makuhari Messe.
About NTT DoCoMo
NTT DoCoMo is the world's leading mobile communications company. DoCoMo serves more than 51 million customers, of which more than half subscribe to FOMA(TM), launched as the world's first 3G mobile service based on W-CDMA in 2001. DoCoMo also offers a wide variety of leading-edge mobile multimedia services, including i-mode(TM), the world's most popular mobile e-mail/ Internet service, used by more than 46 million users. With the addition of credit-card and other e-wallet functions, DoCoMo mobile phones have become highly versatile tools for daily life. NTT DoCoMo is listed on the Tokyo (9437), London (NDCM) and New York (DCM) stock exchanges. For more information, visit www.nttdocomo.com.