WASHINGTON — Motorola Inc. introduced a dramatically smaller cellular telephone Tuesday that can be carried in a purse or coat pocket.
The device, half the size of any other portable cellular model, is about as wide and long as a checkbook. It is about as thick as a fat wallet at the earpiece while tapering down to half the thickness of a deck of cards at the mouthpiece.
The phone has a shorter-than-usual battery life. The 10.7-ounce model has a 30-minute rechargeable battery, while the 12.3-ounce one has a 75-minute battery. It needs no wires or base to operate.
The device, called the Micro Tac Personal Telephone, is expected to retail for $2,995 and be available six weeks after being ordered. Motorola officials said they were taking orders immediately.
"This is a new category of cellular--the personal cellular," said Jim Bernhart, vice president and director of distribution for Motorola's cellular subscriber group. "We view it as the wave of the future."
Officials of the Schaumburg, Ill.-based company would not reveal development costs for the new device, but said the company had invested about $350 million in development of cellular telephones.
Bob Weisshappel, Motorola vice president and director of the North American subscriber division, said the device has the identical range to the company's larger, Dynatac portable.
Cellular telephones work as radio transmitters and receivers. Metropolitan areas offering cellular service are divided up into sections called cells, with each cell containing a receiving-transmitting antenna to connect many calls simultaneously with the local phone system.
According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Assn., the United States has about 2 million cellular subscribers. Nearly 839,000 subscribers were added in 1988, the association said.
In the last six months of 1988, cellular service revenue was $1.07 billion, and the average monthly cellular phone bill was $98.02, the association said.