Toshiba unveils bizarre phone/modem combo

Portege G450 USB boasts some pretty radical styling too

Toshiba has launched the Portege G450 mobile device - a unique-looking USB HDSPA modem that doubles up as a minimalist tri-band mobile phone.

Measuring just 3.6cm wide x 9.8cm long x 1.6cm deep, the pocket-sized Portege G450 is designed to plug into the USB port of a laptop to provide internet access via its 3.6Mbit/s HDSPA connectivity. The modem and phone functions are both accessed using a standard mobile phone SIM card.

No need for Wi-Fi hotspots

It's certainly a neat solution for anybody travelling with a laptop and in need of regular internet connectivity away from Wi-Fi hotspots. However, given the generally high cost of mobile data services - especially when accessing them from abroad - it could also prove a rather expensive one.

Modem connectivity isn't the G450's only trick. By attaching a headset and microphone all-in-one, the device can also be used as a no-frills GSM mobile phone. Of course, the quirky two-part keypad could be a bit tricky to master, and the 96 x 35 pixel OLED screen isn't good for much other than the most basic SMS text messages, but it's still a handy extra.

The Toshiba Portege G450 will feature a standby time of 300 hours and 180 minutes talk-time. It will go on sale in the UK from March onwards. No word on prices yet, but it's expected to retail for around 200 euros in Europe.

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