Japan's DoCoMo launches self-locking mobile phone

Japan's top mobile telephone operator, NTT DoCoMo, plans to launch a handset that automatically locks itself when it is stolen, lost or left behind, an AFP report said.

According to the report, the new P903i handset, made by Panasonic, comes with an electronic card that fits in a wallet or handbag and allows the phone to detect when its owner moves away beyond a certain distance.

'Once the signal between the two objects stops transmitting, because they are too far apart, the telephone blocks itself,' a Panasonic spokesman, quoted by AFP, said.

NTT DoCoMo, which was preparing to launch 14 new handsets, also planned a feature allowing customers, for a monthly fee after a free trial period, to find lost handsets through a satellite-based navigation system, the AFP report said.

The phones would also be equipped with a mobile wallet and credit card function and a biometric identification system, even though theft was rare in Japan and lost items were often handed in at the local police station, the report added.