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Animation Nation

Cartoons draw attention from cell phone users.

By Erik P. Nelson

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

On a Japanese cell phone, Hello Kitty might scamper across themenu. But animation is still new to American phones. Now, carrierslike AT&T, Cingular, Nextel, Sprint and Verizon are rolling outphones with J2ME and BREW technologies. Animation may bepre-installed, part of a package or priced per download.

It's neat for 14-year-olds, but how will animation help yourbusiness? Applications may target vertical markets, says Eddie Holdof Current Analysis Inc., a competitive solutions provider inSterling, Virgina. Animated Doppler radar can display weatherinformation, and it may be easier to navigate menus by giving voicecommands to cartoon characters. Mitsubishi Labs is working onsoftware so you can tell Super Mario to snag phone numbers. Holdpredicts animated services will be well-established by 2004.

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