A high-tech invention heralds a new era of electronic messaging, allowing you to send digital files through the ether without using a scrap of paper.

Oh, wait a second, that's e-mail.

Panasonic's paperless fax machine finally brings fax into the 21st century, letting you type in fax messages directly on a cordless handset, SMS-style, or convert digital files directly into fax messages.

The KX-PW608 has a Secure Digital card reader that, according to Tech Digest, can handle Word documents and files in 'other formats'.

I have sent one, too

You can also use (and edit) 15 templated fax messages, including the convenient, if rather redundant missive, 'I have received a fax'.

Sent or received messages can be viewed on a rather natty 3.9-inch LCD screen, so you no longer have to waste valuable ink on those holiday car hire spam faxes that arrive punctually at 3.43am every morning.

The Panasonic KX-PW608 will be available in Japan towards the end of January. No news yet on a retail price or worldwide release info.