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Japanese firm turns old phones into new PCs

The size of a business card, the DVIEW was once a mobile phone.

Next time you throw an old mobile phone away, spare a thought for the engineers at Hokuto System in Japan, who have recycled their old handsets to make fully functional computers.

The result of their labours is a simple PC on a business-card-sized circuit board that they've dubbed the DVIEW and it is about to go on sale in Japan for an unspecified price.

Miniature marvel

Not all parts used in the DVIEW come from mobile phones, although the 2.2-inch QVGA LCD screen is the most obvious cannibalised part. Other components on the board include an 81MHz ARM CPU, a 16-bit stereo soundcard that can handle MP3s and 40Kb of SRAM.

Hokuto is currently taking pre-orders at prices determined by the volume needed and any customisation, such as support from external storage, USB and Wi-Fi. It expects its main customers to be shops keen to use cheap point-of-sale displays that are self-contained.

Other possibilities for the micro PC include acting as a home-control computer that handles lighting, security and thermostats or as a simple PDA-like electronic guidebook for museums.