Buttonless phone dials up sales first

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SEOUL, South Korea - South Korea's LG Electronics Co. said Thursday that next month it will start selling a mobile phone that incorporates a buttonless touch-screen resembling the much-hyped iPhone from Apple Inc.

LG's Prada Phone is being produced in partnership with the Italian fashion brand. It is set to go on sale in late February for 600 euros ($780) at mobile phone dealers and Prada stores in Britain, France, Germany and Italy, and comes to Asia in March.

The company did not announce its U.S. plans.

The no-button interface with the entire phone face covered by a touch-sensitive screen resembles the Apple iPhone, announced by the U.S. company earlier this month to much fanfare as an innovation that could shake up the industry.

Apple's iPhone is set for U.S. release in June and will cost $599 for the high-end model with 8 gigabytes of internal memory - the same as the LG model. Other markets will see the iPhone later this year and in 2008.

The LG phone has a wide-screen display and can play most digital music and video formats, and has a 2-megapixel camera like the iPhone. Its memory can be expanded with cards.

The iPhone allows Internet use through regular wireless Wi-Fi networks and has a full-featured Web browser.

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