French cellular phone giant Alcatel Alsthom will launch its new touch-screen GSM mobile phone in Hong Kong this month. The phone, the One Touch COM, also offers e-mail access, short messaging, a personal organiser and personal computer connectivity. It is slightly larger than most standard cellular phones. Alcatel has replaced the traditional telephone keys with an 80x40-millimetre touch-screen display. A stylus pen comes with the phone but the screen also responds to finger use. The company claims the product is a milestone in communications development. General manager of Alcatel's mobile phone unit Jacques Combert described the handset as a 'real tool to improve productivity'. Mr Combert said One Touch COM incorporated a 'killer application'. This was a system for real-time scheduling. Short messages sent to the phone in a specific format were routed automatically to the right part of your organiser. For example, if your secretary sent you a message about a meeting and you accepted the time, it was entered automatically into your on-board diary. Alcatel's regional director of consumer channels Eric Mariette said the phone should be available in Hong Kong later this month. Alcatel had agreements to sell through all GSM operators - Hongkong Telecom, SmarTone and Hutchison. Mr Mariette said he could not be specific about price, but believed the phone 'will be about 20 per cent more expensive than the high-end handsets currently on the market'. By that measure, it is likely to cost about $6,000. Alcatel believes the phone will suit the business market, with customers who are familiar with computers. It plans to focus on direct sales to large business accounts. One problem that could hold the product back, particularly on the mainland, is that it supports only English text. Alcatel is working on a Chinese version. Alcatel has a strong market position in Europe, but in Hong Kong and the mainland it has lagged companies such as Ericsson and Nokia. Its market share in the SAR last year was 3-4 per cent. 'This year we are trying to double that,' Mr Mariette said. Alcatel had only a 3 per cent share of the huge mainland mobile phone market, but was aiming for 12 per cent within 18 months, he said.