Paragon Wireless has started shipping what it called the first dual-mode wireless phone for the Chinese market.

The Texas company described its new product as China's first voice-optimized phone based on SIP (session initiated protocol) that can work on both cellular and WiFi modes.

The dual-mode technology is seen as a promising development as wireless Voice over Internet Protocol becomes more common. Users can switch from standard cell service to WiFi when in a wireless hot spot.

The availability of wireless broadband makes it possible for cell phones to double as e-mail terminals and video and MP3 music players.

"China is certainly ready for this phone, as is the rest of the world," said Paragon Vice President Ilkka Pouttu.

Paragon said it parlayed its power-management expertise into a phone that provides four hours of talk time and 72 hours of stand-by even when both modes are active.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International