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Etch-A-Sketch to Be on U.K. Cell Phones

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Sci/Tech

For doodlers who can't get enough etching and sketching at home, Etch-A-Sketch is coming to a cell phone.

The nearly 50-year-old classic toy, adapted for the mobile phone by a company named In-Fusio, is being introduced in Britain on a wide array of handsets by the cellular carrier Orange.

The cellular version can't replicate the look and feel of the original red-and-rectangular plastic toy, which is still produced by Ohio Art Co. And users will have to settle for a key pad rather than white knobs. But there is one key advantage: For the first time, In-Fusio said, doodlers will be able to save their drawings - up to three in the phone's memory.

The new mobile edition is the second digital reincarnation of Etch-A-Sketch. Last year, Ohio Arts introduced a video game in which doodlers use a controller to draw on a television screen.
The traditional Etch-A-Sketch works by turning two knobs to move a stylus up, down and diagonally along the inside of the plastic screen, etching lines through a coating of metallic powder.

On the cellular version, users move the virtual "stylus" around the phone's screen by pressing the number pad or directional arrows.

One key distinction that Etch-A-Sketch aficionados might mourn is that erasing a cellular sketch does not involve the vigorous shaking needed to recoat the real toy's screen with powder. But In-Fusio has devised an alternative: When a user presses the "0" key to erase a drawing, the phone also vibrates.

Associated Press

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