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Alltel unveils new cell phone interface

The rural U.S. wireless provider revamps its cell phone user interface to make it easier for consumers to navigate wireless data applications.

Alltel, the biggest rural U.S. wireless provider, said Thursday it revamped its cell phone user interface to make it easier for consumers to navigate wireless data applications. The new interface, dubbed Celltop, arranges a phone screen into as many as 10 cells that offer short cuts to applications such as call logs, text message inboxes, weather and news.

Alltel said Celltop would be free and available immediately on one phone model, the U520 from Samsung, and it plans to extend it to five models by March and all its new phones by year-end. Alltel said the Celltop system will also be open for outside software developers to create new applications, similar to "widgets"--popular single-use applications that are typically embedded into Web sites used on desktop computers.