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Cell phones to offer Games info at a touch

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Some cell phone users will have the entire 2002 Winter Games in the palm of their hands.

AT&T Wireless intends to unveil a new feature that allows subscribers anywhere to get real-time data about Olympic competition, schedules and medal counts. Users in Salt Lake City would be able to find their way around town with access to directions to venues and restaurants and stores.

The service was designed specifically for the Salt Lake Games.

"It gives you the full gamut of information," said Becky Potts, AT&T Wireless vice president and general manager for the Mountain States. "It's pretty cool."

The company, Potts said, initially developed PocketNet for staff members at Visitor Information Services, a downtown office set up to assist out-of-towners.

AT&T gave the center 50 mobile phones allowing staffers fingertip access to information not available off the top of their heads.

It mushroomed from there, Potts said.

Rip Rippetoe, information service director, said volunteers will be able to answer most visitors' questions, but PocketNet will help them look up things as specific as telephone numbers or addresses.

It will be a great tool for quickly and accurately looking up information, he said.

Subscribers will be given a Salt Lake area map ? mobile Olympic guide ? with codes they can punch in to their cell phones to access items ranging from Games trivia to snow reports. They also can track individual athletes and countries, Potts said.

Visitor information workers will be roaming the streets with their phones to help people get around town.

AT&T Wireless intends to distribute 100,000 of the maps in Salt Lake City.

Also, it plans to launch a service that allows users to dial 121 to get various news updates, including information on 10 Olympic sports.

E-MAIL: romboy@desnews.com