Not to be outdone, AU/KDDI as released a phone with a camera and voice e−mail. What's the difference between voice e−mail and voice mail? Well, voice mail is where you call somebody, expecting them to answer, they don't so you leave a message. The problem with this method is that you may interrupt your friend. Maybe they don't want to deal with it now or don't have time. In order to use voice mail they would have to tell you to call back and then not answer the phone.
Voice e−mail on the otherhand, gets delivered so the receiving party can listen to it at their leisure. It seems like an obvious idea. All Japanese cell phones already have voice mail built in so adding voice e−mail was just a matter of changing the software.
Note: As for last year, most American cell phones did not have voice mail IN THE PHONE. Instead, voice mail was handled by the phone company's comptuers where those computers record the message and then play it back for you when you call in. There are advantages to both methods (and both are available in Japan).
The disadvantage to using voice mail in your cell phone is that it only works if your phone has a signal. The advantage is that once the message is in your phone, listening to it is not actually making a call so there are no connect charges.