Saturday, April 14, 2007

State of the art in Japan

Here's an advertisement for a new phone one of my students just bought. You can actually watch TV on the screen that flips into a horizontal position. It can also be used for web browsing, spreadsheets, Word documents, etc.

The phones in Japan are quite advanced and have all kinds of special features. There's even a phone that you can use to buy things from vending machines, convenience stores, and other places. Just wave a specially equipped cell phone in front of a sensor and the payment goes on your phone bill.

Some of the latest technology includes a bar code feature where you can use the camera to take a picture of a URL, which will then be automatically added to your address book, thus avoiding the need to type it yourself.

There are quite a few advertisements popping up around Tokyo that include a bar code type of "mosaic" pattern that can talk to your cell phone. For a picture of one of these mosaics and a more indepth explanation of this technology, take a look at the following article in the New York Times.

"In Japan, McDonald's customers can already point their cellphones at the wrapping on their hamburgers and get nutrition information on their screens. Users there can also point their phones at magazine ads to receive insurance quotes, and board airplanes using their phones rather than paper tickets. And film promoters can send their movie trailers from billboards."

There are many more articles about this Radio Frequency ID (RFID) technolody and its applications here and here.

Whether or not this cell phone feature is anything I want to use, I can't say. Maybe it's just one more way for advertisers to snag consumers, and believe me when I say, "Nobody likes shopping more than the Japanese."


Anonymous said...

Hello! It's Gloria from Gmail. ;) Nice blog you have here! Very cool to read about life in another country.

Yes, technology these days grows so fast, especially in Asia it seems! I'm actually from Korea (was born here though) and I always thought their phones were a lot more advanced than the ones here. Japan seems way more advanced though! I'm also surprised to hear they don't use credit cards!

Very pretty cherry blossom tree pictures, by the way! It looks so nice there!

EuroTrippen said...

Wow. I've always hated phones and avoid talking on them like the plague, but this one rocks. I think I need it...