Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Japan Unimpressed with iPhone

While Jobs claims the iPhone is 5 years ahead of any other cellphone in the US, it still is 5 years behind those in Japan.

But the revolution is already well underway in Japan, where cellphones are used for everything. Besides downloading music and surfing the Net, Japanese use their cellphones to navigate their way home by global positioning system, to buy movie tickets and to update personal blogs from wherever they are.

It was 3G that sparked the boom in music downloads that makes it common for phones to be used as portable digital music players here.

And it is 3G that has led the Japanese into a world where they can watch live TV on their phones and use them as a charge card to ride trains or buy milk at the corner store or take a taxi. Ticket Pia, Japan's major entertainment ticketing agency, has been selling e-mail tickets to cellphones since October 2003. The phones also can be used to conduct conference calls among as many as five people.

Another widely used 3G feature enables users to point cellphone cameras at bar codes and be directed to websites. For example, every seat in the Chiba Lotte Marines baseball stadium has a bar code, which takes a cellphone to a special home page where users can subscribe to get "inside" information and columns not available on the regular team site.

As with other Japanese baseball clubs, cellphones can be used to buy tickets. Teams have examined the possibility of installing turnstiles that would allow ticket holders to enter stadiums by swiping their cellphones across the terminal. That technology is already used at some movie theaters. And cellphones can be loaded with prepaid credit and then be swiped at terminals to allow access to Japanese trains.
via LA Times

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