Saturday, June 27, 2009

My watch doesn't tell time

"I'd like an iphone," one of my Japanese friends was saying at coffee this morning. "but I don't want a contract with softbank."

A unsurprising statement, once you realise that 'softbank' is a Japanese mobile phone provider. Around the globe, people have bemoaned the fact that Apple have chosen to lock themselves into particular telecommunications companies. It was a common gripe and I didn't pay much attention until:

"Though it doesn't have a built in electronic ticket like my current phone."

You what?

It transpires that, in addition to 5-10 MP cameras, Japanese phones also contain an electronic ticket that can be credited for purchases. By waving your phone over a reader, you can pay for bus, train, taxi rides and even groceries. It also stores your e-ticket flight information so you can collect your boarding pass without digging through your overstuffed hand luggage to find the elusive sheet of paper that you might not even have remembered to print out. (I know it's not just me, I've seen you all in the queue doing the same. ALL OF YOU).

It's maybe no wonder, therefore, that the Japanese seem obsessed with their phones. Step onto the metro and 80% of the carriage will be staring at the screens on their flip handsets (the other 20%, in case you were wondering, are playing on their Nintendo DS). Oddly though, I've never seen anyone actually make a call. Perhaps, like the watch in Spy Kids 2, Japanese phones don't make calls.

No comments:

Post a Comment