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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

AU team factory

In the midst of the rising blogging craze, EZweb by AU phones in Japan has come up with a nice service that looks to take blogging away from the geeks and push it into the mainstream. Users can create a custom 'avatar' - a cartoon image to identify themselves online and then add more personalisation to the avatar by adding goods.

The fun part is that the goods are all available in real-life from well known brands so your avatar could be wearing the latest nike sneakers or carrying the new season bag from Gucci.

The service is free and lets you invite friends and communicate with your group through messaging users who create the avatar can then use this in the DUOBLOG mobile-blogging system to add personality to their sites.

Now for the special part - users can buy all the items their avatar wears or uses for themselves to truely mimic their online personality in the real-world.

I-mode meets MMS

NTT DoCoMo has announced that it will start offering an international multimedia messaging service ( MMS ) for its i-mode users in Japan. Starting with four operators in Hong Kong, Singapore and Macao this will be the first real step for opening up i-mode to true global integration.

Users who have the FOMA series of phones in Japan will be able to send and recieve text, images, video and music to friends in these other Asian countries, users with the MOVA series will also be able to use the service but without being able to send video, music or images.

The company will implement a gateway that will convert from the i-mode standard in Japan to the international format MMS.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Felica Mobile Wallet

With 12 phones already on the market and 3 million subscribers NTT DoCoMo's Felica system has moved the electronic wallet from fantasy into reality, now you can buy goods from over 20,000 stores by just placing your mobile phone over the reader. Its that simple. But will it really take off?

The technology is good: the RFID chipset is a proven technology already in use in credit cards in Europe; and the idea is good, managing all your payments from one point without the need to carry cards and cash will bring convenience for the millions of users who already carry their mobile phones with them everywhere they go. So it would seem perfect sense to merge all three things into your handset.

However, there are critics who say that the phone will never replace the convenience of slipping out that bit of plastic from your wallet when the bill comes. And that the prestige that comes with owning a platinum card will never be replicated on a cell phone. There are some who say that cash will never die being the perfect way to pay for most day to day items.

Regardless of which is the correct view, there seems to be no reason why there wont be a use for another, easy method of payment. And so for now my money is on the Felica standard winning through, well, at least in Japan.

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