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New Prototypes, Gadgets And Devices From CEATE 79

Nooper writes: "This years CEATEC 2001 features a bunch of new wireless gadgets accompanying DoCoMo's 3G (FOMA) launch." Check out the cute pictures -- in their "Showcase of Japanese Keitai (mobile phone) Culture you can find 72 free to use photos from this years CEATEC. We even made a special gallery with the integrated camera of our new FOMA phone." Phones in the U.S. look like such monsters in comparison.
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New Prototypes, Gadgets And Devices From CEATE

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  • You know you want one
  • Small phones (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2001 @11:08AM (#2383400) Journal
    Tiny phones have a problem. Ergonomics. There's a size below which the buttons can't go before you need a stylus to operate them, and a size below which the displays can't go before they are unreadable. If a phone, or other device, is below that size people won't buy it, because it will be inoperable, no matter how cool the tech, or how low the price. Remember calculator watches?
    • by ergo98 ( 9391 )

      You know you're probably getting blank stares right now because I imagine a lot of the Slashdot `community' is the calculator watch crowd. Honestly I find calculator watches absolutely hilarious.

      "The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now."

    • They have voice dialing for that now. I just don't like the little phones because don't care to talk into thin air, although it works just fine and it's infinitely better than wearing a headset. The day I "Borg" myself is the same day I go "Batman" and clip a cell phone, a pager, and a PDA onto my belt.
    • Re:Small phones (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tomknight ( 190939 )
      The other problem is having a very short phone, so the microphone ends up being nearer your ear than the front of your mouth.

      This makes people think THEY HAVE TO SHOUT LOUDER on their phone to be heard. Man, that drives me mad! I have to fight off the impulse to explain that the recipient of the call is also using a phone, and shouting really isn't necessary.


      • One of the funniest things in an airport was some ignorant woman with one of the small cellphones, who kept using it like a walkie talkie. She'd hold it up to hear ear to listen, and then hold it in front of her face to talk, and back again. I had to try hard not to laugh out loud, since she looked like she could have thrown me to my destination airport :)
    • So use voice dialing - duh! My phone's got it and is ancient (2+years...)
  • Bleah (Score:3, Funny)

    by Cave Dweller ( 470644 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2001 @11:10AM (#2383413)
    I think their website is running off one of those things...2 replies and slashdotted already.
  • This looks mostly like a giant ad to me. I thought the picture of the cellphone/tv was kinda cool, but this is just a bunch of pictures and the primary drive of the site (from what I could tell) is to sell their phones or to get US folks to use their app translation services.

    Not sure this was worthy front page material for slashdot.
  • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2001 @11:12AM (#2383424)
    Man, seeing all the cool stuff from these shows every year really makes me wonder what the used market is like in Japan, and how many of these things are obsolete in a year or two. And I mean really obsolete, as in they just don't work anymore. Are they so cutting edge that you might buy something that is useless in a year or two?

  • I live in canada, and we are so behind, like we are starting to get GSM, and we have digital, but phones like that wont be here for like another year or so.
    Really kinda kills me...
    • I believe phones like that won't be in North America for another 4-5 years. And for Canada add another 1-2. I'm Canadian, I know. :)
      Oh, and we've had digital for a while now.
    • Depends on where you live I guess... I'm using a digital cell phone in Nova Scotia but the entire province doesnt have full coverage. Phones in the city can use voice-dialing, voice-mail, SMS, 2-way paging, even basic web browsing I think (although I'd never want to).

      But when I travel home (2 hours outside the city) my digital cell phone cant even get a normal cell signal. Different areas get different coverage based on the demand... rural area = no demand in the eyes of the phone companies.

      In Japan there is a huge population in a small area, perfect for rolling out these little high-tech gadgets. Eventually they'll trickle down to North America, but not until they've proven useful over large geographic expanses.

    • We also have 10,000,000 sq. KM of territory which is why the major carriers are apprehensive about jumping on a new technology that might only be a stop-gap for two years when you have to do it all again (As opposed to say Japan or other small Asian countries where it is much, much easier to upgrade the infrastructure to support whatever is new). Having said that here in the Greater Toronto Area we've had digital as long as the US has. The one thing we didn't get due to arguments between the various carriers was CDPD, but alas.

      Anyways pretty soon, as guaranteed by some terrorists, Canada and the US will be in an EU type union so we're going to further integrate common technologies.

  • Super phones (Score:1, Interesting)

    by mgbaron ( 457884 )
    I remember reading about devices such as cameras and mp3 players in the Fopy PDA by Gmate and now having seen this article, I wonder what extremes are actually usuably in a cell phone. I have seen those combo cell pdas, and they seem a bit large for my taste. Wireless web as is on cell phones, is pretty useless (I cancelled mine).

    At the same time there is that private eye/spy aspet to be able to take a quick snapshot with your phone. It would also be great for that kodak moment when you forgot your camera.
    • I have a Casio Wristcam Watch. It is a little bulky but it allows you to take quick small quality snapshots when you need it. It's fun in a toy/spy kind of way and to take pictures of weird things you see sometimes (lots of Kodak moments). But I also found it useful as a visual databank.

      I posted a picture here [renteria.net] so that you can see the size and quality. Not very good quality-wise, until you consider that it's taken by a watch and that the watch can store 80 pics (and they pics can be beamed to my Palm handheld.)

  • Linux (Score:2, Funny)

    by tomknight ( 190939 )
    Okay, I guess it's going to me who asks "But can they run Linux?"

    (Goodbye, karma)


  • Apples and Oranges (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Frosty26 ( 461453 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2001 @11:25AM (#2383489)
    You cannot directly compare Japanese Cell phones to North American or European Cell phones. Japanese cell phones are smaller because they can be, no because their technology is vastly superior.

    The fact is Japanese cell phones can be smaller because their Cell grid is a lot more dense than in North America.

    Think about it this way, in Japan almost all the population lives in a small belt of land near the ocean. In North America by comparison people are spread out over vast distances. Cell coverage obviously is going to be substantially different.

    You just do not need the tranmitting power in Japan you need in North America. Thus you can make smaller more compact phones.

    • by oob ( 131174 )

      I used my Nokia 8210 (which, when in the palm of my hand, I can completely cover by folding in my fingers) in Galipoli, an extremely remote part of Turkey earlier this year. The phone only needs to be recharged every three to four days.

      One of the advantages of GSM is that low powered handsets can still operate a long way from a cell site.
  • Vonnegut? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr Neutron ( 93455 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2001 @11:30AM (#2383503)
    In Cat's Cradle, Bokonon defines foma variously as "lies," "harmless untruths" and "a useful and harmless sort of horseshit."

    I think they're going to have to rename this if they bring it to the states.


  • A methane powered model, with a hip pack full of beans.
  • Here in Europe, our mobile phone selection is (almost) as good as in Japan. My phone is the Nokia 9210 Communicator [nokia.com].

    Yes, it's big and chunky, but open it up, and you have a PDA inside running EPOC, with a web browser, WAP, e-mail, SMS, and even a Java virtual machine, all with wireless access to the 'net.

    And it still fits in my pocket. Lovely.

    • It also runs Office too, so you can edit your Word documents or run Powerpoint presentations on your mobile full colour (4096 cols). Also has a Lotus/Outlook compatiable calendar. Quite an amazing little phone. Also supports HSCSD or 43.2kbps modem for fast 'net access. Plays video and wavs. My brother has one and I can tell you the games are pretty cool too :-)


  • by squaretorus ( 459130 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2001 @12:23PM (#2383793) Homepage Journal
    A phone that I can say this to:
    Email Dave
    !send email to dave!
    Hey Dave - meet in Prince of Wales at 7 OK!
    !email sent - I love you!

    and the phone emails dave! and the email goes to his phone or voice or whetever he has set up. I could use that SO often!
  • by Jordy ( 440 ) <jordan&snocap,com> on Wednesday October 03, 2001 @01:03PM (#2383959) Homepage
    I took a nice three week vacation to Japan recently and had a chance to take a look at their wireless products first hand and I have to admit, their cell phones are geared towards a very different market than the US.

    For instance, while walking down the street, the number of people I saw talking on a cell phone was significantly less than the number of people I saw playing games on their cell phones or simply picking them up and checking them periodically to show them off (well, I guess they could have been receiving text messages as that is hugely popular.)

    When visiting several large electronics stores, at first I noticed that the sheer number of cell phones was astouding and then quickly realized that there weren't a huge number of cell phones, there were a huge number of styles of cell phones. Given their relatively cheap price (toy phones here cost more), every teenage girl and guy I saw had one and it was really a fashion statement. Three shades of pink with various color antenna ringer lights, huge numbers of patterns were what drew people to buy them.

    When it comes to actual technology of the cell phone, there is no doubt that the Japanese phones have significantly more features (and most not in any way shape or form related to using it as a communications device), but they weren't really all that small. Large color screens were more important than small size, so for instance, the Motorola V. series and the Nokia 8900 series are much smaller than most of the phones I saw.

    I have to say that I don't believe the same thing will really ever happen in the US. When I walked into a store (well... most cell phones are sold at street level so you rarely have to walk "in"), there were boxes filled to the brim with last years cell phones that people would throw away when they bought a new one and I can't see the average American consumer buying a new cell phone because it comes in a new color or can store 32 randomized wallpapper styles rather than 16. The lifetime of a cell phone in the US just appears to be significantly longer.

    Sevice providers also have a hand to play in keeping the variety of phones out. In Japan, as far as I can tell... there is basically one cell phone provider, NTT DoCoMo. In comparison, in the US there dozens operating on multiple frequency bands, multiple standards (AMPS, TDMA, GSM*, CDMA, PCS, iDEN) each having different CODECs based on service provider plus proprietary modifications to protocols and every change affects battery life and features available.

    I really wish the FCC would restructure the frequency band allocations so that all cell phone providers would at the very least use one band. Of course, they couldn't use AMPS and TDMA in this case without significant interoperability between providers, but I'm willing to make that sacrifice :).

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky