Smell-o-vision: NTT Communications trial aroma-emitting digital sign technology

digital-aromatic-signs.jpgAs if our noses don’t get assaulted enough with vile scents in the form of pungent perfumes, stinky body odor, and overcooked food when out and about, a company over in Japan has created aroma-emitting digital sign technology.

Or ‘Smell-o-vision’, as our Editor In Chief, Stuart, described. Dubbed ‘Kaoru Digital Signage’ by NTT Communications, the electronic signs will be stationed outside the Kirin City Beer Hall at the Yaesu Shopping Mall in Tokyo…

Korea/Japan Week: NTT DoCoMo shows off mobile payments with Grab-a-Mushroom game and Coke vending machine


I bloody love fairground grabber machines, I do. Even when they’re rigged so you’ve got zero hope of ever actually hoisting a soft toy out. And I like this one, which can be found at Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo’s showroom in Tokyo, even more.

Why? Partly because I won, and partly because it’s an example of NTT DoCoMo’s use of near-field communication to let you pay for stuff by pressing your mobile phone against a sensor, with not a coin in sight. Check the video over the jump to see how it works, and to see the same technology being used in, surprise surprise, a vending machine.

Korea/Japan Week: More cool stuff from the KDDI Design Studio store


I’ve already posted a few things from KDDI’s showcase Design Studio in Tokyo today, but there was plenty more mobile stuff to gawp at. Here’s a few of the highlights, starting with…

Casio Exilim W53CA mobile (above). It has a five-megapixel camera and is clearly rocking the same convergence thang as Sony Ericsson’s Cyber-shot handsets. I wonder if Casio will ever bring this range West.

Korea/Japan Week: KDDI takes fashion phones to another level


One of the most interesting zones in KDDI’s Design Studio store in Tokyo is the area where they show off a range of fashion phones, created by a bunch of top Japanese designers.

The ones above are the Infobar 2, which is due to go on sale next month in Japan. They’re quite long and thin, which you might think would put users off, but apparently they’ve already created a huge buzz in Japan since being announced earlier this year.

Korea/Japan Week: KDDI's waterproof digital TV phone that works underwater


“Who would like to watch TV while they’re in the bath?” asked a chap from Japanese operator KDDI, during his presentation this morning at the company’s Design Studio in Tokyo. Er…

Anyway, it was a cue to show off the W53SA phone, which lets you watch 1seg digital TV (that’s the Japanese standard), but is also fully waterproof, so works even when you dunk it in a big bowl of water. Which I proceeded to do:

Korea/Japan Week: Day Two Roundup


Right now, I’m sitting in a Tokyo hotel room, trying to make sense of all the new mobile stuff I saw in Korea, to clear my brain for a day of futuristic Japanese phones tomorrow. With jetlag. It’s all going a bit fuzzy round the edges.

To wrap up the posts from Korea though. A visit to LG’s demo centre threw up lots of interesting stories. The company’s concept Rolex handset was intriguing, while the revelation that every UK operator will be selling the LG Viewty made me wonder how O2 will price it compared to the iPhone.

LG 'Corona' K520 Windows Mobile smartphone: "Like the Prada, but with more features…"

lg-logo.jpgIt was a frustrating experience nosing around LG’s mobile demo room in its Seoul office today. There were loads of new phones sprinkled around the room, but no photographs were allowed. You’ll have to excuse the image-free nature of this post, in other words.

Pick of the bunch was the new K520 handset, which is currently codenamed ‘Corona’ (although this isn’t final apparently). It’s a smartphone running the Windows Mobile 6 operating system, with a full 2.8-inch touchscreen, two-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi and push-email.

“It looks like the Prada, but with more features in it,” said the guide…

Korea/Japan Week: Five ways RFID is being used in mobile phones

rfid-banking.jpgIf there’s one thing I want to see in Korea and Japan, it’s people slapping their mobile phones down and Doing Stuff with them. You know, paying for shopping, getting cans out of vending machines. That kind of thing. A visit to Korean operator SK Telecom’s demo centre yesterday didn’t disappoint.

They were showing some of the applications for RFID technology, and it made for an interesting selection. Starting with…

1. RFID Banking (left). Go up to an ATM, hold your phone against the special sensor, and receive cash and/or a statement without a debit card in sight. Apparently more than one million people are using the service in Korea now, paying a monthly fee for it.