Category Archives: mobile

Vodafone Symphonia

A cute little video a Kiwi friend of mine sent to me today from Vodafone New Zealand.

I find the making of videos more interesting. And it occured to me that something like this could only happen in a small market like New Zealand where there isn’t much network traffic in the early hours of the day, compared to somewhere like China or the US.  However, China does have this.


QR Codes in Reverse: Buy Your Starbucks With iPhone…

Starbucks iPhone ApplicationDefinite hat tip to @srust99 for passing along this interesting initiative by Starbuck’s.  It seems they’re trying out a new payment system using a very simple iPhone application.  Essentially all it does is display a QR code that is specific to your Starbuck’s Card account, and the register automatically deducts your purchase from your account right then and there.  In other words, you can buy your coffee with your phone now – no wallet necessary!

It’s nice to see a simple execution like this, as it just might help QR code adoption a bit in the US, where a) explaining what QR codes are has been a chore and b) then getting QR code readers pre-installed onto mobile handsets.  Interesting.  Welikey!

The schizophrenic state of digital in Japan…

This morning, whilst I was flicking through a Japanese media FAS report sent through by Dan Calladine, I picked up on a couple fascinating examples of the mixed bag that is Japan’s digital media landscape.

Photo by Cocoarmani (Flickr)

Japan has the ability to be hugely advanced in some areas and bizarrely limited in others.  Cases in point, taken from the full report, which you can view here.

QR Codes for Japanese Tombstones (page 49):

“As an example of how far QR codes penetrate Japanese daily life, starting in early 2008, the company Ishinokoe began to offer a QR code service for tombstones. For a yearly fee, the company’s packages allow visitors to use a QR code to access a dedicated mobile site, complete with the life history and photos of the deceased (”

While this service has been around for more than a year it seems, it is still a fascinating example of just how far advanced Japan can be in the moble space.  Check out Ishinokoe’s website (if you read Japanese).

No Websites Allowed for Electoral Candidates in Japan (page 56)

So, again, this is not exactly new information, but when you think about the tombstone QR codes, and the general comfort with digital media that the Japanese market generally exhibits, this is simply fascinating:

Website content is currently categorized as literature and images, which are prohibited except for the specified types. Therefore, candidates are not allowed to use online content for campaign purposes before or during the election period. However, the use of the Internet for political activities or those not directly related to campaigning for a specified candidate in a specified election are permissible (National Diet Library, 6 March 2006).

These little tidbits highlight why Japan remains one of the most fascinating markets in the digital arena, globally.  Welikey funky stuff like this.

Absolut Drinkspiration, in honor of Friday…

Just got this through from Mike Fung.  We like Absolut’s style.

Pattie Maes’ MIT lab taking augmented reality up a notch…

It’s always a good Monday morning when you get sent links like this one below.  Barney Loehnis pinged this recent TED presentation about the Sixth Sense augmented reality kit from Patti Maes’ lab at MIT.  The brainchild of student Pranav Mistry, the Sixth Sense uses off the shelf products (camera, mirror, projector, etc) to create a true augmented reality device that allows interaction with practically any surface or object.

The full TED link here for your reference. Well cool!

Mobile augmented reality awesomeness…

Big shout out to Gene Keenan, who sent this little gem to the Isobar Facebook fan page.  Kids, check this awesomeness out – using a compass, GPS, and a camera, Layar manages to offer the coolest damn mobile service I’ve seen yet.  Back up the truck kids, this Android application is going places.

Skype coming to the BlackBerry!


Skype on the BlackBerry!

Skype on the BlackBerry!


It appears that Skype is finally rolling out a BlackBerry application – about friggin’ time if you ask me.  Bring on the cheap international calls – this should save business travelers big time in the midst of a rather unfortunate economy.  The beta version of the application will be launching for the Bold and Curve handsets in May, so keep your eyes open for this one kids.  

Check out the full story here.