29 June 2006

Cellphones as a link from web to world [International Herald Tribune]

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Point and buy
The International Herald Tribune reports on how in Japan mobile phones can provide highly-site specific internet services:

“If you stand on a street corner in Tokyo today, you can point a specialized cellphone at a hotel, a restaurant or a historical monument, and with the press of a button, the phone will display information from the Internet describing the object you are looking at.”

“The service is made possible by the efforts of three Japanese companies and GeoVector, a small U.S.-based technology company, and it represents a missing link between cyberspace and the physical world. The phones combine satellite- based navigation, precise to within nine meters, or 30 feet, with an electronic compass to provide a new dimension of orientation. Connect the device to the Internet, and it is possible to overlay the point-and-click simplicity of a computer screen on top of the real world.”

“The technology is being seen first in Japan because emergency regulations there require cellphones by next year to have receivers using the satellite-based Global Positioning System, or GPS, to establish their location.”

“As a result, analysts say Japan will have a head start of several years in what many expect to be a new frontier for mobile devices.”

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