NTT DoCoMo’s ad in The Economist March 29, 2006Posted by fukumimi in Japan, TechCrunch, technology.
Mobile TechCrunch has a piece on NTT DoCoMo's ad in The Economist.
The Ad Copy reads "In the future, mobile communications will be wrapped around you", and features a woman wearing "clothing" which has various media images projected on it.
1. Mobile communications technology will offer a fully immersive, always connected environment. This has positive and also potentially less positive implications, depending on your point of view.
The positive implications are fairly straightforward. Various value added services will be enabled by having a single device which allows data access and storage, providing functionality from e-wallets (debit and credit functionality on mobile phones with embedded non-contact IC card technology is already here), security authentification (phone doubling as security pass for entry into restricted areas),
The potentially not so positive implcations include being subjected to personalised advertising and promotions where every you go, and more seriously the potential precise tracking of mobile phone users. From 2007, all new mobile phones sold in Japan will be required to have GPS functionality. The rationale for this is the increase in so-called E911(US terminology) calls from mobile phones. [The US E911 regulations provide for either phones with GPS modules, or a network of TDOA(Time Difference Of Arrival) receivers (the working principle of TDOA should be self evident)]
2. NTT DoCoMo announced an agreement with flexible display developer PlasticLogic last year. Flexible displays have the potential to allow larger screens which can be stowed when not in use, thus improving usability without sacrificing usability. Perhaps a wearable screen is also possible. The flexible plastic backplane developed by companies like PlasticLogic promises large improvements in toughness, something which has been a major weakness in screens utilising glass and/or silicon in their assembly. Perhaps phones might have external screen outputs (like PCs do) which would allow users to hook up a flexible screen when needed, and revert to the small screen when on the move…
3. There is extensive research going on regarding wearable computing. One of the big issues is power. NEC and others have announced results in flexible battery technology. Whilst the silicon components are already probably small and light enough to be embedded into clothing, useable battery power still requires significant physical volume, and one way to enhance the wearability is to make it thin and flexible. A more flexible battery form factor also allows for more creativity in creating handheld phones with non-traditional form factors.
All of these 3 themes seem to be covered by the DoCoMo ad, the ad copy implicitly refers to these actual initiatives which are being undertaken within NTT DoCoMo's future product strategy.
Smart. (even if the average reader who sees the ad is probably unaware of DoCoMo's current R&D efforts)