IS IT A PHONE? IS IT AN OCTOPUS?
Covers Give Mobile Phones a Variety of Fun Guises (October 6, 2005)
As mobile phones become an indispensable part of life for many people, they have developed into personalized fashion items as well. Some users customize their phones by decorating them with stickers or covers of their choosing, and these covers have evolved to take on many forms. Some are crafted from wood or lacquer, while others bear the handset owner's favorite pro baseball or animation character.
|A phone with the Bull cover (right) (PANA)
Talk into a Toy
In addition to making voice calls, today's mobile phones can handle e-mail, take photos and videos, download data from the Internet, and play recorded music. They can also be used like prepaid cards to make transactions in convenience stores and from vending machines. The latest dimension added to the phones' appeal is as a fashion accessory.
This summer the mobile operator Vodafone K.K. introduced a choice of 12 "costume covers" for Toshiba's V501T handset that give the phone a wide variety of different eye-catching appearances. The covers, made from silicone, fit over the handset, which by itself is a simply designed folding model. The V501T comes complete with three of the covers, and others can be bought separately.
The idea is to give the handset a playful feel. The fun designs include the Bull, which comes complete with legs and horns that attach to the body of the handset. There are also the Dinosaur Egg, which makes the phone look like a big egg, and the Sucker, which makes the handset resemble an octopus. The Tire is black and comes complete with treads, while the Lawn is covered in a green furry material.
Choose Your Character
The accessories are more than just cosmetic: they change the handset's shape and the way it feels in the hand. To add to the fun, Vodafone is posting humorous short stories on its website based on the handset characters. For instance, the Dinosaur Egg warns, "Don't blame me if I hatch from the warmth of being put into a pocket." The Soda, meanwhile, which looks like a piece of ice candy, advises its owners to refrain from putting the phone in their mouths or refrigerators.
Given such features and publicity, it would be understandable if some owners started to think they were using a toy rather than a sophisticated electronic device. Still, the wacky covers are great ways of breaking the ice at parties and other social events. Changing the handsets' motifs can be fun in the same way as changing the clothes of a doll. Whatever will the mobile-phone industry come up with next?
Copyright (c) 2005 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.
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