New Mobile Phones Make Fashion Statement
March 11, 1999
Mobile phones are now available in a variety of designs and functions, including those that allow users to send pictures they drew on the screen (right).
Have you ever seen a leopard-spotted cellular phone? Or one that plays movie theme songs to signal incoming calls? In Japan, where approximately one in three people own a mobile phone, these have become common sights and sounds. Today's mobile phones are more than just communication devices: They have become indispensable tools of everyday use offering a multitude of functions like text transmission and information downloading. Perhaps as an indication of users' growing attachment to these devices, the number of people looking to customize the appearance and sound of their phones is also on the increase.
The Rise of the Cellular
Can't Live Without Them
As an offshoot to the popularity of cellular e-mail, mobile devices with large display panels designed to be used exclusively for sending and receiving electronic mail messages have begun to appear on the market and are growing in popularity, especially among young people.
Another commonly used service allows users to receive textual information, such as weather reports, news headlines, and even ski snow reports, and display it directly on their cellular terminals' display panels.
Vehicles for Self-Expression
Since last year, the programming of melodies of the latest hit songs in place of a standard ring signal has become the rage. One freelance writer suggests that young people first began programming these melodies in order to surprise friends and innocent bystanders with unexpected sounds. The trend soon spread among business users. There is a reported case of one businessman's phone ringing in the middle of a meeting, surprising the gatherers with the melody of the theme from the movie Rocky. Through the end of 1998 there were some 10 how-to manuals and song books on the market offering detailed instructions on programming melodies. There is also a popular Web site that makes it easy for users to create tunes on their personal computers.
In response to this trend, newer cell-phone models, which originally were limited to quarter notes and no more than a 30-note input capacity, now allow the programming of up to 128 notes, including sixteenth notes, in a three-octave range.
The most recent fad is to decorate the exteriors of the cellulars with original designs. The phones, most of which have traditionally been offered only in monotone colors, are now available in a variety of designs, such as zebra or tiger stripes or flower patterns like hibiscus.
From an ever-blossoming multitude of functions to their attention-grabbing sounds and designs, cellular phones are now much more than just tools for communication. They have become fashionable, do-it-all, super devices.
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.