Web Japan > NIPPONIA No.32 > Cover Interview
NIPPONIA No.32 March 15, 2005

cover interview
Software Developer Helps Power the Internet Age
Written by Tsuchiya Komei, Photo by Saimon Fujio

"Now that I have an excellent work environment I can do some of the things I really want to do,"says Oku Kazuho.

One of the world's most promising computer programmers is Oku Kazuho, although he is still little known in his own country, Japan. He developed Palmscape, a web browser for Palm OS handheld devices called PDAs (personal digital assistants). Palmscape was distributed free over the Internet, and the browser was quickly incorporated into PDAs in Japan, the U.S. and other countries, spreading worldwide as the standard PDA browser of choice. Palmscape came on the scene in the summer of 1997, when Oku was just 20 years old. At the time he was a student at the University of Tokyo.
Technology Review, published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, included him in the TR 100 list of 100 Top Young Innovators for 2002.
"When I developed Palmscape, I had no idea it could be a money maker. The early PDAs had no web browser, which was a big drawback, so I developed one and put it on my homepage for people to download as freeware. Information about it was somehow sent to people on the mailing lists of handheld computer users, and in no time at all the Palmscape software was being downloaded and installed by people worldwide," says Oku, obviously happy when thinking back to those days.
The first time Oku touched a computer keyboard was when he was a young elementary school student. He was in Australia at the time because his father was working there, and his school offered a course in a simple programming language. "Later, when I was in Grade 6, my father bought a PC and let me use it, and when I was in junior high my mother bought a Mac and I used it and wrote programs with it. I was in a chamber music club in junior and senior high school, and also in a computer club, but I only used a computer for about half an hour a day on average. I wasn't really into computers in those days."
Oku, now 27 years old, is president of the company he established. He conceptualized and developed Edio, a service that lets you watch TV, listen to music, and transfer photos, after you connect your mobile phone or PDA to your computer. His company now operates the service. "We're going to keep developing software that will make it easier for people to communicate digitally."
Oku says development projects take up most of his workday. Probably in the near future, people round the world will be using another innovative product from this software genius.
For more information on Oku Kazuho's company, Mobirus Inc., visit: http://www.mobirus.com/en

   Special Feature*    Bon Appetit!    Japan Travelogue
   Living In Japan    Japanese Animals and Culture
   Sumo(2)    Cover Interview    In Japan Today