Okay, got my first mobile phone bill for Canada. It’s not bad, as I’m hardly using it. But, I guess that it’s better to have a number so you can be contacted than not. Though, whatever happened to the days of just waiting for your friends or family to show up, and wonder where the frak they are. Doesn’t leave much to our imaginations anymore. Then again, I reckon that we’ve gotten really impatient these days.
Anyways, back on topic. After spending 3 years living in Japan (I left Japan back in July 2008), I’m quite surprised to see how sh*ty the mobile phone service, fees and phone options are over here. It’s sorta like going back in a time machine. Sure, the iPhone and other other various smart phones are out, but the fees for their use here are just ridiculous. I hate doing the whole, “Well in Japan… the UK, Asia,the rest of the world…” kind of statement, but here are a few mobile phone services, item differences which have caught me off guard. I won’t list features which are the same. Oh yeah by the way, most mobile phones in Japan are smart phones. And I will also continue to say “mobile” phone, instead of “cell” phones.
Costs: CallerID, voicemail, etc… pretty much all included. And flat rate for calling. (within Japan, mobile phones calls all cost the same)
Number: All mobile phones start with the same number. So you know if you’re calling a landline or a mobile phone.
Web charges: Usually charged by the packets sent and recieved. Though, for a small fee you can have unlimted upload and download.
Screen size: Screens are a tad larger, and some have more resolution.
Text/email: In Canada we make a difference between texting (SMS) and emailing. But pretty much all phones in Japan only do emails, hence it’s easy to send attached video, audio and image files to other mobile phones and onto computers.
Blog: Plenty of people write their blogs on their phone, as you can write text and catpure video and images all with your phone.
Matrix code: All phones can capture QR codes. A two-dimensional bar code that can be captured with the camera on the mobile phone, and then the screen jumps to a particular webpage (URL) to provide whatever info the bar code was one. (ie: bus schedule, movie info, product info, cost, games, etc)
Mobile payment: Charge up your phone or tie it to an account, and use it as your electronic wallet. Just swipe your phone on a payment pad and pay for your purchases. (Currently limited to train, bus, airplane tickets, groceries, shops, movie, events, certain parking meters, certain vending machines, etc) But don’t lose it, or someone could do a bit of shopping (though, wallet function is lockable in some models)
Television: With all the digital channels and programming, watch your favourite telly show on your mobile phone. And rotate your screen so it’s landscape, not in portrait mode.
Pedometer/GPS: See how far you walked or how many calories you burned. (not all models)
Fingerprint/face certification: Secure your phone with other methods than just a PIN code.
Kids phone: Track your kids with GPS and on-line map. (usually for little grade school kids)
Mobile services: ie; Hear a tune you can’t recognize the title or artist? Call up a number, and play the music into the mic. And voila, a computer deciphers the tune and you’ve got the name of the tune.
Plenty of other cool stuff with mobile phone differences, but I’m too arsed and tired to list the rest.
Wikipedia: Japanese mobile phone culture
Currently reading: The Wild Muir (John Muir), read it before, but just going back to some of my old books.
Today’s bit of happiness: Had some Thai food