Thursday, September 15, 2005

Can 70 Million Japanese Be Wrong?

Japan has embraced mobile phone technology. There are now 70 million cell phones in Japan--more than that country's number of land-based phones.

To the Japanese, a mobile phone is not just a convenience--it's a necessity. People use them to read the news, the weather and to text messages.

Most interesting of all to me is that the Japanese are reading novels on their mobile phones. That's right, I said reading novels. Cell phone novels are downloaded in installments and read a few lines at a time on the small screen.

According to "Wired News," a recent study indicated that more than half the readers are female and they're reading the cell phone books in their homes--not just on trains or while they're standing on line or waiting for appointments.

Earlier this year, Random House--the U.S. publisher--announced that they'd acquired a substantial stake in VOCEL, a company that provides branded content to mobile phones. According to Authorlink, VOCEL has a patent pending on technology to speed message delivery over cell phones.

My guess is that Americans will soon be offered the option of downloading both classics and popular fiction on our cells.

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