Ipods are just repurposed computers and mobilephones are gradually becoming the same. In Asia you see mobiles being utilized for a variety of uses beyond traditional voice calls and text messaging. North America with it’s locked/closed cellular market has always lagged behind but is now getting set to unleash a flood of innovative mobile gadgets and services which will help transform our understanding of just what is a mobile phone.
Park Hyun-A is someone you might want to watch. A 21-year-old student at Korea University in Seoul, she’d like to be a marketing executive for a telecom or fashion company someday and enjoys playing matchmaker for friends looking for the perfect mate.
But what’s really intriguing is the way Park uses her Samsung mobile phone. Each day she waves it over a reader at a turnstile in the train station to pay her fare. Then, during the long ride to school, she flips open the screen and rotates it 90 degrees to watch satellite tv. On the same screen, Park pages through an e-book version of Joachim de Posada’s Don’t Eat the Marshmallow…Yet!: The Secret to Sweet Success in Work and Life. She sends an average of 66 text messages a day, snaps pictures of cute guys and sends them to friends, and plays an online game in which she runs a virtual fruit store.
South Korea and Japan have emerged as oracles of mobility. More than 3 million Koreans regularly use their mobile phones to log on to the giant Cyworld social networking site.