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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

AsiaweekTimeAsia NowAsiaweek technology

FEBRUARY 4, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 4

Cutting Edge
Cellphones That Know the Score
By STUART WHITMORE

    ALSO IN ASIAWEEK
New Medium, New Rules
China takes a hard line on Internet discourse

Cellphones That Know the Score
SK Telecom, one of Korea's largest mobile carriers, is joining up with Japan's NTT DoCoMo in an attempt to bring broadband Internet access to your cellphone

  RELATED STORIES
The Secret of Success
A hush-hush U.S. firm shows off its new chip

Thinking Smaller
Hong Kong and Japan converge in a Net investment bloc

Cutting Edge
Getting Snap Happy With Free Film Processing

Assif Online: In Debt?
Just make yourself a dotcom

Asiaweek Technology Home

Cellphones That Know the Score
Japan and South Korea have done plenty of bickering over who gets what when the two nations co-host the 2002 football World Cup, so it's nice to see a little teamwork at last. SK Telecom, one of Korea's largest mobile carriers, is joining up with Japan's NTT DoCoMo in an attempt to bring broadband Internet access to your cellphone in time for the first kick-off. Using 3G, (for third generation) technology, the two firms will be able to offer download speeds of up to 384 kilobits-per-second - almost seven times faster than the dial-up modem on most of today's PCs. So if you find yourself in Tokyo or Seoul without a ticket for the match, you might still be able to watch the action on your phone. No word yet on whether you'll be able to e-mail the referee with your opinion on his performance.

Look Smart
There's an old marketing adage that consumers won't buy anything that makes them look stupid. Especially if it's expensive. Don't tell Sony or Olympus, both of which are hawking pricey sci-fi goggles that look like they've been filched from a Klingon's wardrobe. Fortunately they look better from the inside. Plug Sony's bulbous blue Glasstron or Olympus's Eye-Trek into a DVD, VCR or videogame console and it feels like you're sitting two meters away from a screen up to 62 inches wide. Twin-LCDs provide the picture, earpieces that pop out of the arms of the glasses give you stereo sound and a battery keeps things mobile. Combined with a portable DVD-player, video glasses (priced from $499 to $899 depending on the model) could prove an ideal companion on long-haul flights. Just ask the stewardess for a seat at the back where nobody else can see you.

Reinventing the Wireless
You've learned what MP3 stands for, you've mastered the arts of downloading and ripping, and now you have a hard drive crammed with digital tunes. Only one problem: How do you listen to your MP3s when the computer is in the study and you're sinking into the living-room La-Z-Boy? By using a retro-looking chunk of purple plastic to bridge the sound gap. The imBand Remote Tuner, from Microsoft-backed U.S. firm Sonicbox, uses radio waves to send music from your desktop to your stereo. A small transmitter hooked up to your PC broadcasts the signal to the radio-like receiver, which connects to the stereo and acts as a kind of remote control, so you don't have to keep scurrying back to your mouse to change the tune. Unlike similar wireless systems, such as X10 Corporation's MP3 Anywhere, Sonicbox can also stream real-time Internet radio from your computer - provided you have a broadband connection. The soon-to-be-released tuner is expected to retail for less than $50.

Even a Half-Life Is Too Much
Gamers love Half-Life, an award-winning videogame featuring government death squads, bloodthirsty aliens and more flying body parts than a Boeing aircraft hanger. Singapore's authorities are less enamored, accusing Half-Life of "excessive violence" and slapping it with a ban. Over 2,000 Half-Life fans have signed an e-petition in protest, but they may yet have the last laugh. The Lion City's self-confessed "symbolic" censorship policy will be little use in stanching the flow of pirate Half-Life CD-ROMs already flooding the market.

e-mail: stuart_whitmore@asiaweek.com

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