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WALL-E, Japanese Cell Phones, and Badtz-Maru Dancer

5 Sep

There’s something about this image that just screams “Blade Runner” to me…but maybe that’s because I was listening to 80’s Movie and Music Cafe chattering about that movie this morning….I think I need an evening on the couch reacquainting myself with that classic!

But I digress…this picture actually comes to us from Japan, via Pink Tentacle, which tells us about a new ad technology being tested on Japanese cell phones (which, as we all know, are frequently signs of what’s coming next, especially when those trendsetting schoolgirls get involved):

Japan’s first field test of “smart posters” using Near Field Communication (NFC) — a short-range high-frequency wireless communication technology that lets users view digital content simply by holding their compatible cellphones near the posters — is being conducted at a Chiba-area shopping mall, it was announced on September 2.

Major phone operator SoftBank Mobile, along with NTT Data, Hitachi and Dutch smart chip maker Gemalto, are testing the technology with WALL-E and Tinker Bell movie posters embedded with NFC tags.

Strangely enough, when I did a google image search for “softbank mobile tinker bell,” an unrelated image from my very own blog showed up. I guess I’m tired and spacey from too much fun last night (belly dancers! sword fights! all-girl Queen tribute band Gunpowder Gelatine!), but this picture makes me smile so much I just have to share it with you…it is a treasured memory from my 2002 trip to Sanrio Puroland.

Guess I need a research trip to Japan to check out those cell phone ads, look for Tinker Bell, and check out the current version of the Sanrio Puroland 3PM parade.

Kawaii Pucca Mickey Mouse Phone

28 May

Is it Pucca, or is it Mickey? It’s both! Super kawaii!

From GizmoDiva, hat tip to Mr Broke Hoedown.

Would You Love a Disney 3G iPhone?

4 Jan

Pink Tentacle has a summary of a recent DIME magazine article about upcoming events and products expected for Japan in 2008, including this section on Apple and Disney tapping into the Japanese mobile phone market:

Of the countless new electronic products to be unveiled in Japan this year, few are likely to generate the amount of buzz that will accompany the Japanese launch of the yet-to-be-announced 3G iPhone. For the time being, would-be iPhone fans are holding their collective breath for all the gory details and specs, which may or may not come out at MacWorld 2008 (January 14-18).

Disney is also expected to make a splash with its entry into the mobile phone service market in spring. Working with Softbank, Disney will deliver mobile content to subscribers and help to develop new handsets — which means we can probably look forward to an explosion of character-themed phones as the year progresses. (On a separate but related note, Tokyo Disneyland will be holding a year-long celebration to mark its 25th anniversary. Festivities will include the grand opening of the 705-room Victorian-style Tokyo Disneyland Hotel this summer.)

Tangentially, Blue Sky Disney this week spoke of a rumored appearance by Disney at the upcoming MacWorld conference January 14-18:

It’s long been known that the Mouse has been having a closer and closer relationship with the Fruit company. There has been speculation that in the next year or so Apple could possibly come out with a version of Disney Mobile or Disney “branded” iPhone/iPod but no tangible proof is available yet. Mr. Reality-Distortion-Field has been making his presence known in the Boardroom.

I recently picked up a Crackberry, in the hopes that I can converge both my iPod mini and Palm Pilot into my phone, and therefore have two fewer devices to carry, charge, etc. (While I have at this point completely given up my iPod the overall convergence is still a work in progress, one of the results of which was a long rambling email sent last night at about 2AM to one of my podcasting buddies, ranting about the inconsistent and sometimes strange use of ID3 tags among podcasters in general, not that I’m a geek or anything.) Would I give up my Crackberry sometime down the line if a Disney iPhone became available? Maybe. Even I have limits.

Disney Roundup from Mr. Broke Hoedown

14 Nov

Thank goodness for Mr. Broke Hoedown! I’m having a blast in Reno, behind the scenes at a large computing conference . . . but of course that means I’ve been too busy to blog, or even keep up with all my blogreading. But I do catch my email now and then, and he’s sent me a few irreverent goodies:

Disney.com vs. MySpace?

3 Jan

John Frost reports today on a Wall Street Journal article about the upcoming new disney.com web site, and its attempt to position itself as a MySpace competitor.

At first this seemed odd to me, but then I thought back to the now-legendary story of Walt Disney sitting on a crummy bench, watching his daughters ride a mediocre carousel in an ill-kept city park. And he thought to himself, couldn’t we have a place where parents and kids could both enjoy themselves? Seems to me that a MySpace-ish disney.com could be headed for that same sort of conceptual space, though I’m not placing any money on whether they can succeed.

It’ll be interesting to see how they tie Disney Mobile into all this. And the upcoming Monsters Ince. Laugh Floor attraction at Magic Kingdom, where you can send text messages to the monsters from your cell phone. How far will Disney take the potential synergies here?

Walt Disney World to Use Cell Phones in New Attraction, Give Math Tests to Canadians

30 Sep

A September 29 press release from Walt Disney World includes details of several upcoming attractions, and includes this tantalizing bit of information for Monsters Inc fans:

Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club. Magic Kingdom guests will laugh, joke, sing songs and match wits with the beloved animated characters from Disney-Pixar’s “Monsters, Inc.” in an engaging and interactive attraction being created by the Disney Imagineers. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club features one-eyed hero Mike Wazowski, who has opened a comedy club to collect laughs that will generate electricity for the monster world of Monstropolis. As Monster-of-Ceremonies, Mike recruits two comedian wannabes whose slapstick humor delights and engages audiences. Guests will even get to text-message jokes on their cell phones for possible use in the show. [emphasis mine]

Disney has in recent years been incorporating more and more interactive elements. The Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride in Anaheim (Disneyland), for example, allows you not only rack up the points when you’re riding it in person, but also to participate through an online component. The Turtle Talk with Crush attraction both at Anaheim (Disney’s California Adventure) and Orlando (Epcot) uses digital puppetry to create a verbally and visually interactive animated character. Disney’s “living character initiative” is creating more emphasis on ambulatory interactive experiences, including the rumored new rolling Muppet Labs. And I could go on.

But what’s different about the use of cell phones in the Monsters’ Inc Laugh Floor is the use of an independant, guest-owned electronic input device to influence the content of an attraction. True, Astro Blasters used the web as an input device, but the space rangers on the actual ride weren’t aware of this input until they got to the pictures displayed in the exit area (if they even noticed then).

I’ll be interested to see the way in which the cell phone input is incorporated. Will the Cast Members receive the information live, and use it in real-time (similar to the experience of Turtle Talk with Crush)? Or will it be dumped into a database for later mining? Receiving the information in the form of text messages gives them more control, more ability to screen out the hecklers and zero in on the funny, Disney-friendly stuff than they’d have if they simply encouraged guests to shout out their ideas. But it also could create an overwhelming crush of data, unless they’re going to restrict text message submission only to those in the attraction itself.

The press release also includes a bit of text about the Year of a Million Dreams prizes, including this note:

For residents of Canada, a mathematical skill-testing question must be correctly answered to win any prize.

Yes, we’re all aware that this is a legal requirement for those giving out sweepstakes prizes to Canadians, but you’ve gotta wonder, how are they going to implement this for the smaller prizes? “Psssst, hey buddy, if you can do this quadratic equation, there’s a free lanyard in it for you!”

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