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WAP and mobile phone Internet access / Sep 17th

From: Mark Griffith <markgriffith@rocketmail.com>
Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2000 15:52:40 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <20000916225240.952.qmail@web1611.mail.yahoo.com>
To: www-mobile@w3.org
Cc: markgriffith@rocketmail.com

So why does Japan have a lead in WAP and i-mode?

I can imagine the Japanese _do_ implement better, and
I am sure the extra time on cramped trains is a major
element (though Europeans make up for it hanging
around at cafes, don't they?).  Japan is also a rich,
gadget-happy country with a quarter more people than

Their homes being too cramped, and dial-up home access
being too dear, for PC-Internet use from home to take
off is another element in Japan's early start surely.

But the one reason everyone seems to be forgetting is
that you can fit more information on a mobile-phone
screen if your language uses compact ideograms - as
Japanese, Chinese, and often Korean, does.  

One or two ideograms can represent a word that may
cost three or four times as many characters in any
alphabetical language.

I am guessing, but it might be possible to write my
previous sentence in as few as twenty ideogram
characters in Japanese (though they also have the
option of alphabetical writing).  Even at double the
width of alphabetical letters, that would be forty
character widths compared to the space I actually took
up in the one-sentence paragraph above - over 95
characters - and that was in English, a relatively
concise language by European standards.   

When screens get bigger and faster that difference
will erode, but we may be in one of the few
two-or-three-year periods in recent history when our
alphabet-only languages have a clear disadvantage that
matters in business.   

It might mainly be that mobile-phone screens right now
are just fun enough and quick enough to be worth using
if you have a language with ideograms, and not if you
Best wishes, Mark Griffith

Manchester / Amsterdam / Budapest

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Received on Saturday, 16 September 2000 18:52:42 UTC

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