Seeing a book displayed on the Nintendo-DS, it seems like something I would like, but only if I could drop in my own text files. (The screens of most cell phone are too small to work very well for this application.)
I think I've figured out what's what with recent articles outside Japan about cell-phone books here. There have been articles outside Japan about "cell phone books" in Japan, and I think it's being assumed that people are reading books on cell phones. It could be that this is also happening, but what I've seen on the local media over here are stories about books written with cell phones, and then printed as regular (on paper) books.
To understand why someone would even attempt to write a book with a cell phone instead of a device with a proper keyboard, consider a few things:
- the vast majority of people here get around by train instead of car (in the cities in any case - the countryside is another matter), so they have travel time to stand (not very often sit) and write with a pocketable device. (I've seen a couple of loonies who harass people for using cell phones in any capacity on the train, but generally, writing text with one is considered okay (in contrast with talking, which is considered very nearly absolutely taboo now).
- In a practical sense, for a lot of people here (and everywhere, or is there something unique about this?), their cell phone is their computer, and so all their personal e-mail and writing is done with the one device.
- When writing in Japanese with a standard keyboard, people go through two conversion processes with their text. First from "romaji" (western A-Z characters) to hiragana (a Japanese phonetic script), and then from hiragana to kanji (the complicated characters originally from China). With cell phones, they just go directly from hiragana input to conversion to kanji, so while they're losing speed with thumb input, they're gaining it in a simpler input process. (There is also the option of direct hiragana input with a standard keyboard, but for touch typing, it makes more sense to just learn one input method, which can then be used for both English and Japanese.) People who can touch type can still write more quickly with a full-size keyboard, but for someone who hasn't learned to type well, it can even be faster to input text with a cell phone via direct hiragana input.....
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