Fabulously informative post over at Chris Heathcote's anti-mega on the latest in mobile phone design in Japan:
"The biggest difference in ergonomics is flip phones compared to our candybars - there are candybar phones in Japan, but they are big and ugly compared to the flips. The flip format allows some nifty features, such as a second screen. These are now as colourful and good quality as the main screen, are on all the time (unlike the idle screens on UK colour phones), and you can download programs to run on the outside screen. These displays show everything from the time, to your last mail, to information downloaded from the net. The main displays are high quality, getting bigger with better resolution. The latest craze are 3d display."
And it's not just displays either, but new models of interaction beyond the Sony jogdial, including the mysterious-sounding Neuropointer and Roll Navi trackball. Fingerprint readers, location-based services, and pet-based mail delivery systems abound! The EZ Navi walk service sounds particularly interesting, providing a point-to-point navigation service designed for a country without street names - more details here. (apropos of that: Chris was also right to pick me up on recently simplifying the situation over street signs.)