Only in Japan: The Best Technologies You Can't Buy
Just a few years ago Japan's lead in all things digital was easy to see. Japanese consumers could buy new domestic gadgets from companies like Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic, often a year or two before they hit the market in other countries. But now things have changed. With gadgets increasingly coming out at the same time around the world, it's no longer the hardware that makes something cool, but what you can do with it.
[Note: To see some of the technology and services described here in action, watch our
Mobile Digital TV
Take OneSeg, Japan's mobile digital TV system. The entire electronics industry, TV broadcasters, and the government all agreed on a single broadcasting standard,
The result is a popular service that features all the regular terrestrial channels at no cost. Already, 14 million cell phones with the service have been sold, and the sight of people watching TV is becoming more common on trains and in cafes across Japan.
The latest phones also allow you to record TV shows. And if you're in a public space but forgot to bring your headphones, it's no problem. A couple of button presses brings up the subtitles so you can enjoy the show with the volume turned down.