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Photos: Phone fun in Japan

KDDI's Designing Center, located in Tokyo'sground zero for trendy teens, keeps tabs on the latest in mobile phones.
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1 of 6 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Life Pod

The Life Pod, which contains an RFID chip and is either great or spooky, depending on your perspective. Pass a display with an RFID reader and the phone downloads information from the kiosk and uploads it to a personal blog. The phone also posts information about time, date, location and more. Conceivably, if enough RFID readers exist, people could track daily movements for entertainment. Life Pod is still in the experimental phase. Fujitsu, NEC and government agencies are currently participating with KDDI on the project.

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2 of 6 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Seasonal phones

KDDI's seasonal phones. The company comes out with a summer line, a spring line and an autumn/winter line each year, with each fashion line containing about 10 to 12 phones. A typical Japanese consumer swaps cell phones about once every 12 to 18 months. People used to swap more often, but the carriers changed pricing structure so it pays to keep a phone longer. Typically, carriers garner about 8,000 yen ($7.25) per customer per month in revenue.

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3 of 6 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Phone lights up

Shut the cover on this phone and lights embedded in the cover switch on. The phone also emits a sparkly sound. Did we mention the KDDI Designing Center was located in teen girl shopping heaven?

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4 of 6 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Sanyo touch pad

Behold the Sanyo touch-pad phone, coming out soon. Flick a switch and the keypad turns into a touch pad. Here, a woman draws lines with the pad (her finger movements are represented by the red line on the screen).

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5 of 6 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Sharp phone

Concerned about privacy? This phone from Sharp, which runs on the KDDI au network, lets consumers read e-mail and the Internet looking at it straight on. But from an angle, all one sees is a screen saver. Thus, the person next to you on the train can't look at your e-mail. Sharp also has an LCD TV phone that serves up a number of independent images, viewable from different angles.

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6 of 6 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Kiosks

Internet commerce, here we come. These sleek kiosks, which will probably be rolled out soon, let consumers download and buy music with a phone. They will also likely sell games.

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