From Monterey Herald In Japan, mobile phone replacing wallets, keys, credit cards
With cellular phone in hand, Japanese consumers can purchase from vending machines, buy train tickets, order a bowl of noodles, trade stock, bid at online auctions and change channels on a TV set.
It's not unusual, for example, to see pedestrians sidle up to concert posters and use their mobile phones to read small bar codes. Their mobiles process the bar codes, automatically taking them to Web sites for more information. Viewing their mobiles, users can see prices, pick out seats and buy tickets.
Magazine ads, publicity fliers and bus stops often have bar codes that allow mobile users to arrive at Web sites to make purchases or see information.
"You're reading a catalog in the bathtub, and you say, `Oh, I want to buy this.' And you read the bar code," said Jeffrey Funk, a commentator on the Japanese mobile phone market and professor at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo.
An interesting comment.
One key difference, though, is the eagerness of Japanese carriers to provide more services to consumers without a clear revenue model, something U.S. carriers are unlikely to do