Avatars for Mobile Video Conferencing?
These new i-Mode phones - the FOMA 900i Series - were launched a month ago, but I just noticed now this weird feature of the phones. Forget the fact that they all 3G phones which support higher-end Java apps, have Macromedia Flash built in, and have megapixel cameras. No, the thing that caught my attention now, is the "avatar" support:
"Kyara-den" : Avatar-capable videophone, for transmitting animated cartoon characters ("avatars") to represent the sender's face (instead of live video), during videophone calls. Character expressions can be changed in real time.
So... wow. Not only are the mobile phone users in Japan sending live video of themselves to others, now they can instead send little cartoon characters in their place which can change expressions? In real time.
That is *so* cool.