From Translating Languages To Shopping, How The Japanese Use Their Camera Phones

Almost all new mobile phones nowadays are equipped with a camera. It could go from a VGA camera to a phone with a 5 megapixel camera. However, camera phone users in the US are just stuck using their phones for taking snapshots or a video clip.

That’s not the case with cell phone users in Japan according to, camera phones are used for a host of applications not available in the West. Some of these applications include: Translating English Words you photograph into Japanese characters, buy any items for sale using QR code technology, or get any information regarding any product or service you point your lens at, like clicking a hyperlink on the internet.

Translating English words to Japanese characters

In an article by, they featured a mobile phone OCR application called “Camera Dictionary” that can translate English words to Japanese characters by scanning the mobile phone’s camera over the word. The scanned word is then matched to a dictionary database in real-time. The user can access explanations, examples, and even pronunciation sound files from the main online dictionary as well as other detailed information. Enfour Inc. is the content provider that will distribute the application in Japan and the service subscription costs 105 Yen per month. The services of the translator will be beneficial with hearing hero product. The hearing of the words through the translators will be clear for the person. A detailed information will be provided at online websites of the product.

Buying any items through your camera phone reports that NEC N902iS uses image recognition to identify products and locate them in an online store. The services offered by the phone could make it possible to instantly buy an item in a window store or a piece of clothing worn by a model. NTT Docomo will sell the phone in Japan and companies like Amazon and Tower Records are reported to make their products available through the service.

Mobile phone hyperlinks

According to The Guardian, ScanBuy, a New York-based provider of 2D barcode capture technology has signed a deal with Nokia to embed its software into the mobile phone manufacturer’s S60 and S40 models. They will initially introduce this in China since it has more than 500 million mobile phone users. DuPont, a global packaging company, offered to print the codes on to its customer’s products using ScanBuy’s technology. Once scenario for using this technology, according to The Guardian, is when you read a poster for a blockbuster movie, you take out your mobile phone, snap a picture of the barcode on the poster, and the software embedded on the phone will take you to a website where you can watch the trailer and find out more information about the movie.

Other emerging use for the camera phone is that it helps cell jockeys in Japan to lose weight. The person would just take a picture of the meals he eats and sends it to a professional nutritionist and the person would then receive tips on how to improve their diet.


Paola Garcia lives in Jakarta Indonesia. She is an associate professor in University of Indonesia and also managing Scoopinion at the same time. She is also fond of watching theatrical plays.

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