Throw and Catch your mail…
Recently previewed at CEATEC 2009, the “thrown mail” from NTT Docomo is certainly novel. By shaking your phone (”throwing”) towards your partner you can transfer a mail message to their phone. Essentially, this is an application using GPS with a sensor that measures the position of your partner and the speed of movement of their mobile. The more you shake or move your phone, the further you can “throw” the message, and so the activity feels like a game of catch.
It is also possible to leave your “thrown” messages at a designated place, to be read by someone when they happen to be passing through. In this way you can use the service without having to assign a partner at the time of “throwing”. This element of the service will be of more interest commercially, in that messages and information about services and stores in a certain area could be left “floating”, ready to be picked up by willing consumers. Here the application becomes an intuitive search function, offering choices and information tailored to a specific locale and user.
In order to combat issues of privacy NTT has made the system so that you must have been accepted by your partner to participate (receiving, sending).
This is a fun and playful development of phone communication. But not just a game, it could have wider commercial implications, in that stores could provide members with special services and information when they pass nearby to an outlet. NTT is offering users a service that carries over into current mobile navigation services but in a very user-tailored (users give permission to certain stores or chains to receive their data) and instantaneous way.