Japan April Fools: Squid e-readers, flipping Google glasses
Catch up on your favorite manga series with a squid reader from Kodansha. Yep, it's just a fish tale.
So your e-reader has e-ink? How about squid ink?
Leading Japanese publisher Kodansha has a tentacled offering for fans of its many manga comic books: the Interactive Kodansha Archives (iKA) e-book reader.
Billed as the first "living" e-book reader in the world, iKA is a silly April Fools' prank that has a lot to do with puns on "ika" (squid) in Japanese. It's said to have 3.5 "ikabytes" of memory, for instance, that can be used to read titles from Kodansha's back catalog.
Japanese aren't really into April Fools' Day. And with it being cherry blossom season when most are out drinking under the petals, it's a nice surprise to see that some companies have taken the time to honor this foreign custom.
Some of the jokes are downright groan-worthy, like mobile carrier Au's zzzPhoneBed, essentially a bed-sized handset for phone addicts. You can sleep on it, jog on it (it scrolls, natch), and of course admire your anime girlfriend on it.
Google Japan, however, had a decent one that pokes fun at how tricky it can be to input Japanese characters in computers and mobile devices using QWERTY keyboards or dial pads. Japanese typically spell out words with letters and then select the right characters to write them in text.
The search engine's fatuous Patapata input method builds on previous ridiculous ways of entering thousands of characters, such as using drumsticks or Morse code.
The latest version features a rapidly turning flap display of letters, numbers, and that users select by releasing a button.
That's ridiculously unwieldy, but the wearable version of the fake device is even better. It's a sort of analog Google Glass with flipping letters that you select with a handheld button. I could see this in a very terse spoof of Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues."
Check out more silly April Fools' Day jokes from Japan at SD Japan.