Here Comes The Wallet Phone

Japan's DoCoMo gets ready to put your money where your mouth is

4 min read

NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest cellphone system operator, best known worldwide for pioneering the wireless Internet in 1999 with its hugely successful i-mode system, looks to have another big winner on its hands. Having recast the cellular handset as an electronic wallet--in effect a prepaid wireless cash card--it's getting ready to make it a full-fledged wireless credit card.

DoCoMo is working with major travel and banking organizations to extend the reach of its e-wallet service. Meanwhile, its two main Japanese rivals, KDDI Corp. and Vodafone K.K., are introducing competing products. (All three companies are based in Tokyo.)

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
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Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford
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Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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