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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

AsiaweekTimeAsia NowAsiaweek technology

MARCH 31, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 12

Cutting Edge


Asiaweek Pictures

Gadgets -- Pocket Protector

In these days of style-conscious computing, palmtop computers and mobile phones are as much fashion statements as communications devices. Ironic, then, that pocketing so many different gadgets ruins the line of your clothes so. Respite is on the way for image-concerned Hong Kongers. Motorola's A6188 cellphone, which also goes by the name Tai Chi, combines a cellphone, a PDA and the latest WAP technology for surfing the Net into one shiny silver carapace. Better still, it's monochrome touch-screen displays Chinese characters. But while the three-in-one is not much bigger than Motorola's old StarTAC, it isn't light on the pocket in every sense. In stores by May, the Tai Chi (take a deep breath) will retail for between $500 and $650.

 
    TECHNOLOGY

Games: Microsoft's X-factor
Computing: IBM's Deep Blue man is now into e-commerce
Cutting Edge: An e-book horror story

Asiaweek/CNN Tech Index: Tracks 20 hot Asian tech stocks

Technology Home

    MORE TECH
The Net: A Piece Of The Action
Nobody Loves Net Trading Like South Koreans

The Net: Giving It All Away
Free internet access is here, but here to stay?

Show Me the Stock Options!
Intoxicated by dot-com fever, sane folk are taking pay cuts and defecting to start-ups with trendy names. How long will the gold rush continue?

Japan: Land of the Rising Internet Ad Spend
Advertising on the Web more than doubled in Japan last year, even though growth in all other areas was spotty at best

Gripe, Gripe, Gripe
Asia's silent consumers get a chance to vent

New Medium, New Rules
China takes a hard line on Internet discourse

Money to Burn
Hong Kong and Japan converge in a Net investment bloc

Silent Phones
Two telecom rivals duke it out in Manila

Marriage of Convenience
Content is the dowry in a Hong Kong TV deal

Flash -- A Frightening Read

I t was enough to send a shiver up any publisher's spine. Horror author Stephen King released his latest work, Riding the Bullet, exclusively online. But it's not the plot causing the chills. Half a million King fans downloaded the 68-page novella in two days (for $2.50 or for free in a special promotion) to read on their PC, Palm or a special device like the Softbook, right. The phenomenal response is a sign that e-books may be ready for prime time. And there's the rub. Digital distribution promises a big upside for publishers, who can reach a wider audience with more titles while slashing costs. But the $70-billion industry is worried (surprise) about piracy and hesitant about unleashing the forces of radical change. For some in a conservative industry, new technology is the biggest horror of all.

From The Web -- Calling All Computers

Making cheap phone calls over the Internet sounds like a great idea, but the confusing variety of software programs available is enough to make most of us hang up our modem connection and get on the blower instead. Things just got easier. If you listen to radio stations or other broadcasts on the Web, chances are you tune in using a piece of software called RealPlayer. The latest version, RealPlayer 7, now comes bundled with Net2Phone, a program that enables you to place calls to any other Net2Phone-equipped PC in the world for free, and to any telephone for a rock-bottom fee. Internet telephony is not exactly a breeze. Tariff lists are U.S.-centric and problems with voice quality persist. But the sheer number of RealPlayer users - 95 million and counting - who could soon be adding Net2Phone to their desktop may be just the boost needed to popularize chatting on the Web.

E-Commerce -- Prescription Filled

Twenty-two people have been arrested in Thailand after the authorities closed down three Internet pharmacies for illegally exporting prescription drugs. The online drugstores shipped the drugs, including the tranquilizer Valium and anti-impotence pill Viagra, to customers in the U.S., where six buyers are also facing charges.

e-mail: stuart_whitmore@asiaweek.com



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