<p> </p> <p></p> <p>We Americans like to think of ourselves as trendsetters for the rest of the globe, but when it comes to cell phones, we're still playing catch-up with countries such as Japan and Korea.</p> <p>In general, Asians use their <a alt="((CONLINK|117|cell%20phones))" href="">cell phones</a> in more robust ways than the typical U.S. resident — as TVs, wallets, GPS devices, and music players. Japanese cell phones can double as a house key, a credit card, and an ID. Users can even use their cell phones to send their vital signs straight to their doctors.</p> <p>In recent years, U.S. companies have made baby steps toward incorporating more advanced cell phone features, particularly in the areas of mobile banking and video broadcast. Meantime, the Asian cell phone market continues to be a good predictor of features that could soon be included in American cell phones. For example, Japan had <a alt="((CONLINK|127|camera%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%93enabled))" href="">camera–enabled</a> cell phones two years before Americans ever went gaga for them.</p> <p>Curtis Schenck, a manager of corporate relations at NTT DoCoMo USA, gave TechNewsDaily the scoop on the hottest features in the Japanese market right now. Try not to be too jealous.</p> <p></p>

<strong>10. Personal Butler</strong>

<p></p> <p>Customers don't have to Google for information, since i-Concierge acts as their butlers or personal assistants and caters to their every need. Users can input their food preferences, neighborhoods they like, and entertainments that they enjoy. When new information is downloaded into the system, they get push notifications that are based on their preferences. For example, if they like Thai food and a new Thai restaurant that is opening nearby, their cell phones will notify them.</p> <p></p>

<strong>9. Investigative Visits</strong>

<p></p> <p>This takes the Verizon commercials to a whole new level. If a users' five-bar reception signal drops to three bars or if they have a dropped call, they can call customer service and a team will be sent out to investigate the problem.</p> <p><br></p>

<strong>8. Barcode Reader</strong>

<p><br></p> <p>Japanese phones can read QR marks, which are sophisticated barcodes for businesses. If an Asian cell phone user is walking down a Tokyo street and walks past a restaurant that isn't open, they can point their camera to the QR mark and their phone's browser will automatically be routed to the restaurant's Web site.</p> <p></p>

<strong>7. Free TV on the Phone</strong>

<p></p> <p>Subscribers can surf 13 free TV channels on their phones. DoCoMo has also launched their own channel called BTV to air programs that are filmed specifically for the mobile phone.</p> <p><br></p>

<strong>6. Phones as Payment Systems</strong>

<p><br></p> <p>Osaifu Keitai, also known as the mobile phone wallet, lets users load up credit card information onto their phones. If stores have a reader, users can swipe their phones over it to pay for their purchases. Cell phones can also be used to pay for subway and train tickets.</p> <p></p>

<strong>5. Send Money to Other Subscribers</strong>

<p></p> <p>Some Asian countries allow users to send money using their cell phones. Users simply input another person's phone number and the amount they owe them and like magic, the money is transferred.</p> <p></p>

<strong>4. Internal Wi-Fi Spot</strong>

<p></p> <p>Japanese cell phone users can download a movie onto their mobile phones and show it on their TVs. This is another way to get entertainment on demand. A femtocell base transceiver station (BTS) in the home hooks up mobile phones to the DoCoMo network through a <a alt="((CONLINK|105|broadband))" href="">broadband</a> line such as an optical fiber. The femtocell BTS lets a person with a cell phone download videos and music files. Through femtocell BTS, a person can set up a private wireless network for their home appliances, entertainment systems, and other devices.</p> <p></p>

<strong>3. Home Security Service </strong>

<p></p> <p>Japanese cell phone users can lock their doors and manage their home security systems remotely using their mobile devices. They can also adjust appliances and set environmental controls, so their lights and heat can be switched on before they get home.</p> <p></p>

<strong>2. Environmental Awareness </strong>

<p></p> <p>DoCoMo has deployed environmental sensors throughout Japan and people are now able to monitor air quality, temperature, and UV rays around them using their cell phones.</p> <p><br></p>

<strong>1. Reads Vital Signs</strong>

<p><br></p> <p>In the same way that we might plug headphones into our iPhones, Japanese cell phone users can plug in equipment such as a blood pressure monitor to their phones and send vital signs directly to their doctors. This helps save some people a trip to the doctor.</p> <p><br><br></p>

10 Cool Asian Cell Phone Features You Can't Have – Yet