Is Twitter about to be replaced by Clique?

Bill Liles lilesw at
Mon Jul 20 04:17:54 CDT 2009

Is Twitter about to be replaced by Clique?
20 May 2009
Japanese announcement of Clique

Japanese announcement of Clique

Twittering text-aholics will soon have a new plaything: Toshiba has
teamed up with American microprocessor giant Intel to produce Clique,
a handheld, thumb-operated device that uses only three keys.

The name ‘Clique’ announces its aspirations as a social-networking
tool. The Japanese trade name, ‘Kurikku,’ is itself a Japanese form of
the English, ‘click.’

Introduced in Japan at the 2008 Microprocessor Forum Japan (MPF Japan)
‘Clique’ is the size and shape of a lollipop or a disconnected,
miniature joystick.

Perhaps the most startling features of ‘Clique’ are its
uni-directional text stream and its reliance on an old-fashioned
technology: Morse code. ‘Clique’ users can only text out. Responses
are collected by the user’s designated electronic mail account.

Morse code is a sequence of electronic ‘dots’ and ‘dashes’ that
represent letters that is still widely employed by the military.
Toshiba spokesperson Midori Suzuki explained that Morse is an easily
learned, international code, ideally suited to the single-digit
platform. She explained, “Morse code has been in use for more than 160
years — longer than any other electronic encoding system.”

Earlier attempts to create a Morse-based device were stymied by the
variable length of the Morse characters, which made it hard to adapt
to automated circuits. Toshiba’s solution is the three keys: one for
the ‘dot,’ one for the ‘dash,’ and a third that acts as a space-bar
between letters –- two ‘clicks’ between words.

Reception in Japan was typically fast and furious as early adapters
added ‘Clique’ to their armory of hand-held devices. Suzuki says,
“‘Clique’ offers a silent and discreet texting option that is suited
to today’s 24-hour-a-day lifestyle. With ‘Clique’ our customers can be
in constant communication, in the boardroom, in the theatre, and in
the classroom – without distracting or inconveniencing others.”

Not everyone has welcomed the new product. While Japan remains one of
the most receptive cultures for new technologies, in recent years
anti-technology groups, the ‘han-gijutsu,’ have also proliferated. The
most extreme may be those known as ‘Tebukuro’ – ‘glove,’ in English –
so-named for the four-fingered glove its adherents wear. Like the
students who spontaneously create waves of suicides in Japan, Tebukuro
have no leader or affiliation but signal their collective dismay with
technological progress by amputating their thumbs.

In Japan, novels written on cell phones, ‘keitai shosetsu,’ have
already established their own best-seller lists. Magic iLand, a site
where users create personalized homepages from their cell phones,
launched a free novel library in 2007 and created the first awards for
cell-phone written novels. Last year, with the cooperation of NTT
DoCoMo, D2 Communications and video-rental giant Tsutaya, Magic iLand
created a new award specifically for novels written on ‘Clique.’

Asked whether she has read any of the ‘Clique’ composed novels, Suzuki
smiled and said, “Most keitai shosetsu are for young girls and I am
not so young.’

More information about the Tacos mailing list