Cellular phones aren't just displaying books, movies, art, and music; they are also being used to create them. In the future, the cellphone will become an essential creative tool, just like cameras, camcorders, paint brushes, and musical instruments. For some people, it could become their most important tool.
In Japan, people don't just read electronic books on cellphones, they also write them on phones.
The so-called cellphone novel (keitai shousetsu) is typically uploaded chapter-by-chapter to Websites where it can later be downloaded to phones. It has become a big business. Some Japanese novels have been downloaded hundreds of thousands or millions of times. A few are published as paper books and become hugely successful. In 2007, five of the top ten bestselling novels in Japan were first composed on cellphones.
Deep Love, about a teenage prostitute, has been turned into a television show, a graphic comic (manga), and a movie.
These novels typically are composed of short sentences, slang, and emoticons, and they are written by young women for young women. Sex, love, drugs, fatal diseases, and personal experiences are hallmarks of many of these works, although some are in other genres, such as science fiction and fantasy. From what I've read about them, they are often melodramatic slop. But I'm not the target market.
Many people in the Japanese literary establishment see these keitai shousetsu as junk that is damaging literary standards. However, at least these novels are encouraging people who never wrote creatively to start writing; and they are sparking people who never read novels to read something with a semblance of a plot.
Moreover, established authors and publishing houses are entering the business. An 86-year-old Buddhist nun, who is an accomplished writer and translator, has written a cellphone novel that has been published as a paper book.
Although this sort of "literature" isn't generating buzz in Europe and the United States, you could try writing your own novel in 140-character chunks. Quillpill
offers a Twitter-type service for composing on any cellphone or an iPhone. The Textnovel
site allows anyone to upload novel segments via email or SMS and to read the stories on the site.
I could write a novel-length article about how cellphones already are being used to produce genuine art in still photography, short videos, and even full-length movies. Director Spike Lee teamed with Nokia to create a film based
on camera phone videos from consumers. Actress Isabella Rossellini created camera phone videos on the sex lives of insects.
By the way, cellphones with HD video will be available in a few years.
Phones also will be used to create artworks, especially with increasingly higher-resolution screens. One interesting new program is OilCanvas for the iPhone. You select a photo already in the iPhone and edit it with your finger's "brush strokes." Cellphone photo editing software has been available for years. However, I envision a new generation of programs to create art with a finger or stylus instead of a pencil, brush, canvas, or desktop computer.
I also envision a new generation of cellphone music composition and enhancement programs. The Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology has just introduced ZoozBeat, which enables music enhancements by shaking or tilting an iPhone as well as recording voices that are integrated into the music. ZoozBeat also is available for three Nokia N-series phones. Make sure to view the demo video.
Also make sure to view the video for MooCowMusic's Band software for composing music employing a variety of instrumental sounds and complex cords. Another music program, MusAic, is available for Java-based phones.
Musicians won't always carry their instruments. Painters won't always have brushes and canvas. Videographers won't always have HD camcorders. But they almost always will have cellphones -- which will become crucial tools for all types of artistic endeavors.
— Alan Reiter, President, Wireless Internet & Mobile Computing