Poken: the perfect gift for anti-social gits


A new gadget that is generating quite a bit of buzz around the Japanese English-language blogs is the Poken, with various events having giveaways of the wee beasties, with now JapanSoc also getting in on the act.

What is a Poken? Perhaps this video explains:

It’s basically a portable cache of your social network accounts (actually, pointers to an online cache) so when two pokens meet, they exchange identifiers so back at home you can quickly find out where you can meet all your real-life contacts. Quicker and more accurate than scribbling a phone number or email address on a bit of paper, and for anti-social gits such as myself it saves the business of asking, just a quick high-four and Bob’s your uncle.

The Poken shop shows a few designs, but printing your own would be a fabulous extra feature…

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  1. April 16, 2009 @ 00:40

    anti-social? -_-

    I want one, I will enter the Japansoc contest. Hope I win ^^

  2. April 16, 2009 @ 00:52

    On the off-chance that you have any readers from the Chubu area here, plans for a Poken meet-up in Nagoya are on the drawing board, so please contact me directly or keep an eye on JapanSoc.org for updates. Ken, I’ll consider this your entry and hope you win! It might encourage you to make a trip up my way for some Poken frottage! 😛

  3. tudza said,
    April 16, 2009 @ 06:32

    I take the title to mean a Poken is a way for someone who is not social to become more social since they will now have a more convenient way to gather contact information.

    Couple comments:

    1) Personal calling cards

    2) Do they have cell phone/pda applications that talk the same protocol?

    3) Is it a standard protocol, like VSF or something?

  4. Ken Y-N said,
    April 16, 2009 @ 23:53

    Nick, I’m certainly not interesting in winning if you will be pre-frotting the Poken!

    tudza, I don’t know the details of how they work, but if they are RFID-based it would be very, very nice if there was mobile phone interface, especially for Japan where a lot of people use their mobiles as their primary internet device. However, then you could argue “why bother with the Poken in the first place?” I don’t know how open their system is, but with personal calling cards if you could stick your Poken ID/home URL in a QR code… However, I don’t know the Poken business model – is the main business hardware or account activity?

  5. April 21, 2009 @ 22:58

    We’re working hard to put together a Poken Event soon here in Nagoya.

    Quick question: Do YOU Poken yet Ken?


    • Ken Y-N said,
      April 21, 2009 @ 23:48

      If I win one from Nick’s competition I’ll have one…

  6. Jon Allen said,
    April 26, 2009 @ 12:35

    regarding the Poken details : I doubt it’s any kind of standard yet.
    It’s infrared link sitting on what is basically a very small USB device. You plug the USB link into your computer ( works with MAC and PC . I don’t know about limux)
    and connect to their website.
    You control what is shown to contacts on your electronic calling card via the website. You can personalise your e-busines card up to a certain degree.
    You can add a number of links , your photo and a background.

  7. Jon Allen said,
    April 28, 2009 @ 22:00

    correction. It’s not an infra-red link, but a proprietary low freq RF link. They are going to provide an API very soon. Yes it does work on Linux.
    Their business model is “viral marketing”. They get their customers to sell it to their friends.
    It seems to be working, I bought a pack of 12 and have already sold 5 with 3 more reserved.

    The technology to exchange details already exists between phones, but who do you ever see do it? It’s always too difficult and requires setup and compatability.
    The iPhone has how many different apps to be able to exchange e-details, but they have not taken off so far.
    With poken you just touch them together, no technology knowledge required.

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