Japan's pagers go obsolete

One of the most used technological gadgets by business executives has finally breathed its last


Tech Desk October 02, 2019
PHOTO: AFP

Thirty years ago, pagers were considered Apple Watches they were small in size and could either receive simple "beeps" or, later, text messages.

However, one of the most used technological gadgets by business executives has finally turned obsolete. Japan’s last pager company Tokyo Telemessage, who at their peak had nearly 1.2 million subscribers, closed its service on Tuesday with fewer than 1,500 users remaining mostly from the healthcare sector.

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To pay respects to pager companies such as pokeberu, or pocket bell, Tokyo funeral home set up a tent near a railway station along with a message "1141064", Japanese pager code for "we love you" so people could lay flowers.

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Invented in the 1950s and 1960s, each pager had an allotted number and in order to send a message, the sender would call a switchboard and leave a short message which would be converted into a text message by either a person or the machine.

In 2015, BBC reported that old technology such as faxes and tape cassettes were commonly used in Japan which is why despite being the birthplace of tech giants such as Nintendo, Panasonic, and Sony, people have found moving on from old technology habits difficult.

This article was originally published on BBC

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