Company Name: LivingImage Ltd.
How the OHA site classifies them: Software Company
What the OHA site says about them: A unique company that consists of renowned engineering, marketing and creative experts in the audio visual arena.
What they do: Have a cruise by their website and you’re greeted by a flash intro proclaiming â€œLivingImage Ltd. will participate in Open Handset Allianceâ€. It’s mysterious, suspenseful, and the lack of the definite article gives it the flavour of the Far east. Follow the link for more information and the mystery deepens:
LivingImage strives to provide technology which will provide visual literacy to everyone with the concept of playing images or image playing. By participating in this new initiative, we believe that many people could actively get in touch with images and make their lives more fruitful.
Kinda cool, kinda Zen, kinda Engrish. And, kinda unintelligible. â€œImage-playingâ€? What the hell are these people talking about?
The â€œAbout LivingImageâ€ section is equally enjoyable and cryptic:
Incorporated in 2007, LivingImage Ltd. consists of professionals working in creative fields, engineering, and marketing. To integrate these three seemingly separate entities, we became a team since 2003 and started to work together. By proposing our editless technology, we create a world where everyone could experience professional visual literacy.
Editless technology? What is editless technology? The OHA press release mentions â€œeditless technology which allows you to play images. By packaging professional editing technology, the general public can enjoy their images as if produced by professionalsâ€. I just don’t get it. I think the whole damned thing is some kind of Koan.
The about us page gives three brief bios: Yu Maruno, Creative Director, who among other things has a history as a VJ; Chitose Obata, Marketing Producer, a radio host and disc jockey who went on to study marketing and has worked with, among others, Nike; and Takeo Yatabe, a sound producer and marketing dude who â€œhosts a TV show based on visuals and music for the futureâ€ and has also worked with Nike. Wow. I mean, umm, wow. And they’re a software company?
What they bring to OHA and Android: I have no frigging clue, but this is actually kind of interesting.
Take Takeo Yatabe, for example. Check out this YouTube video (LINK FIXED) of an audiovisual intallation he did for fellow OHA-ers KDDI. There’s an Akihabara-chic, art-in-electronics vibe there that’s pretty stimulating. Or witness this video of his work with Drum ‘n Bass outfit ES9 (I assume it’s the same guy). I’m thinking this dude has more cool in him than the executives of all the rest of the OHA members combined.
Or this fella Yu Maruno, who, as a VJ, goes by the handle Glamoove, and is one of the best in the world. Now, in this case, when I say VJ I don’t mean some coiffed poseur on MTV slinging bad Boyz II Men videos. These VJs create live video performances to go along with DJs at a club, employing video mixers and other high-tech goodies to blend, mix, and superimpose images in real time. I was unable to find any video of what he does live, but check out this video of the tune Heavenly Star by Genki Rockets which Glamoove put together (I could do without the song, but the video’s pretty trippy in a rainbows-and-happy-joy-joy-Care Bears-and-unicorns kinda way.)
And, here’s the really interesting part: a couple of years back Yu Maruno was involved with semiconductor manufacturers NuCORE Technology in developing eVJ software for cellphones, designed to allow production of ultimedia slideshows right on the handset without needing an external PC. NuCORE CTO Ichiro Watanabe is quoted in this article as saying â€œMaruno san’s artistic elegance enables an MTV-like production to be easily created with the camera using your own personal pictures.â€
So, what we have here is a partnership of cooler-than-you Japanese multimedia and marketing folks–one of whom has worked previously in developing multimedia production software for handsets and another who has created audiovisual installations for wireless provider KDDI–listed on the OHA site as a software company, who go off on their website about â€œeditless technologyâ€, â€œvisual literacyâ€, and â€œimage-playingâ€. What does it all mean? I have no clue. But it’s all somehow very tantalizing. I have a feeling that whatever these folks come up with is gonna at least be interesting, and perhaps even mind-blowing.
It may even make my life more fruitful.