“Take a look at this list,” says Arjen van Blokland, pointing to the top ten i-mode site listing at imode.nl. “Not one of them is Japanese,” states Arjen in a voice that betrays evident relief that 104.com didn’t get involved in European i-mode. He asks, Where’s Cybird?, illustrating that fact that the Japanese content producers and aggregators — like Cybird, Index, MTI, and others — have seen signal unsuccess at penetrating the baby i-modes overseas. He may have a good point — given that it should have been the Japanese that taught the rest of the i-mode world how to do content right.
This week, some odds and ends culled from my (rather tattered) notebook.
Mobile JavaJava developers here have found significant differences in how each carrier implements the Java download process. Jay Lukin, senior software engineer at helloNetwork (WWJ partner for content encoding) says that the differences become apparent when you’re trying to develop streaming content using Java.
With J-Phone (2G 28.8-Kbps packet-switched PDC network), “you can achieve streaming using some tricks,” says Jay, but it’s still tough. With DoCoMo (also with a 2G 28.8-Kbps packet-switched PDC network), “the network cuts you off after 10 KB of data,” and there appears to be no way around that limit. Looks like we really will have to wait for 3G for widespread streaming content (or just buy a cheap, 2G PHS handset — see second news item below). Nonetheless, downloading Java applications — primarily games — continues to be one of the major success stories on wireless in Japan.
More Mobile JavaOn the other hand, some think that Java isn’t the way to go — and, unsurprisingly, this point of view comes from outside Japan. Jeff Russell, CEO of Burlingame, CA-based WorldLink Technology, producers of anime wireless site “HipHopLandUSA” (mentioned in WWJ July 17; see link below) says, “Currently, Java does not figure into our service at all.” He explains that HipHopLandUSA can achieve all the functionality it needs without Java. “We are targeting the broadest range of customers so we are targeting all phones, even those with the lowest hardware specs (i.e. those phones without Java and only 5K page limits). Java doesn’t offer any additional functionality and only gives us increased overhead,” he says.
But it would be a mistake to look askance at Jeff; he’s only reacting to the structural realities of the US market, and that includes a dearth of Java deployment on mobile. But in the US, Sun is working closely with Sprint, so we may see some good Java stuff this year. CEO Russell admits that, when US phones do offer good quality sound in sync with animation, “we would probably use Java to implement it.”
HipHopLandUSA is a weekly bilingual serial anime to be delivered to wireless phones in Japan. Access the beta version (via any Web browser) here. See more in the July 17 WWJ newsmagazine here.
Europe’s i-mode a Bust for Japanese Content Plays?” Take a look at this list,” says Arjen van Blokland, VP for international business at mobile content and content management solution developer 104.com, pointing to the top ten i-mode site listing at imode.nl (see link below). He gestured to the screen that showed the top ten Dutch (KPN) i-mode sites for the period 15-22 August. The list includes:
- Meteo Consult
- 538 Ringtunes
- Tutch for Tones
- TMF Ringtones
- VI Planet Voetbal
- The BOX Music
- Passie Erotiek
“Not one of them is Japanese,” states Arjen in a voice that betrays evident relief that 104.com didn’t get involved in European i-mode. He asks, Where’s Cybird?, illustrating that fact that the Japanese content producers and aggregators — like Cybird, Index, MTI, and others — have seen signal unsuccess at penetrating the baby i-modes overseas.
He may have a good point — given that it should have been the Japanese that taught the rest of the i-mode world how to do content right. But as Arjen points out, this lack of success (note that some players — like Cybird — are distributing content overseas, they’re just not in the top rankings — at least in Holland) speaks more of the simplicity of i-mode than of any failing on the part of Japanese content houses. He says i-mode is a simple system, so anyone anywhere can figure it out. Hmmmm…. Sort of a complement to DoCoMo, we think.
– Daniel Scuka