WWJ has been focusing on mobile Java for the past few weeks — and with good reason. The pundits claim the interactivity and secure mobile execution environment provided by Java could be vital for making 3G data services pay off sooner rather than later. We visited then-pre-IPO software developer Net Village, creator of the “Remote Mail” Java-based mail appli. A couple of key facts emerged: Java boosts packet revenue for the carriers, the cost and complexity of deploying sophisticated Java applis may be beyond what the carriers themselves can do (economically), and Remote Mail is one cool app — 330,000 happy users can’t all be wrong! (See a live demo.) Oh — and NV’s IPO generated a modest 4.094 billion yen.
Comments from Wireless Watch Japan Editor-in-Chief Daniel Scuka:
Traditional cHTML-based Web and mail content just can’t take full advantage of the new handset features we’re now seeing, including advanced infrared-based P2P, 3D graphics, and GPS. As carriers in Japan are wallowing in a veritable Java data revenue windfall (NTT DoCoMo saw data revenues jump 102.5 percent in the first full year of their Java deployment), so there’s obviously a lot of money to be made with Java.
We figured the best way to check out the money-data-Java connection was to stop by Net Village, a then-pre-IPO Tokyo-based software developer and provider of the “Remote Mail” Java appli on NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode. Remote Mail allows subscribers to access any email account — corporate or ISP-based — and avoid the carrier’s normal mail limitations (i.e. i-mode: no attachments, 2,000-character limit). Remote Mail also provides print-to-fax and other features, making it one of the simple, robust services that seem to do so well on mobile in Japan.
Remote Mail is also an excellent example of a “machi-uke” — or “desktop” appli — in which 504i-series handset owners can select a single i-Appli to be the default full-time background application (J-Phone and KDDI offer the same sort of functionality on their latest handsets).
Together with location-based applis, mail and other communications applis (chat, etc.) are probably the natural best candidates for desktop applications; every time you flip open your phone, the latest mail can be sitting there smiling up at you.
In the future, we suspect this will lead to mobile desktop wars, reminiscent of the PC browser war between Netscape and Microsoft. Together with location-based applis, mail and other communications applis (chat, etc.) are probably the natural best candidates for desktop applications; every time you flip open your phone, the latest mail can be sitting there smiling up at you. What could be more compelling? As a result, the Java provider that gets mounted onto the most mobile desktops soonest with the best features is likely to win a respectable share of Japan’s 24 million Java-subscriber market.
In today’s programme, Net Village CEO Shoichi Iida says that Java desktop applications offering games and other fun diversions will be combined with mail to provide always-on connectivity, “without the bother of checking mail every 15 minutes — a Java appli will do it for you.”
PS. Net Village’s Sep. 19 IPO was a modest success. The stock opened at 74,000 yen, but by Sep. 20 was down to 70,000 yen. Total initial capital raised was 4.094 billion yen. Not bad for a 5-year-old bunch of Java coders!