It’s been long argued that Japan’s mobile Internet can be divided into two eras: pre- and post-Java. Despite the 100K (or lower) limit imposed on Java applications by all three operators and a low cost of just a couple of hundred yen per download, the mobile application environment has been crucial in boosting usage, packets and profits, particularly at NTT DoCoMo. Java has been cheap for the public – and a moneymaker for the carriers. But a richer Java experience, introduced by Vodafone Japan, is what a high-end segment of the Japanese crowd is looking for.
Vodafone Japan launched a new service allowing app sizes of up to 256K on Sharp’s J-SH53 handset back in May 2003, offering the bigger downloads at a premium price. Even though the service does not appeal to the mass market just yet, Vodafone is satisfied with the early-adopter acceptance, which is fast creating an entirely new segment of the Java market: gold-plated premium downloads for aficionados willing to pay higher content fees and substantially higher packet costs. But will this niche segment be enough to keep the service alive? Continue >>