Here is the first of what we at WWJ think will be a rash of easy-to-use cell phone shopping applications using the FeliCa contactless IC chip solution. A few weeks ago we talked to Sony’s Shusaku Muruko, who told us that FeliCa Networks seeks to build a platform for a whole series of apps, and now here is NEC with its LightHolder i-appli technology to smooth the path into mobile online shopping, coupons and discounts, reservations and we hope, beer!
Full Program Run-time 11:30
As NEC’s Kino-san said, they have been testing LightHolder platform technology on the N504ic handsets and it looks like its only a few clicks away from being a winner. Getting FeliCa running smoothly and securely to lower any potential customer doubts and qualms has to be one of DoCoMo’s top priorities. As DoCoMo faces the rapid commoditization of the 3G market following the destruction of the packet price model, and in fact, a price war on who is going to have the lowest fixed fees, we wonder what sort of premium DoCoMo and KDDI will add for this type of customer service.
Of course, FeliCa is part of that “new paradigm” that Keichi Tachikawa has promised will take 3G and DoCoMo beyond being just a carrier and into new business models. Again, added proof that Japan is more than a few steps ahead of the rest of the wireless world. Indeed embedded IC chips that enable cashless transactions, could well be the next Japanese ‘camera-phone’ type phenomenon heading into the global mobile market.
Interesting to note that NEC is also thinking beyond consumer acceptance. With the FeliCa chip mandatory in all DoCoMo cell phones from this summer, NEC naturally assumes that people will use the function. We believe they will, but we would like to hear more news about security and overseas deployment plans.
— The Editors.