The “FM Keitai,” the most successful FM radio cell phone on planet Earth, is rocking the airwaves in Tokyo. There are over 450,000 users and DJs and announcers are voicing special messages intended just for phone listeners: “Please press the ‘Star’ button to get more information on product X.” Audio-loving mobilers can also download a digital clip of the currently playing song, thanks to BREW. It’s a media marketing dream come true, and it’s only the beginning. Full program run-time: 3:58
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In the last program, we looked at the new multimedia cell phones — phones that integrate analog TV and FM radio receiver chips thus enabling mobile users to watch regular terrestrial TV broadcasts or listen to FM radio right on their cell phone. Today we’ll present a profile of the most successful radio cell phone service in the world, the “FM Keitai,” offered by cellular carrier KDDI in conjunction with Tokyo FM, a Tokyo station broadcasting on the 76-MHz channel, and handset maker Sanyo.
The FM Keitai was six years in planning, and was launched by KDDI in December 2003. The handset is a regular CDMA 1X third-generation phone that incorporates an FM receiver chip and a pre-installed BREW application to control listening. BREW stands for “binary runtime environment for wireless,” and serves as an application execution platform on phones compatible with Qualcomm’s CDMA network standard, which is used by Japanese carrier KDDI. The FM chip only adds about 5 yen to the cost of the phone.
– Daniel Scuka