When NTT DoCoMo unveiled its latest third-generation mobile phones on Nov. 17, gadget lovers were not disappointed. The new handsets, manufactured by five leading Japanese electronics makers, can download videos, play games, pay for groceries at convenience stores, and work as remote controls for TVs and other devices. Oh — they also make and receive phone calls. “This is the epitome of a 3G phone,” says Takeshi Natsuno, DoCoMo’s managing director for multimedia services. Not to be upstaged, Japan’s other carriers are putting the finishing touches on their own new phones, featuring everything from music downloads to international video-calling on super-sharp color displays.
It makes sense. Take the world’s most-advanced cellular market — Japan — and ask the world’s top electronics houses — many of them Japanese — to provide the handsets, and you’re sure to come up with the niftiest bunch of mobiles the planet has ever seen. But for all the technological wizardry that’s about to hit stores, the companies building the phones are hardly prospering. A decade ago, the average profit margin for Japanese handset makers approached 10% as consumers snapped up millions of second-generation phones. Today, average margins have slipped to just 4%, according to Deutsche Bank (DB ). Read the full article Here.