On Friday, the MIJ team wrapped up the October mission to Tokyo and headed home to the Heartland for happy hour and some relaxed networking; everyone was pooped but delighted with the program (so said the team, not me the organiser!).
After a full day Wednesday at CEATEC to view fuel-cell mobile batteries, digital-TV handsets and a super new satellite pocket rocket from DoCoMo, we spent Thursday and Friday back on the MIJ agenda, meeting with, respectively, an LBS application developer, a major content aggregator, an alternative mobile payment provider (to find out what to do when your content is just too pricey for the official menus), a mobile marketing manager and a 3G carrier, among others. Thursday evening was another highlight as we met with Andrew Shuttleworth, one of Tokyo’s most knowledgeable and opinionated mobile application usability gurus, and a trio of young, female, non-tech Japanese college students who utterly tore apart preconceived notions of why Japanese use mobile like they do. (What? You mean you don’t like to pay for content??)
I think Big D’s FOMA digi-tv keitai, by the way, will rock. Due for release in the near future, the Mitsubishi “Music Porter X” handset has 1GB of memory and will stream Mobile Broadcast Corp.’s “Mobaho” digital audio channels, finally giving the come-from-behind 3G carrier a music service that can conceivably compete with KDDI/au’s “Chaku Uta Full” full-track downloads.
With a couple of cold ones and — for some — a smooth “awamori” cocktail, yet another MIJ is over. The report, the lessons learned and the summary of sessions will be on distribution to participants as soon as your E-in-C gets over jet lag. Want to know more? Mark off April 2006 in your calendar and check the MIJ site for the outline spring agenda (should be up within a week or so). Thanks to all the intrepid and now even more mobile-savvy pros from Germany, Austria, the US and Japan who enthusiastically took part in MIJ. Kampai!
– WWJ Editors