Sony Ericsson today kick-started its entry into the mobile music market with the announcement of the W800 [ .jpg image ], the first Walkman-branded mobile phone. It will now be possible to listen to music, handle phone calls and take pictures and video -- all with one device and with, according to company claims, no compromise in quality. The Sony Ericsson W800 is the first device that combines a mobile phone, a high-quality digital music player (with up to 30 hours' battery life), and a 2-megapixel camera.
WWJ's director of digital media Lawrence Cosh-Ishii was on the platform at JR Ebisu station on Tokyo's Yamanote circle line earlier today and spotted a new ad for Vodafone's V603T (from Toshiba). The Toshiba model and its partner, the V603SH (Sharp), released in February, both feature much-improved analog TV and FM radio functionality and the Sharp model has a built in 3D motion sensor. The ad campaign and the new cellys highlight Vodafone's continued development of cutting-edge 2G models.
It may look as though WWJ has been devoting too much editorial space to FeliCa coverage lately, but the fact is: FeliCa continues to be hot news. On Thursday last week, No. 3 carrier Vodafone announced they, too, had signed up to deploy Sony's contactless payment technology on Big Red cellys, likely by fall this year. But I wonder if all Japanese consumers will be equally happy to store their hard-earned cash on a losable, spamable, stealable cell phone?
Vodafone K.K. has announced a new function will be introduced starting 30 March that blocks so-called "spoof mails", mails sent via a PC with addresses posing as mobile handset mail addresses. With the new anti-spam measure, Vodafone K.K. aims to make its Vodafone live! mobile Internet service more dependable for customers. The spoof mail blocking function makes it possible to refuse mails sent via a PC that pose as mail addresses of Vodafone K.K., other mobile operator, or PHSNote 1 handsets. By accessing the Custom Mail Set-up page from either Vodafone live! or the Vodafone K.K. website (www.vodafone.jp), customers can select from the "accept (default setting)" or "refuse" settings to filter spoof mails.
Toshiba Corporation, the world leader in fuel-cell technology for handheld electronic devices, today announced that Guinness World Records has officially certified its highly compact direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) as the world's smallest DMFC. The fuel cell will feature in the 2006 edition of Guinness World Records, the perennially popular compendium of record-breaking feats and achievements. Designed for integration into devices as small as digital music players, Toshiba's DMFC is as long and wide as a thumb, only 22 x 56 x 4.5mm ( maximum of 9.1mm with fuel tank ). This size advantage offers greater design freedom to developers of handheld electronic devices, without any compromises in performance. Although small enough for integration into a wireless headset for mobile phones, the prototype is efficient enough to power an MP3 music player for as long as 20 hours on a single 2cc charge of highly concentrated methanol.
DoCoMo announced today that they will stop accepting new applications for PHS (Personal Handyphone System) mobile phone services as of April 30, 2005. As a result of the decision, DoCoMo will post an approximately 61 billion-yen impairment loss on a consolidated basis and an approximately 21 billion-yen special loss on a non-consolidated basis. Accordingly, DoCoMo has amended its consolidated and non-consolidated financial results forecasts for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005 (April 1, 2004 – March 31, 2005), which were announced on October 29, 2004.
Telstra said today they will launch text messaging for fixed-line phones, a service that has always struck us here at a WWJ as uncommonly useless. The fundamental characteristic of mobile messaging is that it's mobile -- and the sender can reasonably assume that the receiver will have their phone with them or will at least check their mobile mail within a few minutes or at most hours. A celly is personal, always on and always in your pocket. The asynchronicity between the sender and the receiver is actually a benefit: many mobile mail users choose to send a text message when a voice call might be too disturbing. It's fine if the receiver reads it and responds within a few minutes or later that morning. (For the full article, access the WWJ Newsletter archives here.)
Telstra today launched Australia's first text message service for home telephones, giving more than 10 million households the chance to join the "texting" revolution. The launch of this text message service means home phone users with compatible services can now read and send text messages on their landlines using specially designed telephones in the same way they do with mobile phones.
Is it just us, or does anyone else think this is uncommonly useless? "We anticipate that having text messaging available on the home phone will trigger a new wave of text messaging popularity, particularly among mums, dads and grandparents." WWJ thinks Telstra's launch of i-mode was a much more positive move for consumers and shareholders alike.
Ten of Japan's telecom hardware and communication LSI makers recently announced plans to establish the ZigBee SIG Japan (ZigBee SIG-J) in the summer of 2005. ZigBee SIG-J will be a non-profit organization aimed at promoting the use of the ZigBee short-distance wireless standard. Given Japan's traditional strength in the design and manufacture of control systems, this could be a hint of big things to come.
The Broadband World Forum Asia, which is officially sponsored by NTT, will be presented May 30-June 2 at the Pacifico Yokohama convention center. The International Engineering Consortium (IEC). IEC announced that Japanese companies like NEC, Fujitsu, Oki Electric, Alaxala and many other multinational corporations, such as Motorola, Siemens and Alcatel will attend. NTT Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Norio Wada is official conference chairperson.
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