They have full-fledged Web browsers, and they even have fingerprint readers and cameras with face-recognition software that locks up a phone if an unwanted stranger tries to use it. Interested in getting one? Good luck. You essentially can't buy one outside Japan.
Editor's comment: This article is a good review of why Japan keitai are the world's best, underscoring Editor-in-Chief Daniel Scuka's comments earlier this week in the WWJ newsletter (click here to subscribe for free).
NEC Electronics has announced that its uPD161833M and uPD161605M LCD driver ICs, based on its Mobile CMADSTM (Current Mode Advanced Digital Signaling) high-speed serial data transmission method, will be employed in select NEC mobile handsets from the fall of 2005. This marks the first successful implementation of cutting-edge display drivers with integrated receiver circuits, as well as the first use of NEC Electronics' Mobile CMADS technology, designed to enhance data transmission speed, performance, and mobile handset design.
Vodafone K.K. just announced that on 19 November 2005 it will commence nationwide sales of the V604SH [ .jpg image ] entertainment handset made by Sharp, which features a 3.2 megapixel mobile camera with 2x optical zoom and auto focus, along with a built-in analog TV tuner. The V604SH also features a host of entertainment functions such as a high-quality, wide-angle view, large-size 2.4-inch Mobile ASV LCD, 'Custom Screens' for menu screen and icon customisation with popular characters including ones from Disney, a Music Player that supports AAC and SD-Audio MP3 music files for listening enjoyment and a 'Motion Control Sensor' that responds to movements for new mobile gaming experiences.
ArrayComm today announced its Network MIMO software that implements all antenna processing aspects of the WiMAX profiles approved by the WiMAX Forum Mobile Task Group (MTG) for IEEE 802.16e. The solution includes unique support of MIMO, AAS, and combined MIMO/AAS modes on both client devices and base stations, providing operators with the best possible user data rates, cell range, and network capacity for mobile WiMAX. At the MTG meeting in Beijing last week, the WiMAX operator and manufacturer community finalized recommendations for the profiles for interoperable implementations of IEEE 802.16e. The profiles now proceed toward ratification by the WiMAX Forum Technical Working Group and Board.
NTT DoCoMo may buy cheaper handsets made in China by NEC Corp., its No. 2 supplier, to cut costs as revenue falls. The company is also offering handsets from overseas vendors such as Nokia Oyj and LG Electronics Inc. in the coming year, Chief Financial Officer Yoshiaki Ugaki said in an interview conducted on Nov. 15. Foreign-made phones can be as much as 10,000 yen ($84) cheaper than domestic handsets used on the company's high-speed network, he said. DoCoMo expects costs to sell new handsets to rise in the fiscal second half as more customers typically upgrade or buy new phones at the end of the business and academic year in March, Ugaki said.
Bill Morrow, who heads Vodafone's Japan operations, said on Wednesday the UK mobile operator was "feverishly in negotiations with quite a few" potential MVNOs. The world's largest mobile operator by revenues wants to sign up to 10 MVNOs within two years, with the first contract expected to be signed in the next financial year. Such a deal would make Vodafone the first mobile phone network wholesaler in Japan. NTT DoCoMo and KDDI, the country's largest mobile operators, have said they do not have enough capacity to lease their networks to MVNOs.
Back in 1999, when I was editing Computing Japan magazine, we ran an article entitled "Third Generation Mobile: Three Groups for 3G" looking at the three groups -- NTT DoCoMo, IDO-DDI (later, with KDD, KDDI) and IMT-2000 Planning Corp. (later J-Phone) -- lining up for a new license. The prediction was that "success for the 3G business depends on the digital content." Now, 7 years later, three new hopefuls are lining up in a far more mature market, and not only content but also terminals, churn, number portability and voice versus data will be significant factors.
On November 10, Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said
There's a new MVNO coming to U.S. shores called Voce, created by Faith Inc., a Japanese content provider that made its footprint in the American mobile market through its polyphonic ringtones. Voce says it will provide "first class" personalized wireless services, to become available this year, include unlimited calling, data downloads, "velvet glove" customer service, the latest technologies, and a new cell phone every four months, according to the company.
Capcom has revealed plans to establish a new Los Angeles-based Mobile and Interactive Division to expand presence in the U.S. mobile entertainment industry. Headed by Midori Yuasa, general manager and senior vice president, the new division plans to release more than 10 titles in North America from the extensive library of Capcom products. In the coming year, consumers will be able to play classic Capcom favorites such as 1942, Ghosts 'n Goblins, Mega Man and Resident Evil anywhere they like. Capcom began exploring the mobile world in 1999 in Japan, making them one of the first companies to start developing mobile strategies.
Vodafone Group Plc warned that its struggling Japanese unit would curb profit margin growth in 2007, casting a pall over strong half-year results and sending its shares plunging almost 10 percent. Further disappointment that Japanese profit margins fell by 6 percentage points in the half-year, coupled with a warning of another "significant reduction" in the year to March 2007 and a cautious group outlook for 2007, helped propel the shares lower. "I think there's no clear reason for Vodafone to remain in Japan," said Jim Wright, fund manager at the British Steel Pension Fund, a Vodafone shareholder.
>Mobikyo K.K. publishes Wireless Watch Japan, organizes MobileMonday Tokyo networking events and operates Mobile Intelligence study tours providing related custom research and advisory services. Mobikyo's founding directors are deeply connected with, respected by, and committed to, Japan's wireless and IT business community. Thousands of managers, planners, engineers and strategists depend on Mobikyo to learn about Japan's unique business models, technologies, contents, services, applications and hardware from the most innovative test-bed market for next-generation mobile industry. "Mobikyo" was chosen for the unique blending of Mobile and Tokyo. However, depending on the kanji character used for kyo, it could also mean association, capital, religion or today. With fantastic support from our clients, partners and affiliates in Japan and overseas, we have become the trusted source of independent market intelligence & business networking connections based in Tokyo.
MobileMonday Tokyo is a leading networking organization supporting Tokyo's mobile industry. We launched in September 2004, with over 70 events to-date, hosting an average 100-200 industry delegates. MobileMonday is an open platform for mobile industry visionaries, developers and industry insiders fostering cooperation and business development through live networking events to share ideas, best practices and trends from global markets. Chapters are active in over 100 cities worldwide and new locations continue to launch monthly. Founded in Helsinki, Finland, in 2000, MobileMonday is organized by a global team of 300+ volunteers and it has become the world's largest mobile community network. Details via MoMo Tokyo website
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