Video-conferencing handsets are taking off, but what about those who shirk the spotlight? Engineers think animated 3-D avatars [.jpg image] may be the answer. "Think of when you're having a bad hair day," quips Mike Danielsen of Motorola Labs when asked why he has spent two years developing 3-D animated avatars that can mime a live user's speech and actions on mobile-phone handsets. Motorola already has phone avatars available in China and Japan, but "they're highly cartoony," says Danielson. International competitors include Japan's Oki Electric Industry, which has developed the FaceCommunicator application for PCs and mobile phones to generate both two- and three-dimensional animated avatars using motion- and voice-tracking as well as key commands.
WWJ's Lawrence Cosh-Ishii, our director of digital media and resident video and mobile guru, was in Tokyo this afternoon wrapping up a long day and heading for a few frosty Kirin lagers when he spotted this headline at a news kiosk. Normally, when we latch onto breaking Japan mobile news, we go into hypernewsroom mode, working the phones, Googling the keywords and pinging folks in the know to get as full and in-depth a report as we can -- and get the gen onto the site pronto for our loyal WWJ community.
Today, in view of the fact that Tokyo's Friday Happy Hour is already in progress, we decided to employ a little mobile Internet magic ourselves and get the info to you as directly as we can: Lars grabbed a snap with his trusty Sharp 3G camera keitai and fired it into the WWJ newsroom for more-or-less instant posting.
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Launching the i-mode platform last September was supposed to be Israeli wireless operator Cellcom's most important innovation in years, and one of its most significant ever. It was designed to distinguish Cellcom from the other wireless operators and substantially boost the company's content revenue. Timing is everything in life, and that's true for i-mode, too. Its fate was sealed the moment that Cellcom's new owners replaced the company's management. The new team, headed by CEO Amos Shapira, doesn't believe that i-mode should be Cellcom's main content platform. (We'll take this article with a pinch of wasabi for now -- Eds.)
The nominees have been announced for this year's 3GSM awards with the winners to take center stage during a VIP gala dinner in Barcelona's fabulous National Palace on 14 February 2006. According to the organizers, Mobile communications as a new entertainment and information medium has become the 'fourth screen,' after television, cinema and the PC, capable of delivering a vast array of media rich content to users throughout the world. This year there are new categories for mobile gaming, sports, music, film and video content.
Onyx Software Corporation, a worldwide leader in customer management solutions for the enterprise, today announced Onyx Employee Portal Wireless (OEP Wireless) for Japan. Part of an integrated suite of mobile enterprise CRM solutions, OEP Wireless for Japan is immediately available for Foma 3G and mova 2G Series iMode devices. Onyx's introduction of OEP Wireless for Japan offers 45 million iMode users access to Onyx's versatile CRM platform for delivering enhanced customer service and satisfaction. OEP Wireless for Japan increases business productivity by keeping mobile professionals connected and informed, while delivering advanced capabilities for quickly and easily managing customer and partner account, sales, service and support activities.
Nortel and QUALCOMM have successfully completed HSDPA calls in the 900-MHz band, a spectrum capable of delivering wireless broadband such as mobile TV, video-on-demand, video telephony and DSL-like services to rural areas. W-CDMA in the 900-MHz band is a cost-effective way to deliver nationwide high-speed wireless coverage. It achieves a 60-percent reduction in cell sites required to serve rural areas and delivers improved quality of service in urban areas by enhancing in-building penetration by 25 percent, according to the technology's proponents.
Last week was a rare clean sweep in Japan's tooth-and-nail handset race as each of the Big Three carriers in turn announced multiple new 3G models at splashy press events. Across the field, we saw an onboard 4-GB hard drive and a digiTV phone from KDDI, the 702i 'designer' models from DoCoMo and Japan's first Samsung phone and new 3G data services from Vodafone.
It's no simple coincidence that this week the carriers are announcing their third-quarter financial results: it's super vital to have a flashy new set of han
Extract: Vodafone K.K.'s 3G devices increased by 564,600 in the quarter, bringing the number of 3G subscribers to 2,318,200, whilst market share of 3G net additions remained fairly constant throughout the quarter at just over 10%. Blended ARPU for the quarter was down 3.7% year on year, an improvement from the 5.4% fall recorded in the quarter to September. The continued fall in ARPU reflects the loss of higher value customers in the previous year and competitive pressures on pricing. Blended ARPU for the quarter was down 3.7% year on year, an improvement from the 5.4% fall recorded in the quarter to September. The continued fall in ARPU reflects the loss of higher value customers in the previous year and competitive pressures on pricing. The improved trend is due in part to the positive impact from the new range of flat-rate plans, which are generating additional usage. Service revenue fell 4.5% year on year due to the decline in ARPU. Voice revenues fell 6.2%, with non-voice
KDDI have released their financial results for the third quarter (3Q) of the current fiscal year ending March 2006. The company's operating revenues from the mobile business came in at 2,486 bn yen, up sharply from the year earlier figure of 2,324 bn yen. Nonetheless, consolidated earnings for KDDI overall (mobile, fixed-line and other business) before interest, taxes and deductions were down year-on-year at 649 bn yen from 664 bn yen.
NTT DoCoMo and High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) announced today they have agreed to market HTC 3G FOMA handsets with Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 operating systems. DoCoMo and HTC aim to launch commercial sales sometime in the second half of 2006. The phones will be targeted at corporate users and offer enterprise services such as synchronization with MS Windows Server and MS Exchange Server. The phones will also provide dual-mode W-CDMA and GSM/GPRS connectivity, Wireless LAN and a QWERTY keyboard. (Looks like another nice boost for Microsoft in the Japan mobile space -- Eds.)
>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
Mobile Intelligence offers related custom research and consulting designed specifically for industry executives working in sales, marketing, product development, strategy, venture capital and the media. From private workshops and conference presentations to trend spotting innovation and detailed analysis, our services are based on the direct experience and lessons learned in the Japanese mobile market. We also run a unique in-Japan guided tour service providing market introductions, personal connections and actionable lessons for clients overseas. Delegates take part in seminar and attend inside sessions, at individual companies, in technology showrooms, and -- most importantly -- on the fabled streets of Tokyo. Alumni return home with a competitive edge, integrated awareness and personal contacts moving them to the forefront of new business development. Full details via Mobile Intelligence website