NTT DoCoMo has just announced that the number of subscribers to their 3G FOMA service surpassed the 30 million mark on November 4, 2006. According to the statement, DoCoMo plans to increase the number of FOMA base stations by 1.5 times year on year by the end of the fiscal year ending March 2007 and aims to expand the coverage area for HSDPA 3.5G, which provides significantly faster speed than the current W-CDMA based data transmission, while developing more new compatible handset models.
The KDDI Designing Studio in Harajuku has 4 new concept handsets, including the next version of their popular InfoBar series, on display in their main-floor exhibit space. The so-called InfoBar 2 - although it's the third version we've seen? - comes in 5 colors and has a cool speaker system built into the re-charger cradle. The companies AU Design Project continues to set the pace for future model development, if you're in Tokyo the exhibition runs through 16 November.
Derek Kurton, formally in charge of strategizing and building Disney's wireless efforts, has posted an interesting article about the way carriers deal with mobile content in the US: It's too bad the US hasn't seen the adoption of the democratic Asian model, where carriers put up just about all content available, and let the customers decide which is bad, which is good, and which belongs at the top of the decks. This model has worked wonders in Japan and Korea, and would work even better when joined by new emerging solutions in custom UIs, search, segmentation and discovery.
Excite Japan has signed a deal with Media Lead to distribute mobile content throughout the Asia Pacific region, "The initial plan is for Media Lead to supply mobile games and content for distribution by Excite Japan throughout Asia, and for Excite Japan to supply Japanese originated content to Media Lead distribution to the North and South American, and European markets". In North America the content will be distributed by LA-based Smart SMS corporation.
SHIFT holds several competitions aiming to discover fresh creators and support their activities, such as "SHIFT CALENDAR COMPETITION" and "DOTMOV". This time, in collaboration with Crypton Future Media, they are requesting submissions for a mobile phone as "MOBILE ART COMPETITION". The works will be functioned as a mobile phone clock, and the submissions are available in 2 forms; analog and digital. The selected works will be broadly distributed within Japan, in a mobile content managed by Crypton Future Media, which can be accessed from an official site of AU and SoftBank.
Building on SoftBank's TV commercial branding campaign - the company retained Cameron Diaz for a series of spots to coincide with the official patchover from Vodafone in early October - we notice that Brad Pitt has signed-on for round two. Mr. Pitt does not have any lines, the 15sec. TVCM simply blasts 'Walk This Way' by Aerosmith as he is seen wandering through what appears to be a crowded street market in Mumbai.
Advanced Telecommunication Research Institute International (ATR), a private laboratory in Seikacho, Kyoto Prefecture, has recently developed Internet software for cell phones that translates Japanese sentences into English and vice versa. Major cell phone firms plan to introduce the software as part of their new services by the end of the year. Software for Chinese translations will be available next spring.
Kyocera has announced a new handset for Virgin Mobile USA with two firsts for the carrier. The new Cyclops, as the handset is to be known, features Virgin Mobile's TXT Tones and Virgin Audio Messaging, as well as other mid-range features and a sleek design. The Kyocera Cyclops also features a built in 1.3 megapixel camera, 65k color TFT LCD display, and 14MB of on board memory. Additionally, phone features like a speakerphone and voice-activated dialing are also included.
A collection of the biggest powers in consumer electronics, including LG, Matsushita (Panasonic), Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, and SiBEAM announced today that they are teaming together to ratify a standard for wireless high-def signal transmission. United as a technology group going under the name WirelessHD, the companies aim to have a finalized specification in spring 2007. The WirelessHD (WiHD) standard will allow for uncompressed, digital transmission of HD video and audio signals, essentially making it equivalent, in theory, to wireless HDMI.
Amp'd Mobile, announced it will deliver much of its mobile entertainment content to Japan via a new portal service designed exclusively for Tokyo-based KDDI/au. The service is expected to launch in March of 2007. Services will include Amp'd Music, Videos, Games, Sports, and Lifestyle content. The company has stated it will also open a satellite studio office in Japan that will contribute locally-produced materials to enhance their service.
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