Ever since the first ringtone sites began appearing on NTT DoCoMo's i-mode menu back in 1999, most mobile music content providers in Japan have pushed to have their services appear on the 'main menu' of the wireless carriers. This 'closed garden' model has been widely criticized for putting too much power in the hands of the wireless carrier. However, it has still been attractive to CPs because of the enormous traffic that comes from the carrier's menu, as well as the convenience of having customer billing handled by the carrier.
For the past seven years, CPs have flooded Japan's three major wireless carriers with thick, 150-page proposals, in the hopes of getting their ringtone, mastertone, or other content listed on the menu. Despite the high barrier of entry and heavy restrictions, this method has until recently been the preferred way to operate a mobile music service in Japan.
It's been a rather hectic few weeks here, as mentioned at the end of our latest WWJ newsletter, so we thought a chocolate covered bundle of tidbits would be in order today. With 3GSM running this week in Barcelona, on top of the usual post January speed cycle, we've clipped over a dozen highlights together for a sweetheart 'Valentines Eve' post chalk full of wireless news goodies collected over the last little while, just for you after the jump.
Tegic Communications has announced the availability of their new T9 Discovery Tool, a software application that will allow consumers to locate or discover content and information, whether on their cellphone or on the mobile web, in just a few keystrokes. Wireless Watch Japan caught up with Tony De Ruvo, director of product marketing, at the recent Marcus Evans 3G Forum here in Tokyo for an advanced preview and chat on-camera about the new product.
Of course, many people in the industry believe that complex menu navigation and portal designs are a major obstacle to accessing content and services, and consider this to be a limiting factor to greater data service uptake and growth. According to the company press release, the T9 Discovery Tool us
Cameron Diaz has earned herself a cool $3 million for appearing in a commercial for a Japanese mobile phone company. And how about this... the commercial shoot took only six hours to of her time, which works out to a nice little payday of eight thousand dollars a minute.
NTT DoCoMo just announced it has achieved a maximum packet transmission rate of approximately 5Gbps in the downlink - claiming a World's First - using 100MHz frequency bandwidth to a mobile station moving at 10kmh. The field experiment 4G radio access took place in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture on December 25, 2006. After having achieved a maximum speed of 2.5Gbps in December 2005, DoCoMo doubled the speed in the more recent test by increasing the number of MIMO transmitting and receiving antennas from six to 12 each, and by using proprietary received signal processing technology.
Nobody likes going to the dentist, but there have been a couple of dental-related mobile services recently released in Japan that make the whole ordeal that bit less painful. First is Let’s go to the dentist!, a mobile dentist search. Not only can you search and find dental clinics all over Japan, you can also search for specialist dentists and view their locations on a map. After your visit, you can write a review of the whole ordeal to receive points which you can swap for goods or redeem as cashback on your next visit.
NTT DoCoMo, Renesas, Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, Sharp and Sony Ericsson have announced that they plan to jointly develop a next-generation mobile phone platform with completion targeted for mid-2008. Renesas plans to provide the platform to the global W-CDMA market, in addition to customers in Japan, aiming to further reduce costs. The six companies have agreed to the joint development project in an effort to provide advanced functionality - with a common base - for 3G handsets worldwide.
The latest subscriber figures were announced today with good news for SoftBank Mobile and what must be disappointing results for DoCoMo while KDDI continues to lead the pack in over-all performance again in January. We had mentioned that many industry watchers were expecting SoftBanks new flat-rate voice plan - announced in early January - would have an positive impact, and it certainly did. Most surprising was the small month-on-month loss of i-mode customers, the second time in 3 months, for the incumbent.
NEC Corp. announced on Tuesday that it's expecting to ship 5.5 million mobile phones in the year to March 31st 2007, down 8 percent from its previous estimate of 6 million phones. The company also said it now expects to post a loss of less than 40 billion yen ($333 million) in the cellphone business in fiscal2006/07, an improvement over its previous estimate of a loss of 50 billion yen.
Warner Music has partnered with Catalyst Mobile to roll-out Rhino Music Service as an official content offering on DoCoMo's i-mode menu. The service will provide monthly subscribers - at 315jpy - with search, recommendation, preview, and downloading of individual assets. Other features also include 'This Day in Rock History' trivia and 'Songs You Know Ring Tone Corner.'
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