SoftBank Mobile announced that it has started deliveries of their so-called 705NK, Nokia's N73 which has been customized for the Japan market, and will be on sale from January 13. The handset features include; quad-band GSM / W-CDMA chipset for global roaming, PC Suite capability for reading Word, Excel, Power-Point documents, a QVGA LCD sreen with3.2 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and music player functions combined with FM radio. It will be available in three colors - deep plum, light sand, and newly added color, metallic red.
NEC Electronics have announced the start of sample shipments of its newly developed chipset for mobile phones. The LSI AP131 accommodates music playing CPU and DSP on its board and adds support for WMV (ASF) and MP (MP4, M4A, 3GP, 3G2). The previous version of this product, the PD99910, had only support for SD-Audio (MP3, AAC) format. NEC is asking 1,000 yen per sample and plans to output one million chipsets per month in 2007.
As we mentioned when Casio's G'zOne handset [.jpg image] launched here in May 2005 "This could be a design winner should it land on US shores in time for the Christmas shopping rush". While it took a bit much longer, we just noticed they have rolled-out an amusing interactive flash website, touting the rugged nature of what should be a great Japanese handset for the U.S market.
Just in time for 3GSM, mobile auto-racing fanatics in Spain can snag a Mclaren Mercedes branded cell phone [.jpg image] from Vodafone. Apparently the collectors edition, for 69 Euro with a two year contract, will be made available to mark Alonso's switch from Renault to Mclaren Mercedes in the upcoming 2007 Formula One season. The Sharp 770SH ML handset features a QVGA screen, 1.3MP camera, MP3 player, miniSD card slot and USB.
Sprint and Sanyo have announced full availability of the M1 handset [.jpg image] as Sprint's first phone with 1GB of internal memory. The M1's key features include Bluetooth, a 2.0 megapixel camera with auto-focus, storage for up to 16 hours of music with nine equalizer settings for fine-tuning the listening experience. The unit also has external i-pod style music controls and a large external LCD for optimal usability.
Happy New Year greetings from Masayoshi Son and friends at the former Vodafone Japan - now SoftBank Mobile - came in the form of this press release [.pdf in Japanese] announcing they will offer a limited flat-rate voice package starting mid-January. The 980jpy per month deal allows unlimited voice calling and mobile mail, effective between SoftBank 3G customers, from 1 a.m and 9 p.m. Son also apparently promised if competitors decide to follow his lead, offering a lower rate, within 24 hours he will undercut their prices.
Osaka-based Dorga Ltd.has announced their Time Machine Navi application which displays historic scenery according to the position and the direction of an enabled cellphone screen. The sample site, Ruins of Heijo Palace in Nara, was unveiled in the final report of the 'Intellectual Cluster Creation Business' that the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology creation has been funding since 2002.
INFO PLANT recently conducted a nationwide survey during a one-week period of mobile phone users, via the Toku-suru menu on NTT DoCoMo i-mode, and based the following results on 4,987 valid responses. 93.2% of all respondents had subscribed to receive mail magazines on their phones. 39.6% of them have signed up to 3-5 different ones. The largest portion of the users have signed up for 3-5 mail magazines (39.6%), followed by 6-9 (19.1%), and 1-2 (16.2%). Looked at by gender and age, over 20% of those subscribed to over 10 mail magazines were males and females in their 40's, which was higher than any other age group.
The Japanese government (Soum-sho) is planning to spend 1.2B Japanese Yen (about $10 million usd) to build "a system for watching kids" using mobile phones, GPS, RFID tags, etc. The ministry seems to be looking at systems that monitor kids' whereabouts using GPS-enabled mobile phones, RFID tags carried by kids, and RFID readers and communication devices installed at school gates and electric polls.
NTT DoCoMo, Inc. announced today that it has acquired 760,500 shares, approximately 3.0% of total issued and outstanding shares, in Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV). Under a tie-up agreement concluded in February 2006, DoCoMo has already been working with NTV to provide attractive services converging mobile communications and broadcasting.
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