CEATEC Japan 2003: The Future of Wireless
The Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) is Asia’s premiere trade show for information technology and electronics sectors, including the fields of imaging, information and communications. This event brings together the complete spectrum of new technologies with a total of 505 companies and organizations, including almost every major Japanese electronics and communications company, 170 exhibitors from 16 counties and regions worldwide, exhibited in 2,460 booths. We visited KDDI to take a closer look at their prototype Sanyo Digital TV phone, talked to the Kyocera folks about the upcoming convergence of GSM and CDMA and interviewed DoCoMo about their IT-House service offering coming soon for 3G FOMA handsets.
As mentioned, the last two weeks have proved a purple patch for new keitai technologies. First of all at CEATEC, DoCoMo revealed that next-year’s FOMA users will be able to program and watch on any 3G terminal what their videos are recording at home, turn many of their home appliances off or on, and even do the hovering remotely via a Toshiba developed vacuum cleaner equipped with an ultrasonic radar and a viewcam built-in. We can personally testify that we were able to steer the vacuum cleaner into harm’s way using a FOMA phone keypad to drive the cleaner like a little dodgem car around the display floor. Fortunately, the actual vacuum function was not engaged, so we weren’t sucked in. We couldn’t get our paws on ASIMO, but that’s maybe something for next time.
At the show we managed to corner the chief designer of Mitsubishi Electric’s next generation keitais (NGKs?) on a new series of very cool modular phones they have developed for next year, Melco looks to have made a conceptual breakthrough with these prototype handsets. Suffice to say we think that series with plug-and-play games console, megapix camera, GPS and other modules that snap onto it’s sleek clamshell design, looks as if they will blow the competition (Sony Ericsson and Samsung versions) out of the water. We also took a ride on the new Sanyo TV-Phone coming out for KDDI and saw a few other goodies like ASIMO and fish feeding with FOMA! We’ll show you all these cool new keitai in action, so be on standby for our video program that’s coming soon. The central message we took from CEATEC was that there are plenty of outstanding innovations coming on stream in the next 18 months that will finally herald the dawn of “ubiquitous” communication. Ahh, ubiquity, the means-anything buzzword that launched a thousand PowerPoint presentations…
While we think Mitsubishi’s modular prototype is a big story that we have to write soon, user satisfaction with the new Sanyo digital broadcast-receiving tellycelly was positive. We hooked a Sony employee into telling us that the slider design version of the phone we recently covered at WPC ’03 will be a winner. Sanyo has been field-testing about 300 of the 2.5-inch QVGA resolution (320 x 240 pixels) organic EL screen/ CCD-equipped phone and, from our interview at least, they seem confident enough it has overcome the screen’s burn image problem to commit to shipping the phone before 2005.
The prototype panel has a brightness of 150cd/2. The organic EL layer is a white light-emitting low-polymer material, used in combination with a color filter, according to the company. Sanyo forecasts the mobile screen market (that includes PDAs) will hit about 800 billion yen by 2005, with organic EL panels accounting for about 220 billion yen of that. Together with partner Eastman Kodak, Sanyo says it hopes to get a 70 billion yen share. Meanwhile Display Research pegs the global market for thin display panels at 3 trillion yen in 2002, with LCDs comprising more than 90 percent of the market.
— The Editors.