New DoCoMo 3G Handset Hits the Street: Fujitsu F900i
New DoCoMo 3G Handset Hits the Street: Fujitsu F900i

New DoCoMo 3G Handset Hits the Street: Fujitsu F900i

New DoCoMo 3G Handset Hits the Street: Fujitsu F900i

Last December, DoCoMo unveiled its new 900i series phones in a splashy press conference at Tokyo’s Imperial hotel, and today, Friday Feb. 6, the first of that series, the Fujitsu F900i, hit the shops. The 900is, which Takeshi Natsuno calls “The best 3G phones in the world,” are ace when compared with the original FOMA phones. The 900is have 3X standby time (480 hours) and weigh 20% less than FOMA’s first models. In other words, the 900is are as good as DoCoMo’s 2G PDC terminals! The new Symbian OS based Fujitsu distinguishes itself with a finger print sensor and, like the other 900i models, a huge (100k) flash bucket. As you sit back and enjoy this video preview to our upcoming program of that launch event, note that DoCoMo is not saying when the other fab 4 are coming out.. yet.

Actually, DoCoMo isn’t talking about a lot of things about the 900i at the moment. It’s not saying how many are on sale today, how many are being produced, and what is happening with the other four models that we talked about in our earlier article on the series. According to DoCoMo the other models are still being tested, but the company didn’t, of course, hint at any problems.

We already noted that there were a couple of big names missing developing the phones. Anyway, here is a specs summary:

CCD camera with 1.28 mega-pixel effective resolution and 1.23 mega-pixel recorded resolution

Fingerprint sensor for access security

Connects to PC via optional USB cable to synchronize data such as calendars and contacts

Size, height x width x thickness (folded): 106 x 50 x 26 mm

Weight: approx. 120 grams

Continuous stand-by time: approx. 480 hours (static), approx. 360 hours (dynamic)

Continuous talk time: approx. 160 minutes

Continuous video calling: approx. 100 minutes

Main LCD: 2.2 inches; 262,144 colors; QVGA; TFT

Sub LCD: 1.0 inch; 3 colors; Organic EL LCD

External memory device: miniSD・Memory Card

Colors: Lime Green; Silver; Navy

The finger print sensor, assuming it works, could develop into an important feature for mobile commerce applications, if, as we feel, the FeliCa contactless payment system achieves credit ability with the customers and sales take off next year.

One of the things bugging us is that once you start putting more eggs in one basket, security becomes even more important. It’s bad enough if someone steals your phone and then steals your money using it before you can get the terminal cancelled, but the idea of someone being able to make purchases with stolen phones is really scary.

The fingerprint scanner could be the one-touch solution to these issues.

If there are no major problems with the other models in the series, the rollout couldn’t come at a better time. As many have pointed out, DoCoMo just bumped its FOMA forecast 20% for the year ending March, and there are increasing signs that FOMA can move out of the first/fast adopter ghetto and into the mainstream.

DoCoMo has actually been FAILING to attract subscribers on its 2G services, we suspect mainly because people have woken up to the fact that they can get a whole bunch of reasonably priced 3G phones from KDDI.

To maintain momentum with FOMA the company simply can’t afford to screw up the 900i launch. FOMA has finally surpassed 2 million and needs new handsets to maintain its recent momentum that started at the beginning of last quarter of adding about 250,000 subs a month. At current rates, each FOMA phone yields DoCoMo about a $20 premium, $10 each for data and voice ARPU compared to PDC.

3Q FOMA DATA ARPU was 3,260 yen compared with 1,930 yen for PDC and 3Q FOMA VOICE ARPU was 7,010 yen compared with 5,800 yen on PDC. Meanwhile FOMA i-mode packet usage more than doubled in the 12 months of last calendar year from about 800 packets/ day to nearly 2,000, while PDC’s been stuck on about 200/ day over the same period.

DoCoMo is also raising the price cap on the i-mode information charge from 300 to 500 yen when the 900i series is fully launched and now focusing on boosting interface technologies such as QR code and infrared access on top of FeliCa to make future FOMAs real e-wallets if the current trials (5000 phones from the N504i and SO504iC series, 27 service providers) works out.

— The Editors