Mobile Intelligence from CEATEC Japan
In today’s program, we speak with Yutaka Nakamae from Panasonic’s Corporate External Relations Group who met with us during last fall’s CEATEC consumer electronics show in Tokyo. While there’s plenty of eye candy, including Panny’s 900iV (released in mid-2004), some skin-able models to please those who can’t decide on their favorite color and the very cool GSM X700 (now on sale in Europe), the real intelligence relates to finding our who’s boss in the carrier/manufacturer relationship (Hint: Who owns the customer?). Today’s proggy is not only a fun one — showing some great cellys from the October CEATEC show — but it also reconfirms the reality of the relationship between cell-phone makers and cellular operators in Japan — in this case, Panasonic and DoCoMo.
Nakamae points out that Panasonic will try to follow DoCoMo’s stated schedule of releasing new FOMA handsets every 6 months but that new models may not necessarily be complete upgrades; improvements and new sales features may come just as “step up” improvements.
This comment speaks to the growing dynamic tension between 3G celly makers and their carrier clients: the carriers want new whiz-bang features with which to attract new converts twice per year on demand, and the makers are wary of the growing costs to develop, test, integrate and support the technologies necessary for those features.
Viewers will also note that Nakamae-san asks to refer any substantive questions on new model roll-out and other issues related to availability to — surprise! — DoCoMo. In Japan, carriers control all aspects of cell-phone availability, distribution and sale, and vendors, like Panasonic, will almost always defer to The Boss when nosy media guys ask questions like, “When can I buy this one?”
The X700, by the way, is available on several sites in Europe for 400-450 Euro, so it’s definitely being marketed as a top-end model. The X700 is Panny’s first Symbian OS-based model, has a slot for a miniSD memory card and includes a document viewer that lets you view and edit Microsoft Office document files.
— Daniel Scuka
X700 features and specs:
- Video recorder and player
- Digital VGA camera
- Dual color displays
- Nokia application support
- Bluetooth and Infrared wireless technology
- miniSD memory card
- Polyphonic tones
- WAP 2.0 browser
- MMS & EMS
System: Tri-band: GSM 900, 1800 & 1900
Dimensions: 97 mm x 49 mm x 23.9 mm
Volume: 89 cm3
Weight: 107 g
Standby time: 80 to 250 hours
Talk Time: 2 to 6 hours
Battery: Li-ion 780 mAh
Display: Main internal display: 65k color
External display: 4k color