LG Telecom, Korea’s smallest mobile operator, took the wraps off that nation’s first waterproof mobile phone, the canU 502S [.jpg], developed under alliance with Japanese firm Casio Computer. Launched in Japan in May 2005, the G’zOne is a rugged, water-and-shock resistant handset based on the company’s popular G-Shock wristwatch series. The unit has four styles of digital time keeping and a sub-display screen that functions as an electronic compass. The Korean version also comes with an MP3 player and a mega-pixel camera and has a price tag of 550,000 won.
Confirming rumours from earlier this week, NTT DoCoMo and KT Freetel announced today they have agreed on a comprehensive strategic alliance including equity participation. DoCoMo will invest approximately 65.5 bn yen to acquire a 10-percent stake in KTF through a third-party allotment of new shares and purchase of KTF treasury stock by the end of December 2005. This alliance enables both companies to provide better services to customers in their respective markets through the development and promotion of mobile technologies and applications. The nationwide deployment and early stabilization of KTF’s W-CDMA network, with DoCoMo’s technical support, is considered the key to achieving these objectives.
Vodafone K.K. today announced it will commence sales of the Vodafone 702NK II (Nokia 6680) 3G handset, a Symbian OS smartphone, on 17 December 2005. The 702NK II allows customers to view Microsoft Word, Excel and other documents on their handsets and is the carrier’s first device to support their new Vodafone Office Mail service. The company also unveiled an ultra-slim 2G handset from Toshiba, the V502T, which will go on sale from the end of January 2006.
Visto Corporation, a leading global provider of secure push mobile email, today announced that Visto Mobile 5 with ConstantSync technology has been chosen by Vodafone K.K. to power Vodafone Office Mail, Japan’s first “True Push” wireless email service. Visto’s device-agnostic push wireless email offering enables Vodafone K.K., to deliver secure push email and PIM on leading handsets, starting with the Vodafone 702NK II (Nokia 6680). This release of the Vodafone Office Mail service follows Visto’s signature of a global contract with Vodafone Group Plc announced in April 2005. Japan is the latest region to launch a Vodafone wireless push email service powered by Visto Mobile.
Sharp and Fareastone have launched a version of Vodafone’s 903SH [.jpg] 3G phone in Taiwan. Designed to run on GSM/GPRS and W-CDMA 3G networks, the WX-T91 [.jpg] features the same 3.2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, USB and infrared features, as well as a MiniSD card slot (supporting up to 1GB), an MP3/AAC music player and a bar-code scanner. It also supports Video/TV-Out enabling users to view their pictures and play games on their TV screens. The unit comes in three colors: black, red and white at an estimated retail price of almost $800 — approx. triple the street price in Japan.
Kyocera Communication Systems and Lockdown Networks, Inc., today announced that they have formed a Strategic Relationship through which KCCS will bring Lockdown’s market-leading Lockdown Enforcer product line to Japan. “Enforcer is by far the best fit with the needs of real-world customers that must ensure their networks are protected from attacks by worms, viruses, spyware, unauthorized access, and other endpoint-based threats to their network,” said Yoshihito Kurose, Director and Senior General Manager of KCCS’s IP Service Group. “Lockdown NAC was the logical choice, because it works with customers’ existing switch and wireless access point infrastructure, supports all IP-devices anywhere in the network, operates continuously rather than just at time of admission, and takes decision-making input from a wide variety of sources.”
RFID technology’s time may finally be coming if implementers can learn to look beyond its current characterization as a product ID-code system, according to a new Gartner report. Findings from “Market Share and Forecast: Radio Frequency Identification, Worldwide, 2004-2010”. According to the report, worldwide RFID spending for 2005 is likely to reach $504 million, a 39 percent increase from the previous year. Accelerating adoption will lead to new license revenue of $751 million by the end of 2006, with worldwide spending topping $3 billion by 2010.
Electronic money emerged four years ago as a convenient tool for fast-paced train commuters. The Japan Research Institute, an economic research group, estimates that at least 15 million people here are now using e-cash, a figure projected to reach 40 million — about one in every three Japanese — by 2008. The number of e-cash transactions reached 15.8 million per month in 2005, more than double last year’s figure, according to Japan’s two largest electronic money providers. E-cash is being accepted at convenience stores, department stores, cafes, restaurants, newsstands and electronics retailers — enabling users to go shopping carrying nothing but their cell phones. At some supermarkets, up to 40 percent of all purchases are made with electronic money.
Vodafone K.K. just announced that it will revise its Priority Support discount service for people with disabilities by reducing video call charges by 50% effective from the February 2006. Priority Support is a discount service available to customers who have been issued a Certificate for Persons with Physical Disabilities, a Certificate for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, or a Certificate for Persons with Mental Disabilities, to make Vodafone K.K.’s services more accessible by reducing basic*2, call*3 and mail*4 sending/receiving charges by 50%. With this revision, video call charges will also be applicable so Priority Support customers can make video calls for half the normal communication charge.
It’s rare for WWJ editors, a jaded bunch, to get too excited about new service announcements, but on 6 December, we jumped on this fresh Vodafone press release that seemed to herald the emergence of the rather cool, made-in-Japan ‘Vodafone Live! BB’ (BB= broadband) music- and video-download service into the Group’s European markets. Vodafone live! BB uses the ‘i-Pod model’ to get large media files onto mobile phones, avoiding network traffic fees and should be, we have always thought, a no-brainer for export to Vodafone Opcos outside Japan. Don’t mobilers everywhere want to save on packet/data fees and get audio and DVD-quality video onto their handsets?