Japan's Still the World's High-Tech Testbed
More Details on DoCoMo FOMA 903i; Mobile Intelligence Japan Ready to Roll
This past week, WWJ’s own Lawrence Cosh-Ishii, our hard-working director of digital media (and pretty much everything else in our humble shop), appeared on US Web radio program "Into Tomorrow," hosted by Dave Graveline. Dave and his crew pop over to Tokyo each year for the annual CEATEC consumer tech show, and he makes it his business to hook up with a slate of guests who can provide insidery gen on what’s happening in Japan.
The "Into Tomorrow" team were also over for last year’s CEATEC, and their coverage is getting better. This year, in addition to our own Lawrence, the three-hour CEATEC audiocast included guests from E-Gear Magazine, Toshiba, Bose, JEITA (Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association), Maxell, Fujitsu, Pioneer, NEC and others.
We’ve said it before: Japan is the world’s high-tech testbed for a wide range of consumer electronic devices and systems – many of which never see the light of day in overseas markets – and keeping up with developments here is vital to knowing what’s going to hit Europe and the US 24 months in the future; doubly so with respect to mobile and wireless.
In last week’s show, Dave and Lars speak about Japanese carriers’ approach to the mobile market, emphasizing competition, innovative technology like camera phones and e-wallet chips, and mobile gaming.
Dave’s a big fan of WWJ, so we like him! 🙂
The three-hour show site link is here: http://www.graveline.com
The portion featuring Lars is Hour No. 2 (he’s on right at the top, after the adverts and intro): mp3, 43:40
ALSO: Don’t forget to watch the full WWJ video report from CEATEC, featuring our picks for the top cool mobile-related technologies on show (hint: Fujitsu’s UB Wall and invisible-to-the-eye, but-not-to-the-camera phone FP Codes, DoCoMo’s FOMA Drunk Driver detector, and Audio QR digicast metadata).
More Details on DoCoMo FOMA 903i
Speaking of high-tech in Japan, there are more details available in English on the FOMA 903i-series announced yesterday by DoCoMo. The 903i-series includes a stunning 11 handsets, plus there was the N902iL (the second dualmode 3G/WLAN model) and the new ‘Simpure’ models; two ultra-simple, no-tech models that feature roaming or just voice and mail.
The total of 14 models announced possibly represents a record one-time roll-out for Big D, who is obviously feeling the heat as mobile number portability looms in just a few days. (We’ll have a full video report online asap.)
Several very interesting features announced at the DoCoMo presser for the 903i line-up:
- Natsuno-san appeared totally excited about a new development in the FeliCa IC chips: You can now do P2P via FeliCa. Before, you could swap cash between a reader/writer terminal, but not with another phone. This requirement was mandated by Japan’s relevant contactless payment banking law, which, we guess, could foresee too many Pachinko and Pachi-slo debts being serviced via phone under the tax authorities’ radar screen. Also, receiving any kind of data via FeliCa was to-the-phone only.
- Now, you can swap certain kinds of data (but still not cash) between other FeliCa phones, such as meishi business card info and other user-generated content (images, etc.). The FeliCa chips now also have expanded memory capacity.
- The P903i handset prevents unauthorized usage if the phone becomes lost or stolen; it only works when it is within range of a personal RFID card that you carry around in your pocket. If you leave your phone somewhere, or if it gets stolen, and goes out of range of the card, it autolocks itself. (Details in English here.)
- There’s a very interesting 903i presentation on the DoCoMo IR site, with lots of details on the new models as well as video and PPT images on i-mode, FOMA, positioning, strategy, etc. Access full web presentation in English here.
- There’s also some additional info (in Japanese, but with great visuals) on the Napster music service, here.
Mobile Intelligence Japan (MIJ) Mission to Tokyo, 12-17 November
We got the press release issued this week via JCN (see "Mobile Intelligence Japan 2006: Meet Mobile Opportunity Face-to-Face in Tokyo"). It’s nice to see that Google and NASDAQ have already linked to it.
The formal theme will be "advanced networks, devices and applications," and we are planning to include:
- Local-user and mobile application demonstrations (corporate messaging, streaming content, e-wallets)
- Visits to service providers, device makers, content providers and technology vendors
- Guided tour of KDDI’s ‘Designing Studio’, the coolest mobile showroom on Earth
- Evening networking opportunities with industry, academics, and analysts/media
- Networking at Mobile Monday (MoMo), a meeting zone for Tokyo’s mobile-connected community
- Analysis and context-setting by MIJ’s expert industry guides
The MIJ keyword cloud includes: FOMA, 3G, 3.5G, Super 3G, FeliCa, QR Codes, e-wallet, usage, usability, and many other topics that we regularly report on at WWJ. During MIJ, one of the highlights will also be attendance at Mobile Monday; the 13 November event is shaping up to be one of the year’s best with highlight presentations from one of Japan’s newest mobile technology players and from one of the country’s foremost mobile marketing/usability thinkers.
If you’d like more details, including a sample agenda, outline of companies to be visited please access: http://www.mobileintelligence.jp.
Please register NO LATER THAN 23 October!
Have a great weekend!
— Daniel Scuka