Year: <span>2008</span>
Year: 2008

Japanese Handset of the Year

The folks at Ktai Watch ran an open to all readers online poll from December 19 – 25th for best handset model of 2008. They managed to collect about 3,000 votes in all and have listed the top 50 Here.

The 931SH by Sharp for SoftBank Mobile topped the list with Fujitsu’s F-01A for DoCOMo coming in 2nd place. So, “What about the 3G iPhone” – we can just hear you screaming that from all over the world – well, it easily took top spot in the Smartphone section with over 60% of the votes 😎

Our Very Best Wishes to Everyone for 2009!

Gree to the World

Japan’s #2 SNS platform – Gree – IPO’d on Mothers stock-exchange last week and saw it’s shares jump 52% on listing day to a valuation of just over $1.2B, closing ahead of Mixi and gliding into 4th place for all digital-focused listed companies in Japan. While claiming approx. 7M users, only half of the Mixi base, Gree is almost entirely a mobile play. Serving as defacto SNS platform for the KDDI/au network, who was an early stage investor, the service offering combines gaming and messaging with a virtual goods model. According to company financials they reported $11M in profit on revenues of $33M in their last fiscal year while noting marked increases in Q1 FYE09. Crisis.. What Crisis?!?

KDDI Announces Xmini Walkman Phone

KDDI Announces the Xmini Walkman PhoneKDDI has introduced their Walkman Phone, the Xmini produced by Sony Ericsson, ready for a late December debut. This extremely small handset (w44mm x h75mm x t18mm) naturally packs full music functionality, including maximum storage capacity of 4GB, capable of holding around 2,300 full-song tracks and incorporates a touch sensor for control even when the device is closed.

Apparently the super-thin model, tipping the scales at only 75g, does not have an on-board camera or 1Seg digital-tv tuner, or even external memory slot for that matter, but thankfully it will be available in several colors; Green & blue, purple & pink, white & Tarcoiz and good old black on black. Also noted, the Xmini model ships compatible with the ‘EZ Chaku Uta Full Plus’ service, which is also expected to come online in the latter part of December, making it possible to download and play-back AAC 320kbps tracks ‘for customers who want to be able to enjoy high quality audio content’.

MCN Wins EContent Top-100 Award

Tokyo-based MCN-Inc made the Top-100 list – smack between Microsoft and McGraw-Hill – under the Mobile Content and Search Engine Technology categories on EContents 8th annual most influential digital companies contest. According to the press release MCN’s recognition by a panel of 14 judges, who reviewed hundreds of candidates, comes at the conclusion of a remarkable year of global growth for the company. In 2008 MCN launched mobile content and commerce search services with more than 20 mobile operators and portals in Japan, Europe, and S. Asia and launched allwords(sm), the mobile Pay-per-Click (PPC) content promotion program and extended its subscriber reach to over 300,000,000 users worldwide.

Mobile Healthcare Named Tech Pioneer

Mobile Healthcare Named Tech PioneerThe World Economic Forum has named Japan-based Mobile Healthcare, and it’s Lifewatcher product, as a 2009 Technology Pioneer [.PDF]. The company, which develops real-time mobile health solutions for preventing and managing diabetes, obesity and other lifestyle-related illnesses became one of the 34 technology visionaries – full list Here – to be honoured at the 2009 World Economic Forum. The honourees, each recognized as being at the forefront of technology and innovation, were selected by the Forum from 320 finalists from around the world through a stringent review process by a 44-strong team of global experts.

Nokia to Exit the Japan Market

While the Finnish giant is ramping-up to roll it’s Vertu-focused MVNO sometime early next year, the company has announced it has decided to pull their regular device line-up, including the just announced E-71 model for DoCoMo, according to this statement: “In the current global economic climate, we have concluded that the continuation of our investment in Japan-specific product variants is no longer sustainable.” By most estimates the world-leading ODM managed less than 1% penetration in the hyper-competative Japanese handset market.

Keitai by COACH via KDDI

Keitai by COACH Via KDDICoach and KDDI have announced they will offer limited edition COACH branded handsets – 1,941 units available, based on the company being founded in 1941 – from December. These models are produced by SonyEricsson using the Full-Change skin styling features with a focus not only on exterior but also the main menu and standby screen. It should also be noted that – at least from what we can tell – the retail price of, not suprisingly, 19,041jpy (about $200usd) is only for the accessories. So clients will need to buy the main handset – at open market price – as well thank-you very much. Here’s to betting they sell-out in a heartbeat!

Nokia To Launch MVNO in Japan

Finnish cell phone manufacturer Nokia will start its own cellphone service in Japan as early as February 2009 according to this article on the Yomiuri Shimbun. Apparently the Finnish manufacturing giant is rumored to run service on the Docomo network, although it was widely reported this summer they would go with SoftBank, for it’s luxury Vertu handset lineup.

Softbank Mobile Joins Symbian Foundation

The initial board members of the Symbian Foundation welcomed the latest supporters of the initiative at the interim Steering Group meeting in Tokyo this week. This announcement [pdf] includes support for the Symbian Foundation plans from 7 more companies; Borqs, Comarch, HiQ, Kanrikougaku Kenkyusho Ltd. (K3), L&T Infotech, Renesas Technology Corp. and SoftBank Mobile Corp. who add their endorsements to the 52 other companies already announced.