If not for cNet, we would have completely forgot.. it was 25 years ago today, October 13, 1983, that the very first commercial cell phone call was made. Bob Barnett, president of Ameritech Mobile communications, called Alexander Graham Bell’s nephew from Chicago’s Soldier Field using a Motorola DynaTAC handset, referred to as the “Brick” because of its hefty size. What a difference 25 years makes. In 1984, a year after Ameritech Mobile launched its service, the company had signed up about 12,000 subscribers.
Economic and fiscal policy minister Kaoru Yosano and Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa have apologized to Diet leaders for watching TV on a cell phone during a House of Councilors plenary session. The incident took place on Oct. 3 when Shozaburo Jimi, vice leader of the tiny Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party), was asking questions. The Upper House has banned cell phones from its floor since 1995.
We spent most of last week out at Makuhari Messe running around the CEATEC tradeshow with clients visiting from overseas. While we were considerably distracted, catering to their specific focus, it was certainly interesting – as always – to get a glimpse of the mobile future. Of course while most of the usual players were on-site with their wares and the media was swarming to get the inside skinny, btw: plenty of great material from Tech-On Here, two of the most obvious trends we noticed was a definite move towards green technology along with next-generation networks and handsets.
This concept model – the Voyage – from KDDI was a prefect example of innovation aimed at solving one of the major challenges, never enough juice, increasingly faced by mobile users. There was not much in the way of details on that unit when we asked at the time however based on past experience with AU Designs it would be reasonable to expect something like this hitting the street a few years from now and we’ll be digging for more intell. on this one! Meanwhile, some of the other concepts on display especially the Ply device with it’s built-in projector and their Trio design – hint: watch the video demos launched via ‘prototype’ icons on lower nav. bar – were also attracting the crowds.
DoCoMo has announced that it will form a joint venture company with Avex Entertainment Inc. for the production and on-demand distribution of video content packaged for the mobile phone environment. Unlike most mobile-content companies that distribute video works which were originally developed for movie theaters and DVD systems, the new company will produce and distribute content developed specifically for the small screens of mobile phones, giving special consideration to the challenges of delivering video content on a mobile device.
According to a Business Beat article in the Nikkei Weekly print edition [.pdf], nearly as many people in Japan access the Internet through cellphones as PCs, so major advertisers and service providers have apparently come together recently in an effort to create a new way to measure the audiences visiting mobile websites. Some 40 companies including Coca-Cola and Panasonic as well as web agencies such as Nifty, DeNA and NetRatings Japan have established a study group to identify a common method to quantify mobile web usage.
CESA has just issued a press release with final details for this TGS 2008. The total number of exhibitors this year will be 209, including 89 exhibitors from overseas. The number of booths has marked a new record of 1768. As of August 18, they received entries of a total of 613 titles by 64 corporations and organizations. A list of the participating companies is provided on the official English website. We’re looking forward to another Great Tokyo Game Show! Meanwhile, here’s our video from 2007.
Nissan, DoCoMo and Sharp just announced that they have jointly developed a mobile phone capable of functioning as an intelligent key for automobiles. The device will incorporate Nissan’s Intelligent Key system, already a standard feature in various Nissan vehicles. Nissan’s Intelligent Key system, installed in more than 950,000 units of various Nissan models since 2002, employs two-way wireless communications technology to automatically unlock/lock the car door and start/stop the engine. Nissan and Sharp has now integrated these electronic intelligent-key, wireless communications and electromagnetic technologies into the new handset.
The three firms will continue to develop the product with an aim for commercial distribution in early fiscal 2009. They will demonstrate this new device at CEATEC next week and WWJ will be there!
NEC Corp. and its partner Ubiquisys Ltd. have won a key battle today with the announcement of a femto contract from Japan’s Softbank Mobile. According to Unstrung, Softbank plans to launch commercial services with the 3G home base stations in January next year, which is the first commercial launch date that an operator has set for 3G femtos anywhere and is well ahead of the industry expectations that femto services will launch in the 2010 time-range.
According to this post via the Malaysian National News Agency, TM International landed NTT DoCoMo as a shareholder in TM International (Bangladesh) Ltd (TMIB). In a statement issued Friday, TMI said DoCoMo has completed its purchase of a 30 percent stake in TMIB, TMI’s mobile operations in Bangladesh by acquiring all the issued and paid-up shares of TMIB previously held by A.K. Khan & Co Ltd and its four group companies. TMIB, trading under the brand name Aktel, operates a cellular Global System for Mobile Communications service in Bangladesh.
Verizon Wireless has quietly released Dashboard, a new storefront found on its phones using Adobe Flash according to MocoNews. So far, Dashboard has launched on the LG Chocolate 3, and more phones are expected by the end of the year, making it one of the largest mobile implementations of Flash in states to-date. The stoefront stands alongside the carrier’s ‘Get It Now platform’, and is designed to be an easy place for consumers to find from Verizon’s deck.