Japan Market
Japan Market

Japanese Cellphones & Global Markets

Apollo 11 - 40th anniversary image via Google Japan top page today!Lets take an A-B-C approach on this recent post from NYT. Since Gen Kanai has already provided a strong and balanced review, taking an open-source software approach, we will stick to the hardware aspect for our humble comments herein.

As long-time observers of the Japan market, with a decent grasp on the global stage considering that’s where many in our audience are based, we have a few thoughts about possible handset futures. As we see it, there are basically two niche ends of the spectrum: smartphones and emerging markets, so it’s reasonable to expect some near-term activity with DoCoMo and one or more of their handset partners getting underway in India, for example. A single digit share in either of those growth areas, let alone the main-stream replacement cycle, would easily surpass the home market annual volumes shipped as indicated at about 30M units. Now to the A-B-C heart of our argument. Follow along after the jump.

Free Wireless on the Bullet Bus

People on the move between Tokyo and Osaka can now hop a luxury bus service which conveniently includes speedy wireless access. These red-eye express coaches offer riders 802.11b/g connectivity via IIJ and DoCoMo networks with power access and Business Class seats for about $100usd, a notable savings compared to taking the Shinkansen. While commuter buses are usually designed to carry up to 40 passengers, these new Eco-Friendly hybrid gas and electric powered chariots are configured with only 16 large comfortable reclining vibro-seats. Talk about flying first class on the ground!

Japan Mobile Market Growth in 2008

According to the Nikkei, the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecomms announced the mobile contents and services market results in 2008 increased by 17% YoY to reach 1.35 Trillion JPY (approx. $14 Billion usd), mobile advertising not included. The mobile commerce market, including mail orders and stock transactions recorded $9B, up 19% while airline and hotel reservations, in the same segment, increased by 25%. The mobile contents category, lead by music, games and e-books, gained 13% to about $5B. Do the math on a mobile population of 106M contracts!

Mobile Website Flash Creator

NEC BIGLOBE announced it will introduce a mobile site Flash creator platform, under a SaaS model, as of today. According to the release, a multi-design template driven offering is used for the construction of mobile websited so clients need only add the text and images, no special skills are required. The package fee is quoted at $1,500 for initial setup and $5k per month for hosting with stated target of 300 clients in 36 months for a cool 1 Billion jpy. Adobe Flash has been a standard pre-install, by all operators on all handsets, since 2004 in Japan.

Mobile Networks Stressed by p0rn?

This saucy story has been making the rounds and we felt obliged to offer a balance observation, so here goes. It come as no surprise that, just like the PC world, adult is a major content category, certainly this is not a recent development. We have had mobile flat-rate data plans since 2006, do you really think it’s taken this long for the demand to spike? Note, DoCoMo just rolled out a new video download platform – BeeTV – this spring and is agressively advertising that despite supposedly being overwhelmed by demand for salaryman snacks. More after the hop.

The Android Magic Launch in Japan

DoCoMo rolled-out the very first Android powered device in Japan today, labeled as the HT-03A, with somewhat less fan-fare than other product launches (cough-cough: iPhone) we’ve seen in the past. Besides the obvious absence of long line-ups full of eager gadget geeks, we find nothing on Google News (strange considering who runs that show) and very little so far on the main Japanese tech sites. Basically, Abracadabra – Boo! – it’s surprisingly quiet here on the eastern front.

NTT Com to Combine Mobile Data & WLAN

NTT Com announced today that it will begin taking applications for a new wireless service targeted at enterprise uses which combines mobile access the DoCoMo 3G HSDPA network and Wi-Fi connectivity via their HOTSPOT WLAN platform. The service will offer speeds up to 7.2 Mbps and wide national coverage via DoCoMo combined with VPN access and global roaming into partners service areas in over 150 countries worldwide. The service is slated to launch in September.

Taking Wireless to a New Level

Real-time control of wheelchairs with brain waves ― A new signal processing technology for brain machine interface (BMI) application. The BSI-TOYOTA Collaboration Center announced it has succeeded in developing a system which utilizes one of the fastest technologies in the world, controlling a wheelchair using brain waves. Plans are underway to utilize this technology in a wide range of applications centered on medicine and nursing care management. Video after the jump.

Mixi Opening API for Developers

The dominant Japanese SNS by subscribers has been under the gun since it’s recent results are off and several newcomers are sniping at their heels. The Japan Times was on-hand recently to hear CEO Kenji Kasahara speak, at a workshop organized for the Geeks on a Plane delegation, and filed this report. In essence the company has announced several upcoming initiatives including an open API for 3rd party developers to create and deploy apps and they will lift the invitation only requirement later this year.