U.S Market
U.S Market

Is America Ready for a Virtual Mobile?

American Venture magazine interviewed Scott Driggers, CEO and Co-Founder of Gemini Mobile Technologies, about whether the American market is ready to explore a virtual world on their cell phone. Gemini is preparing to launch its 3D mobile software platform, eXplo, in the UK or the U.S. Currently, eXplo is driving Softbank Mobile’s 3D virtual world, S! Town, in Japan, which has added 100,000 subscribers since launching in November of 2006. In S! Town, subscribers design and dress their avatar and room, using the virtual world’s currency for purchases.

Namco and KDDI Partner for Mobile Games

Namco Networks has announced an exclusive partnership with KDDI to represent the carriers large catalog of mobile games from Japanese publishers and developers in North American. Running on Qualcomms BREW technology, KDDI has a mobile games catalog which includes a wide range of puzzle, action and strategy games. Financial details of the venture were not included with the statement.

Major Shake-up at Faith

Several sources are reporting that Intel Capital and Yoshimoto Kogyo have bought a small stake in Faith Inc.. Last week Faith’s U.S. arm Moderati was sold to Bellrock Media, as pointed out in the most recent Mobile Music Watch newsletter; “Following its board meeting last Friday, Faith Inc. announced that co-founder and COO Makoto Nakanishi will resign from the company and acquire 100% of its struggling US subsidiary Faith Communications.”. According to their statement, the US subsidiary is losing money and plagued with problems, including a postponed trial launch of its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) service and heavy capital requirements.

Verizon Pushing Casio G'zOne Handset

As we mentioned when Casio’s G’zOne handset [.jpg image] launched here in May 2005 “This could be a design winner should it land on US shores in time for the Christmas shopping rush”. While it took a bit much longer, we just noticed they have rolled-out an amusing interactive flash website, touting the rugged nature of what should be a great Japanese handset for the U.S market.

Sprint Announces Sanyo M1 Handset

Sprint and Sanyo have announced full availability of the M1 handset [.jpg image] as Sprint’s first phone with 1GB of internal memory. The M1’s key features include Bluetooth, a 2.0 megapixel camera with auto-focus, storage for up to 16 hours of music with nine equalizer settings for fine-tuning the listening experience. The unit also has external i-pod style music controls and a large external LCD for optimal usability.

Fujitsu Bets Big on WiMax

Fujitsu wants to get back into the wireless race in North America by being a major U.S. player in the race to build high speed wireless broadband WiMax networks. Last month, Fujitsu announced a whole new line of WiMax products covering every major component in the WiMAX network, including silicon solutions, electronic devices, radio access network solutions, professional services and backhaul infrastructure solutions. The company presented two new high performance base stations designed for indoor or outdoor use.

Kyocera Cyclops on Virgin Mobile

Kyocera has announced a new handset for Virgin Mobile USA with two firsts for the carrier. The new Cyclops, as the handset is to be known, features Virgin Mobile’s TXT Tones and Virgin Audio Messaging, as well as other mid-range features and a sleek design. The Kyocera Cyclops also features a built in 1.3 megapixel camera, 65k color TFT LCD display, and 14MB of on board memory. Additionally, phone features like a speakerphone and voice-activated dialing are also included.

Sprint Introduces the Sanyo Katana

The legendary Katana, best known as a precision instrument sword used by the Samurai, has a new identity, that of a cutting-edge wireless phone by Sprint and SANYO. This ultra-thin handset features Bluetooth and a built-in VGA camera. Making its debut throughout the month of July in four bold colors, including Mystic Black, Blue Sapphire, Cherry Blossom Pink, and Polar White, which is a color that will be sold exclusively at RadioShack, the Katana will be available at Sprint Stores, online and at select third-party retailers for $279.99 or $79.99 after rebates with a two-year subscriber agreement.

G-Mode and Namco JV for U.S. Games

Namco Networks and G-Mode have announced a strategic partnership for the U.S mobile gaming market according to the companies press release [.PDF in Japanese]. “Partnering with G-Mode expands our already large catalog of entertaining games, meeting the ever-increasing consumer demand for casual content,” said Kenji Hisatsune, President and CEO of Namco Networks. “G-Mode’s games have been hugely successful in Japan, and we believe this popularity will continue in North America.”

Pac-Man Fever Hits U.S.

In the second of a series of Q&As with Japanese-headquartered game publishers making the plunge into the U.S. mobile game biz, Gamasutra had a chance to talk to Scott Rubin, VP of Sales and Marketing for Namco Networks, regarding the company’s history and plans. Rubin discussed both the formation of Namco Networks in North America and the popularity of Namco’s classic titles, such as Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga and Dig Dug, on cellphone, answering the same questions as Capcom’s Midori Yuasa, the first in this mobile Q&A series.