Video Programs
Video Programs

Vodafone Japan Launches Visto Push Mail

Vodafone Japan Launches Visto Push MailYesterday, Vodafone Japan announced ‘Office Mail’ a new, secure push-mail corporate solution for 3G powered by Visto. Japan’s DoCoMo, KDDI and Vodafone have never had a lot of success in selling mobile applications to the corporate market due to the carriers’ overwhelming focus on the highly profitable consumer market. Perhaps Vodafone’s selection of a cool Nokia Symbian phone and the promise of more Nokia devices having a buttoned-down, made-overseas, cool business image will get corporate users bugging their IT managers to call Big Red and sign up for Office Mail.

Vodafone’s Office Mail is powered by the Visto Mobile Solution platform, and Vodafone K.K. says it will be able to offer subscribers secure, real-time, two-way delivery of email, contacts and calendars to select phones, starting with the new 702NK II, also known as the Nokia 6680 Smartphone. Office Mail is targeted at business professionals at large and small companies and SOHOs as well as at consumers.

3G Network Limitations Define Mobile TV

3G Network Limitations Define Mobile TVIt’s rare for WWJ editors, a jaded bunch, to get too excited about new service announcements, but on 6 December, we jumped on this fresh Vodafone press release that seemed to herald the emergence of the rather cool, made-in-Japan ‘Vodafone Live! BB’ (BB= broadband) music- and video-download service into the Group’s European markets. Vodafone live! BB uses the ‘i-Pod model’ to get large media files onto mobile phones, avoiding network traffic fees and should be, we have always thought, a no-brainer for export to Vodafone Opcos outside Japan. Don’t mobilers everywhere want to save on packet/data fees and get audio and DVD-quality video onto their handsets?

3G Fashion Show Launches i-Channel

3G Fashion Show Launches i-ChannelToday’s WWJ video is full of gorgeous, uhm.. mobiles. This fall, DoCoMo introduced their new 701i models using… models. The 701i-series are stripped down (sans FeliCa) and sexed-up with the carrier’s new ‘i-Channel’ push service for customers too contrarian to even try i-mode. DoCoMo also introduced two hybrid FlashCast enabled designer units; the ‘stylish’ FOMA Dolce from Sharp and the GPS-enabled SA700iS from Sanyo. The Flash lite-based system delivers scrolling news, weather and other information and comes pre configured and already switched on thus showing how easy i-mode really is, according to Mr. i-mode, DoCoMo’s Takeshi Natsuno who took center-stage after the lovely ladies had everyone’s attention.

DoCoMo's Nakamura Marathon Q&A

DoCoMo's Nakamura Marathon Q&AOn 29 September, NTT DoCoMo called a presser at the ultra-buttoned-down Otemachi Press Center and… there was no news! Instead, President and CEO Masao Nakamura faced tough questions from Kyodo, Nikkei, Bloomberg and tech media heavyweights on the latest subscriber and terminal numbers, new services and technologies, and how the carrier will respond to growing challenges such as new 3G licensees, mobile TV and number portability. Is Big D getting a little worried as 3G competition heats up?

KDDI's EZ Channel at CEATEC

KDDI's EZ Channel at CEATECCEATEC, otherwise known as ‘Disneyland for mobi-keeners,’ is possibly planet Earth’s most intense concentration of mobile goodies. KDDI’s “EZ Channel” system, launched together with flat-rate data billing and the high-speed 1X EV-DO “WIN” 3G network in late 2003, is one of the few content services optimised for the network’s 2.4-Mbps nominal speed. WWJ went to CEATEC to grab the details on EZ Channel, which includes a unique overnight download feature that makes use of the quietest time of the day to deliver up to 3 megabytes of video programming to subscribers’ handsets while the network snoozes.

The EZ Channel service allows subscribers to select 3 programs from a menu of 53 channels (by end-October 2005), including news, weather, sports and entertainment favorites such as “Chaku Uta Ranking” (Label Mobile), “Sponge Bob Mobile” (Viacom) and Disney Mobile Wave. A single channel typically runs up to 1MB, and is refreshed 1-3 times per week (some, like weather, are new daily).

Tokyo Game Show 2005

Tokyo Game Show 2005

Packed with international game and console makers out to show the press and public just what they can do, the Tokyo Game Show opened yesterday for a three-day run at Chiba’s Makuhari Messe Convention Center. Eager to showcase their mobile gaming platforms, DoCoMo set up a giant booth splashed in black paint over yellow for a "street style" look. Multiple mobile play stations circling the entire area had event goers lined up ten deep to try out mobile games like Monster Hunter, Sonic, Gundam, and many more. Everyone who plays a game receives different free collectible badges that fit into a DoCoMo badge folder — also free — guaranteeing big crowds here. Last year DoCoMo enjoyed great success with a similar system that handed out collectible cards for each game.

Many handsets come with games already pre-loaded. The new DoCoMo N901iS, for example, has Dragonquest II (from Enix) pre-installed and ready to play. One of the most popular games was a mobile version of Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog in playable demo form. Sonic will come bundled with one FOMA 901i-series phone starting this winter. An engaging game even on mobile, the movements and execution on the FOMA were reminiscent of the old Sega Genesis edition of Sonic. Capcom’s Monster Hunter, another popular game, will be exclusively on DoCoMo phones for a short time this winter but will soon migrate to other carriers’ game platforms according to a DoCoMo spokesman.

New 3G Phones from Vodafone Japan

New 3G Phone from Vodafone JapanJapan’s lost souls and the musically minded are targets for two new W-CDMA 3G handsets from Vodafone Japan, the 903T and 803T, both by Toshiba. Scheduled for an October release, the 903T finally puts Vodafone on the real-time mobile GPS navigation map (rivals DoCoMo and KDDI have had network GPS phones for some time). Vodafone’s “Live Navi” navigation portal goes the competition one better with the addition of GPS global roaming options in the UK, Hong Kong, Holland, Spain and Germany — with more countries to follow. Of course, international roaming and Vodafone live! communication charges will apply, which might make it cheaper just to buy a guidebook.

Here in Japan, the navi service will map out routes according to specialized needs — like fewer stairs or covered access for when those typhoons hit. Vodafone’s main partner in mapping is well-known navigation data supplier Zenrin, which handles most of the live walk-through navigation and panorama shots via a split screen to show users just what they should be seeing on their route. Other partners specialize in train and subway routing, area-based restaurant maps or shopping information, as well as an international travel info site.

Mobile Phones Scan ColorCode on TV

Mobile Phones Scanning Color QR Bar Codes on TVInteractive television programming is walking out the door and onto mobile handsets, pressuring Japanese TV broadcasters to adapt content and programming. Networks TBS and FujiTV are linking up with ColorZip Japan, a new server-based full-color bar-code technology that synchs TV broadcasts to related digital content for sponsored websites, music samples, contests and prize drawings.

We spoke with ColorZip Japan CEO Christopher Craney about how ColorCode is developing the Japanese market. Already in talks with telecom providers over having the code embedded onto new handsets, Chris discusses both corporate and individual marketing campaigns for this next-generation bar-code technology. We also interviewed the CTO, Evan Owens, who demonstrated several applications of their product.

Wireless Japan Expo: Video Report

Wireless Japan Expo: Video ReportLast week’s Wireless Japan Expo was a bit of an anticipointment. With the exception of a few prototype handsets from NEC, WWJ had already reported on much of the technology on display. DoCoMo and Panasonic highlighted the fun of their customizable 901i handsets. One area included display-only custom covers by Japanese artists and designers. MoBaHo!, that joint venture of 88 Japanese and Korean companies beaming 40 channels of video, audio and data programming to handheld receivers, cell phones and car-mounted tuners from their satellite mostly recycled displays from last autumn’s show. Though not really new, Fuji Film’s pocket-sized infrared printer PiVi drew in expo goers with photos next to a mock-up of the Japan National Soccer Team. KDDI showcased their newly announced tie-up with Felica (and Suica) via demonstrations of au 3G phones zipping through JR ticket gates and playing games on Sega arcade machines equipped with Felica readers.

Our guest reporter, freshman media major Christy Nakada on loan from her university in California demonstrates the Felica/au connection at the KDDI booth and brings the PiVi into focus from Fuji in this 4-minute peek-a-boo video from the event.

May the 3G Force Be With You

May the 3G Force Be With YouThe KDDI Designing Studio is under siege by storm troopers for the month of July in a concentrated effort to promote the company’s au Auction Star Wars campaign. They have some pretty cool collectables up for grabs to the highest bidder with all proceeds raised going to charity. WWJ was on hand for the launch and while it was disappointing that Darth Vader would not comment on camera, we did manage to shoot a bit of video at the event just for all the dark-side otaku out there.

KDDI has gone all out to boost the content and related services for this project, which includes everything from custom ring tones and EZ books to Flash games, movie trailers and screen savers. It will be interesting to see what the winning bids are on approximately 20 separate lots donated by Lucas Films, you’ll have until 17 August to get a limited edition — one of only 500 made — 24kt, solid-gold C3PO. We’d rather have a chance to win the ubercool Anakin Skywalker Light Saber that looks like it really works!