3G Phones Sales Jump in August

According to Seeking Alpha, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association [JEITA], stated mobile phone shipments in Japan has climbed 39.1 percent to hit a total of 4.2 million units in August. “The industry group attributed greatly the rise in the shipments to a surge in the number of handsets able to receive digital terrestrial television broadcasts. The report said that shipments of 3G handsets climbed 50.7 percent on year to 4 million units, compared to shipments of 2G handsets went down 93 pct to 17,000 units.”

Viewpoint: What Leads Mobile in Japan?

Holographic projection demo at DoCoMo R&D Labs, November 2006 ©MobikyoThe genesis of today’s Viewpoint was back in March, when we spotted this op-ed referring to Japan mobile that had stated: “What’s different about the Japanese mobile market is that innovation is moving toward business models and marketing tactics instead of technical features and functions.” That op-ed piece in turn cited a new research report on eMarketer, “Japan: Marketing to a Mobile Society,” which insisted: “What stands out in the current Japanese experience is the fact that the center of gravity for getting through to Japanese mobile users has shifted in favor of business models and marketing tactics as opposed to new technical features and mobile phone functions.”

We took exception to both these as serious mis-analyses of the cornerstone role that technological innovation and network infrastructure competition have played – and continue to play – in powering Japan’s mobile success story. After contact with the eMarketer editors, we agreed to write separate opinion pieces, which we would both republish side-by-side in our newsletters, as an excellent way to hash out the topic and let you – our collective readers – decide.

Sadly, the marketing guys at eMarketer quashed the idea, as the subject and the detailed discussion would be “too technical a topic for our [eMarketer’s] newsletter.” But we know that WWJ readers are more than smart enough to figure out for themselves what’s really driving the mobile Internet in Japan! So we wished the eMarketer editors best of luck in the future, again gave thanks that WWJ doesn’t have any meddling marketing guys, and herewith present to you our Viewpoint.
(Subscribers login to access the full article by WWJ editor Daniel Scuka)

Image: Holographic projection demo at NTT DoCoMo R&D Labs, November 2006 ©Mobikyo

KDDI Announces AU One Mail

KDDI has announced it’s plan to offer a bundled e-mail service, available on both PC and mobile, powered by Googles Gmail platform. The free service, branded “AU One Mail”, is available only to the companies CDMA 1X WIN customers and will provide up to 2GB of storage when it debuts in late September. KDDI introduced the Google search feature for its EZWeb mobile web service in July ’06.

Failure to execute doesn't mean i-mode is dead (yet)

After last week’s O2 and Telstra i-mode cancellation news came out, it took hardly any time at all for the obfuscation and mis-analyses to hit the Web.

Failure to execute doesn't mean that i-mode is dead (yet)

The news, in case you missed it, confirmed that Australia’s Telstra would, and the UK’s O2 most likely would, end their i-mode services; Telstra will terminate i-mode support at the end of this year, while O2 will stop selling new handsets this month and phase the service out over the next two years.

O2 UK was reported to have 260,000 active users, a dozen i-mode-compatible handsets and some 150 sites; O2 Ireland has not stated their subscriber numbers, but the Times said total O2 subscribers were 546,000, implying that Ireland had 286,000 i-moders. Telstra reportedly has fewer than 60,000 subscribers. WWJ members login for the full skinny.

SoftBank Group to Trial Femtocell

SoftBank announced they have received a permit from the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications to run femtocell trials. The experiment, using 2GHz belt, will be conducted in partnership with ip.access, Motorola, Alcatel Lucent, Ericsson Japan, Samsung, Sonas, Ubiquisys and NEC. Femtocell is a micro cellular phone base station that can be set it up in the home or office and offer mobile handsets voice services via existing fixed-line ADSL connections.

Zentek Partners for DVB-H

Zentek announced a strategic partnership with UDcast to provide the Japanese and Far East Asia markets with DVB-H enabled products. Zentek will act as the reseller and integrator for in these markets to bring the tools for Japanese manufacturers and Asian operators. In Japan, the equipment provided by UDcast and Zentek will enable manufacturers to develop and produce mobile phones, notebooks, chipsets, in-car TV receivers and other devices compatible with DVB-H technology.

Toshiba Pushing NAND Memory

Toshiba has announced a new series of embedded NAND Flash memories for mobile phones offering both a configurable single-level cell (SLC) memory area and a multi-level cell (MLC) memory area, allowing applications and data to be stored on the same chip. The five memories in the mobileLBA-NAND series range in capacity from 2- to 32-gigabits(1) (Gb). The 2Gb, 4Gb and 8Gb versions can be allocated as SLC up to their full capacity, while the 16Gb and 32Gb versions can support up to 8Gb of SLC, offering manufacturers greater flexibility in allocating memory in their products. Samples of mobileLBA-NAND packaged in MCPs will be available from August 2007.

KDDI Announces 15 New Handsets

Mark May 22 on your calendar under Tokyo mobile madness. In the space of a few hours we had an avalanche of new handset models – 27 in all – announced by both KDDI au and (see our previous post) SoftBank Mobile. The Okura hotel was swarming at 10am as the wraps came off au’s Summer 2007 lineup and of course they have their usual dedicated, and slick, Flash site online Here. It will take us a little while to plow through the complete details of each model, available in Japanese, meanwhile we have compiled a quick overview for you after the jump.

Sharp Reports Mobile Sales Up 29 Percent

Profit at Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp. jumped 15 percent in the latest fiscal year on strong sales of flat-panel televisions and mobile phones according to results reported this week. Net income surged to 101.7 billion yen (US$861.9 million) in the year through March, while sales climbed 12 percent to 3.13 trillion yen (US$26.5 billion), Sharp said in a news release.