In a one-two punch for Japan mobile tech watchers on Monday KDDI announced 10 new models for the companies spring 2008 sales campaign. The line-up includes models from; Toshiba, Sony Ericsson, Kyocera, Panasonic PanTech&Curitel, Casio, Hitachi, and Sanyo. For those lucky enough to be in Tokyo the ultra-trendy Designing Studio in Harajuku will have the whole fleet on display for touch & try. Flash Gallery Here and more details after the hop.
Casio expects a 10 billion yen ($86 million) investment in new mobile phone models to return a profit in the first year, helped by sales of handsets equipped with its Exilim camera and G-Shock watch technologies. The handsets, based on the W-CDMA standard, will be sold at a higher profit margin than earlier models, said Tateki Ohishi, chief executive officer of Casio Hitachi Mobile Communications Co., the Tokyo-based company’s venture with Hitachi Ltd. Full Story Here.
DoCoMo announced yesterday that they have agreed to form a joint venture company with Casio to provide digital payment systems, mainly for DoCoMo’s iD mobile credit-card platform, and related customer relationship management services. Combining Casio’s digital cash-register technologies and retail support know-how with DoCoMo’s expertise in mobile payments, the joint venture, to be named CXD NEXT, will develop services centered around Casio’s new cash register with virtual private network capability and reader/writer compatibility for mobile e-wallet services.
On 29 May, BusinessWeek ran an article, "Japan: Cheap Cell Phones at What Price" aiming to demystify Japan’s complex carrier subsidy situation. The writer, Kenji Hall, is an astute observer of this country’s mobile scene, but he missed the mark on several key points and it’s worth reviewing these in detail…
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.
Shares of Casio Computer Co. fell the most in 32 years after the company missed its profit target and unveiled plans to expand in the crowded mobile-phone market. The stock tumbled by the 400-yen daily limit, or 16 percent, to 2,025 yen in Tokyo, erasing $931 million from its market value. Brokerages including HSBC Holdings Plc downgraded the stock after the company reported annual profit of 25.1 billion yen ($209 million), missing its own estimate by 9 percent.
We caught a feature article on a domestic mobile news site that ranked Japan’s most popular selling models for last year. For KDDI/au the W41CA by Casio was put on the market in February and maintained top place for almost 33 weeks. The continued success of that model was attributed to the feature set which includes; EZ FeliCa (mobile wallet), FM radio tuner, PC Site Viewer (Opera browser) and 2.6-inch wide screen display. The second half sales were dominated by the W43S “Walkman Phone” by Sony Ericsson. See the full ranking list after the jump.
KDDI announced their spring 2007 handset line-up this week with ten new 3G models focused on form and function. The latest addition to their Au Design Project, the Media Skin concept by Tokujin Yoshioka, was introduced along with this announcement that it will go on display with earlier offerings – the Infobar, Talby and Neon – at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The other models on deck are coming from Toshiba (W51T and W52T), Casio (W51CA), Sanyo (W51SA), Kyocera (W51K), Hitachi (W51H), Sony Ericsson (W51S), the second-ever model from Sharp (W51SH) – a popular design originally introduced by Vodafone in spring 2006 (and also recently available from DoCoMo) – plus a first-time offer by top-tier maker Panasonic (W51P).
The W52T, a candybar slider with a wide VGA 480×800 resolution 3-inch screen, a 3.2-megapixel camera and 1GB of on-board memory [.jpg image] stood out as quite impressive during our quick test drive. An immediate and interesting observation is that eight of the ten handsets are 1 Seg digital-TV enabled, which should clearly signal (pardon the pun) that KDDI is bullish on broadcast TV content and services. Otherwise, most have the FeliCa mobile wallet function and the usual goodies such as GPS, PC Site Viewer, Hello Messenger and – of course – all units are running on BREW and come with the EZ suite of mobile content (books, games, auctions etc.) and are LISMO music ready.
The carriers and handset makers are pumping full blast with mobile number portability pushing everyone to improve and deliver better product offering. DoCoMo also announced ten new phones this week while SoftBank is expected to introduce their line-up soon as well. March is traditionally the busiest handset replacement month of the year in Japan, as the new academic and fiscal year begins April 1st; we’ll be looking forward to the official TCA subscriber results.
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.
NTT DoCoMo and Hutchison Essar announced today an agreement under which Hutch will launch the i-mode mobile service in India within 2007. DoCoMo will license the patented technologies and know-how needed for Hutch to offer i-mode on GSM, GPRS and W-CDMA networks. Preparations are also underway to launch i-mode in Hong Kong, Macao and the Philippines. DoCoMo plans to expand the service to a total of 26 countries/regions in the future.