Disney Japan Prepares for Launch

Walt Disney Japan held a press conference in Tokyo to introduce their new “Disney Mobile” service which is slated for public launch on March 1st. Although the company will run the business as an MVNO, it emphasized that the service will be distributed in collaboration with SoftBank Mobile with the same “White Plan” price package offerings. There’s a nice Flash video on the home page Here.

Sharp Ships 5-Million 1Seg TV Phones

Sharp announced on Friday that it has passed the five-million mark for shipments of 1Seg digital tv phones in Japan. Since releasing its first hanset in May 2006 – originally introduced by Vodafone KK – Sharp has deployed a total of eight models across all three operators. By reaching this milestone in less than 18 months, Sharp becomes the first OEM in the industry to ship five million 1Seg handsets.

Mobidec 2007 — Even Bigger and Better

The Mobile Contents Forum (MCF) is gearing up for the Mobidec 2007 conference again this year to be held on 27 November at the swanky Meguro Gajoen in Tokyo. Their stated focus topics for the popular annual industry event include; SEM, SEO, advertising, user-generated content, m-commerce and digital tv broadcasting for mobile. We’ve always enjoyed this gathering in years past and look forward to attending again in November!

Digital TV for American Mobile Phones

According to this article, American broadcasters are quietly planning to beam the stations signal to cellphones, video iPods, in-car DVD players and other gadgets that would be equipped with TV tuners. The high-quality digital tv broadcasts likely would start in 2009. The new effort could pump fresh life into stations that have steadily lost viewers to cable TV, the Web, game players and mobile phones.

AU Design Project Announces InfoBar2

Based on the success of the original InfoBar model, the first handset from KDDI’s in-house design team which was released in October 2003, followed by the same candy bar styled Talby by Marc Newson a year later, the AU Design Project has just announced the long-awaited InfoBar2. Available on Oct.31st in four colors, this latest model touts a 2.6-wide inch QVGA organic EL display with a 1Seg digital tv tuner, FeliCa m-commerce and GPS functionality. The full specs (in Japanese) are available Here.

1Seg Digital TV Handset Market Growing

Cumulative shipments of handsets that can receive so-called 1Seg digital TV broadcasts totaled 11.7 mln units at the end of July according to the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association. Overall unit shipments climbed 54.6 pct in July from a year before to 5,348,000 units, surpassing five million for the second straight month.

Japan Mobile Phone Sales for Q2 of 2007

Gartner is reporting that worldwide sales of mobile phones to end users in the second quarter of 2007 reached 270.9 million units, a 17.4 per cent increase from the same period last year. In Japan, sales to end users in the second quarter of 2007 were 12.1 million units, an increase of 10.3 per cent from the second quarter of 2006 but a decline of 17.5 percent from the first quarter of 2007.

Japan Mobile Content Market Nears 1 Tln Yen

According to a recent report, Japan’s mobile content marketplace in 2006 was worth some ¥928.5 billion, (approx. $800 million) posting an increase of 129% year-on-year. Noted by category the mobile content market, transactions for fee-based content, comprised ¥366.1 billion, marking an increase of 116% over 2005. Mobile commerce — including hard goods, services, and transactions — made up ¥562.4 billion, an increase of 138% over final results for fiscal 2005.

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