CIAJ Study of Cellular Phone Use

The CIAJ has released their annual report on cellular phone trends in Japan. This year’s study focuses on market trends in handset replacement purchases since the launch of number portability (MNP), the uses of 3G handsets, changes in viewing trends of one-segment digital tv broadcasts with the abundant availability of compatible handsets and interest in other functions, such as m-commerce.

Yomu.TV Project Announced

NHK and Index have announced their intent to develop a video search application dedicated for digital tv on mobile phones. Yomu.TV effectively uses title text in the broadcast captioning as meta data to access programs by the keyword and will apparently even offer specific scene retrieval. Index will take charge of the technical intelligence concerning the cellphone design development while NHK is responsible for the applications core design and production.

Sharp Develops Dual-Mode TV Tuner

Sharp has announced the upcoming availability of their new VA3B5EZ915 dual-mode tuner module, which is capable of receiving both DVB-H and T-DMB terrestrial digital tv broadcasts, a world first. The module also claims to be the smallest in size (8.0 x 8.0 x 1.25 mm) while operating at the lowest power consumption (43 mW). Samples, priced at ¥20,000, start shipping in July with a target production capacity of 300,000 units per month.

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.

MediaFLO Conference in Tokyo

Qualcomm has announced that it will host the first-ever MediaFLO Conference in Tokyo to provide the latest information about their mobile broadcast solution. The event will take place on Friday, June 8 at 14:00 at the Hotel Okura with Omar Javaid, vice president, business development, Qualcomm MediaFLO Technologies, providing a global market status presentation. WWJ interviewed Ali Zamari, international business development manager for MediaFLO, at the Wireless Japan tradeshow last year.

DoCoMo 2.0 — Message Lost in Translation?

DoCoMo 2.0 -- Message Lost in Translation? by Mobikyo KKOn Monday 23 April NTT DoCoMo unveiled their latest 3G handsets, the 904i-series, at a press conference held here in downtown Tokyo.

WWJ pointed to this webcast of their presentation, which clearly stated from the very beginning the new “DoCoMo 2.0” campaign theme.

We shouldn’t really be surprised that the main message, from Japan’s dominant mobile operator, contained in the announcement somehow managed to get 2.0 attention from the mainstream media. With few exceptions, the entire tech web focused on the motion-sensor for gaming application. Few if any noted how ironic it was that while the company insisted it was going to “focus on offering unique applications and services that will be difficult for the competition to duplicate” they were in fact introducing a functionality which was originally made available in Japan [video here] by Vodafone and Sharp over two years ago.

Perhaps the gritty details — such as the fact that all five new models will (of course) ship pre-installed with the Osaifu-Keitai FeliCa mobile wallet together with related security services — are less appealing to the overseas media than Nokia’s recent announcement that they, too, have the mobile wallet urge?

To be sure, there were a few interesting new offerings in Natsuno-san’s presentation, such as the 2-in-1 dual-identity option and flat-rate access to Napster’s full music library service. However, one of the main observations we take away from this news is that the rest of the world still tends to focus only on the most quirky headlines (wait until the MSM find out about this one). WWJ subscribers login for our thoughts on this latest development.

New 1Seg Digital TV Tuner Chip

MaxLinear has announced sampling availability of their new MxL7001 IC for mobile TV at 1/10th the packaged area of their MxL5000-family which set the previous record for size. The tuner supports both ISDB-T 1-segment and 3-segment applications and will be available in production quantities early summer 2007. According to the press release, several OEMs are in the latter stages of developing MxL7001 based products to be launched this summer.

Is Mobile 2.0 Really Just Hype?

Paul Golding at Wireless Wanders posted an interesting op-ed about the hype surrounding mobile 2.0. While it’s clear that he’s looking at this from a Euro/US perspective – especially on the device side – however, we have no doubt there are some valid points contained therein. At the same time it should be also noted that Impress R&D (div. of the major Tokyo-based publisher) released a book last summer called Mobile 2.0 [in Japanese] which would likely shed a little more light on what is actually possible, at least in Japan.

Panasonic PEAKS 3G Phone

We’ve noticed an unusually agressive ad campaign for the new P903iTV phone from Panasonic over the last few weeks. This latest handset, which was released in late February as the follow-up to the Japan’s original 1Seg. digital tv debut unit for DoCoMo, touts an improved “vibrant screen” display. Like Sony with the Bravia line or Sharp’s trendsetting Aquos brand before them, Panasonic has based this product on the same “PEAKS” processor technology used with their home television offering. Check-out this video from their website which is running here in prime-time TV slots.

Emobile Launches Mobile Broadband

Emobile launched its so-called “Mobile Broadband” services, 16-months after the ministry awarded their new license, at an opening ceremony held at Bic Camera’s Yurakucho store in Tokyo this weekend. The company put two debut models on sale: its keyboard-equipped EM ONE terminal by Sharp (details here), which allows users to connect at HSDPA speed and view 1Seg digital tv broadcasting, and a card-type model for laptop computers.