ScanR Announces New Service for Japan

US-based ScanR will provide their new service to KDDI customers via the EZWeb official contents portal as of October 4th 2007, press release [in Japanese] Here. “ScanR” creates PDF files of documents and business cards from user-generated cameraphone images, and stores those files online to deliver via FAX or e-mail. The service, which can also automatically transcode business card information into file data to be compiled onto the address book of your mobile phone, is on display in KDDI’s booth at CEATEC this week.

Targeted Ads Planned for AU-One

KDDI will analyze the browsing activity of their “au one” customers from this autumn and introduce targeted advertisements that match the history preference of the individual. Mediba and and DAC (digital advertising consortium) will jointly develop this technique and according to this press release it’s introduction into mobility will be the first in Japan.

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.

SoftBank Mobile Rockin in May

When the TCA subscriber numbers came out on Thursday the champange corks were popping in Shiodome. For the first time ever the number 3 operator (J-Phone, then Vodafone and now SoftBank) gained the most net customers (162,400) on the month beating KDDI’s 138,500 and nearly double DoCoMo’s 82,700. While their Yahoo! portal also added more clients than EZweb and i-mode the company also managed to boost their 3G accounts up by nearly 500,000 month-on-month to total 8.6 million or 50% of their total subscriber base.

Napster Japan – The First Six Months

On October 3 of last year, Napster Japan launched the first online music subscription service in Japan with an ‘all-you-can-eat’ model – allowing subscribers to download and play as much music as they like for a flat monthly fee. Accompanied by a massive marketing campaign featuring oversized bar-code poster ads, the Napster Japan launch attracted a great deal of attention and media coverage. When the company announced that over 2 million songs had been ‘shifted’ (downloaded for playing) in the first week after launch, it looked as though Napster might well be on track to replace iTunes as Japan’s most popular online music service. So how have the first six months gone for Japan’s first and (so far) only online subscription music service?

EZ News Flash Hits 1 Million Users

KDDI has announced the number of users for their EZ news flash service exceeded one million people
on Saturday, February 17 this year. EZ news flash launched on Thursday, September 21, 2006 as an
information delivery service, weather news for example with BCMCS to deliver instant and updating multicast information to the standby screen of subscribers mobile phone. The service charges a small information fee while data charge is free.

Cutting Back on Mobile Phone Bills in 2007

NEPRO JAPAN recently published the results of a survey into economising on one’s mobile phone bill. On one day in mid-December of last year they questioned 3,425 people across the three main Japanese carriers, DoCoMo’s iMode, Softbank’s Yahoo! Keitai and au and TU-KA’s EZweb, by means of a public poll available through the main menus of all three carriers’ systems. 44% of the sample were male; 3% were teenagers, 35% in their twenties, 44% in their thirties, and 18% aged forty and over. Similar questions were asked of a similar group around the same time last year, so one can perhaps observe a trend over the past year. Full details with graphs Here.

KDDI Selects Openwave Mercury Browser

Openwave today announced that their Mercury Edition Mobile Browser has been chosen to power KDDI’s EZWeb services. The browser will be the third generation of Openwave software on KDDI handsets and further strengthens the commitment from KDDI and Openwave to deliver the most compelling mobile services available in the Japan market today.