Most Popular Japanese Handsets in 2006

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.

Japan Mobile Industry News Mash-up

It’s been a rather hectic few weeks here, as mentioned at the end of our latest WWJ Newsletter, so we thought a chocolate covered bundle of tidbits would be in order today. With 3GSM running this week in Barcelona, on top of the usual post January speed cycle, we’ve clipped over a dozen highlights together for a sweetheart ‘Valentines Eve’ post chalk full of wireless news goodies collected over the last little while, just for you after the jump.

Year of the Pig Shaping up as Golden

What’s this?? … mobs of Flying Ketai Pigs..?

Actually, 2007 promises to be far more interesting than even that cheeky title! Here goes our official WWJ Fearless Forecast for 2007 – all in one – huge – breath!

2007 promises to be far more interesting than even that cheeky title! Here goes our official WWJ Fearless Forecast for 2007 – all in one – huge – breath! M-commerce: The carriers? FeliCa-based services will continue to grab serious market share. At the end of 2006, DoCoMo had over 1 mln customers for their DCMX mobile credit-card service alone, not to mention the 18.3 mn regular FeliCa handsets in use as of 31 December. KDDI and SoftBank have FeliCa user bases in the millions as well.. grab a cuppa for after the jump!

SoftBank Mobile Announces New 3G Phones

SoftBank Mobile Announces New 3G Phones by Mobikyo KKSoftBank Mobile rounded out the Japanese operators spring handset announcement rush this week by announcing a new fleet of models – Flash site Here – with major bling factor. According to the companies announcement most models will be available by March which is traditionally the busiest handset replacement month of the year in Japan as the new academic and fiscal year begins on April 1st. Masayoshi Son did his best Steve Jobs impersonation, black turtle-neck and all, however there was no announcement related to the recent news from MacWorld.

Models of interest include the 911T by Toshiba, a candybar slider with a huge 3-inch screen running on high speed HSDPA has a 3.2-megapixel camera, 1GB of internal memory, 1Seg digital tv, it’s FeliCa m-commerce enabled and comes complete with a pair of Oakley Thumps which connect via bluetooth. Other new handset highlights include; the 812SH Pantone series by Sharp (pictured right) with 20 different colors to choose from, the 812T Kodomobile model designed especially for children and Nokia’s E-61 Communicator – labeled as X01NK – which has Japanese Kanji text input and comes Wi-Fi enabled.

There are three new phones from Samsung including the 708SC slider which claims the title for the worlds thinnest 3G handset at a mere 8.4mm thick and the 707SC Swarovski Crystal version which is a follow-up to the earlier 705SH model [.jpg image] which sold-out the day it was launched last fall.

There have been over 30 new handset models announced by the three main operators during the last week for content and application developers, industry wags and ultimately the marketplace at large to chew over.. whew! WWJ subscribers login for more comments, photos and a video-link to watch the actual presentation (70 minute runtime) from the press conference held in Shinagawa on Thursday.

PS3 Update Includes FeliCa

Sony Computer Entertainment Japan announced [in Japanese] a PS3 firmware update will be available from 24 January in Japan only. The new 1.50 version includes support for FeliCa, the companies m-commerce system. Customers with a USB connected PaSoRi reader will be able to use their osaifu ketai or traditional EDY card to buy games over the Playstation Network.

KDDI Unveils 10 New 3G Cellphones for Spring 2007

 KDDI Unveils 10 New 3G Cellphones for Spring 2007 by Mobikyo KK

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.

 KDDI Unveils 10 New 3G Cellphones for Spring 2007 by Mobikyo KK

Japan's Mobile Year in Review

It was the best of times, it was… well, it really was the best of times! Also, as the famous line from Dickens goes, it was the age of wisdom, the age of foolishness and the season of.. Mobile!

Looking back on 2006, it’s hard to decide which news from Japan’s mobile scene was the most spectacular. Vodafone pulled out, Softbank stood up, mobile number portability struck, a record number of new handsets hit the street and – as December winds down – Motorola and Samsung are shipping first foreign-made 3G units into Japan.

A ‘quick’ look at what caught WWJ’s attention in ’06 after the jump.

Sony, NXP Announce Mobile Wallet JV

Technology companies and mobile operators joined forces on Monday to plan a global standard for electronic wallets in mobile phones. Sony Corp. from Japan and Netherlands-based NXP Semiconductors said they will create a joint venture, to be established by the middle of next year, that will plan, develop, produce and market a secure chip that will include both companies’ contactless chip card formats: Mifare and FeliCa.

Japan's Still the World's High-Tech Testbed

This past week, WWJ’s own Lawrence Cosh-Ishii, our hard-working director of digital media (and pretty much everything else in our humble shop), appeared on US Web radio program "Into Tomorrow," hosted by Dave Graveline. Dave and his crew pop over to Tokyo each year for the annual CEATEC consumer tech show, and he makes it his business to hook up with a slate of guests who can provide insidery gen on what’s happening in Japan…

Mobile Payments Research Report

Strategy Analytics released this new report ‘Mobile Contactless Payments – Growth on the Horizon’ analyzing payment for goods or services using phones instead of cash, credit or debit cards. At a global level, activity in the mobile phone contactless payment market today is still negligible; over the past two years the only bright point has been the FeliCa service in Japan, which has provided a model for the speed with which services can take off if the right players and the right structure are put in place. The report estimates that FeliCa will drive $900 million worth of payments in Japan during 2006.