Video Round-up: Ultra-cool Mobile Tech at Tokyo's CEATEC 2006

Video Round-up: Ultra-cool Mobile Tech at Tokyo’s CEATEC 2006Last week, Tokyo’s annual CEATEC show (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) was once again a showcase for some of the coolest mobile technology on Planet Earth. Today’s video round-up features audio QR, Fujitsu’s ‘UB Wall‘ – an ultra-high-tech, one-to-one customized video advertising display – and FP codes, and – not to be missed – NTT DoCoMo’s 3G mobile-based ‘Drunk Driver’ detector, apparently in high demand by bus companies and trucking firms.

Organizers said that the consumer electronics event drew 550,732 during the public days, 4-7 October, while WWJ ducked in out of the torrential rain during the press & industry day on 3 October, when the crowds weren’t quite as waku (wild).

WWJ thinks the FP codes (essentially, invisible barcodes) and audio QR technology stands a pretty good chance of fast adoption, given the masses of rabid advertising agencies out there trying to capitalize on the growing popularity of (a) camera phones that grab info via QR code and (b) digital broadcasting. An audio QR code is simply broadcast as metadata in a digital audio signal, such that the browser displays text, a clickable URL or other advertising message while you listen to a radio or tv program on a suitably enabled mobile phone. But for sheer outdoor-advertising-meets-mobile marketing genius, the UB Wall can’t be beat!

SoftBank Announces HTC & HSDPA

SoftBank Mobile and HTC Corp. held a press conference at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo today to annouce 14 October as roll-out date for HTC’s X01HT smartphone which is compatible with the carrier’s new high-speed HSDPA 3.5G network. SoftBank also confirmed their new dual-flat-rate pricing plan offer of unlimited data usage for 9,800jpy per month with a limited time trial offer of 5,700jpy until January 2007. We have video here of the same unit at DoCoMo’s booth during the Wireless Japan 2006 trade show in July.

DoCoMo September Presser: Nakamura Emphasizes 3G Coverage

The September presser with NTT DoCoMo’s President Nakamura contained some interesting bits of info on 3G coverage; WWJ subscribers can log in and listen to the entire event on MP3 audio (see today’s Viewpoint).

Yes, I know that there has been an ongoing drumbeat in the media reporting spotty coverage for FOMA users. But Nakamura devoted a lot of time to explaining their ongoing and upcoming base station and 3G FOMA network coverage plans, emphasizing that the carrier would boost coverage at “JR stations, universities, junior colleges and high schools.”

Mobile TV Embedded e-Coupon System

Nippon Television Network (NTV) and NTT DoCoMo have jointly developed a system to distribute and store video-embedded e-coupons and e-cards to and in cellular phones capable of receiving one-seg terrestrial digital broadcasting. The system uses the one-seg data broadcasting band to automatically store broadcasting program information in a one-seg-capable handset regardless of whether or not it displays broadcast video. NTV and DoCoMo are considering distributing location-dependent coupons and coupons intended for users with target attributes.

SoftBank Announces 5-Megapixel Cameraphone

SoftBank Mobile announced yesterday it will begin sales of the Sharp 910SH [ .jpg ] 5-megapixel cameraphone in October. According to the specifications, the new model touts a 2.4-inch VGA view finder with blurring correction and a multi-point auto-focus system. Also noted, it has a 3-speed optical zoom feature, bluetooth and QR barcode reader along with face-recognition capability for its embedded FeliCa osaifu ketai (wallet-phone) function.

M-Commerce Convergence Announced

East Japan Railway Company (JR East), NTT DoCoMo, JCB, and bitWallet just announced that they have agreed to share a common platform to enable their e-payment brands — Suica, iD, QUICPay and Edy — to share the same point-of-sale reader/writer device and data center. The system is expected to begin commercial operation with the Suica and iD brands in January 2007, with QUICPay and Edy [ .jpg image ] to be added subsequently.

DoCoMo Mobile Credit: Everything You Know About 3G is Useless

DoCoMo Mobile Credit: Everything You Know About 3G is Useless by Mobikyo KKWWJ has spotted the first presence of NTT DoCoMo’s ‘DCMX’ mobile credit (card) service on the streets of Tokyo and, once again, the future has arrived. Lawrence Cosh-Ishii, WWJ’s director of digital media, en route to a central Tokyo video shoot a few days ago, spied the first street-level advert for retail goods payable via DCMX (image at right).

Predictably, the pitch came from Girl’s Walker, Xavel’s icon of community-centric, user-recommended mobile shopping, which earned the company Pharaonic riches long before dusty old ‘blogs’ were ever invented. Girl’s Walker is touting a special fall line of fashionable goods that can be paid for via “DoCoMo credit,” which takes the form of a real credit payment for adults, or the purchase cost is added to the monthly phone bill, for cash-flush, under-age teens. Note no reference to any sort of ‘card’ – the service is the phone, and credit ‘cards’ are oh-so-1970s.

DCMX is shaping up to be the main pillar in DoCoMo’s consumer financial services strategy that will lock in mobilers and secure massive revenues long after 3G – and the mere delivery of mobile digital content – has become a low-margin sideline that markets elsewhere still can’t comprehend. DCMX isn’t merely the the ‘Next Big Thing’ – it’s everything; and it’s going to make 3G itself redundant (WWJ subscribers log in for full viewpoint and details on the DCMX mobile credit service).

JR Boosts m-Commerce and Survey Results

JR has announced they will drop the previous requirement to have the company’s “View” credit card in order to take advantage of their Mobile Suica service as of 21 October. They have also indicated that by sometime in December this year, SoftBank Mobile customers with FeliCa-enabled handsets (no model types announced) will also finally be able to use JR’s m-commerce system.

KDDI in PR Blitz

KDDI has just added a few tasty tidbits on their recent announcements: the new W43S handset by Sony Ericsson is ready to roll as of Friday, 15 September, and they will have some interesting new BREW titles (including mobile multiplayers) on display at next week’s Tokyo Game Show. As an apparent counter measure to the free iPod Nano ‘bribe’ just announced by SoftBank Mobile, KDDI has also introduced the new “Large Satisfaction Campaign,” which will offer a variety of prizes for new users.. whew!