Teenagers nabbed playing badger game

Nine teenagers have been arrested for luring timid men to secluded locations around Tokyo and robbing them, police said Thursday. The boys admitted to playing the badger game after reading a magazine article saying that such a trick was “lucrative” because few victims would report the affair to police when lured by women and forced to pay money.

USA: Better than Europe for i-mode?

In the US, data speeds rock: “With my Sprint PCS service I’ve had long downloads with speeds of 59 to 84.4 kbps. In a video test I had a burst of up to 104 kbps.” But is culture significant? “People in the United States have less trouble talking to each other than do people in Japan – many teenagers here actually prefer sending mail to talking, not only because it’s cheaper, but because it’s easier for them to say what they want to say.”

NTT DoCoMo Unveils 505i Series i-mode Mobile Phones

NTT DoCoMo today unveiled specifications of its new 505i mobile phones, a series of six enhanced PDC (2G)-compatible models equipped for advanced i-appli applications based on Macromedia Flash and Java technology. Each 505i model also comes with a camera, infrared port, and external memory slot. DoCoMo expects to introduce the models one by one beginning in mid-May.

Disney Dour on US Mobile; Games Don't Rock; Users Don't Use

Disney Internet Group is not expecting its US operations to approach its success in Japan anytime in the near future, one of their executives told me. The guess here is that things will change when color phones saturate the market. One in every three cell phones in the US will have a color display within 6 months, according to Seamus McAteer at Zelos Group, a San Francisco-based technology consulting firm.

Cell-Based Location Services on Target and Japan has Cheapest WLAN on Earth

So far, Japanese carriers haven’t really pushed location services as stand-alone products; they’re sold as “part of” a handset and there are no handsets that are sold only as, or primarily for, navi-service capabilities. Sure, KDDI did do a big marketing push when their first GPS-enabled keitai hit the market in December 2001, but now it’s just one more feature onboard their fleet (in the January catalog, KDDI showed six of 11 handsets as having GPS capability). Also: Looks like Japan’s WLAN market – in addition to being highly fragmented – is one of the cheapest.

Will Japan BREW Jolt Java?

Will Japan BREW Jolt Java?After a two-year business strategy planning pause, BREW finally launched in Japan last month. From the consumer point of view, BREW and Java work more or less the same: you navigate a menu, select an application, download it, then run it. There’s little to chose on a technology basis. But BREW – like 3G – may be able to gain a leg up on Java (DoCoMo’s favored choice) if KDDI can continue to roll out cool, fun, cheap, feature-laden (and BREW-enabled) handsets – much as the carrier has done with 3G. Now that KDDI has finally rolled out BREW, we wonder how competition with Java will unfold in 2003? Ironically, BREW’s future may be intimately tied up with that of 3G.

Mobile Software Companies Expand Overseas

Mobile Software Companies Expand OverseasLast year, NTT DoCoMo exported the successful i-mode concept overseas. A crucial part of that concept is the much talked-about mobile content and service provider “ecosystem” and – sure enough – Japan’s ecosystem players are following Big D’s path. Today we focus on three smaller players that have found honest-to-goodness cash revenue in Europe due at least in part to their Japan antecedents. Ironically, none are working with any of the baby i-modes over there, showing you don’t need DoCoMo to do what DoCoMo does – anywhere.

Mobile Marketing is the Mobile Internet

Morinaga is a great example of the content providers that organize their offerings into more sophisticated “mini platforms” that support sales, marketing, and promotion campaigns for off-line products. In other words, they provide mobile content (images, ring tones, etc.) as part of an overall marketing effort (either for themselves or for clients) – usually combined with PC Web or non-electronic channels.