Mobile Software Goes Overseas

While a slowdown in new announcements can be expected during the upcoming shogatsu New Year holiday period, 2003 promises to provide even more activity now that UK-based Vodafone has launched a 3G network in Japan and is expected to seek know-how and technology from Japan for its operations elsewhere. Further, Japanese software developers are sure to continue looking outside this country’s near-saturated market for new sales opportunities.

How Developers Make Mobile Applications Work

How Developers Make Mobile Applications WorkIf you’re going to build one of those tiny i-mode websites or create a downloadable Java application (Games, anyone?), then you’re going to have to test your software before going live – and that means using emulator tools. If you don’t, you have to use actual handsets for testing and the packet fees would wipe out even the fattest bank account. We visit leading provider Zentek, and then speak with Tokyo University expert Dr. Sam Joseph – who has a lot of experience in making emulators actually emulate. Want to know what portion of a mobile project’s costs are consumed by testing prior to launch? Watch this one.

Love, War, Wireless Internet, and Nokia VP on Mobile Software

DoCoMo’s recent troubles highlight a fundamental aspect of Japan’s wireless Internet revolution that I haven’t seen discussed much – namely, the sheer improbability of it all. In 1999 and 2000, during the ascendancy of i-mode, headlines and media quotes from interested parties were quick to praise the insight and innovation of those involved in i-mode’s creation, including the famous Enoki-Matsunaga-Natsuno troika as well as sundry network engineers, Internet-savvy marketers, and handset designers both inside DoCoMo and out.

CEATEC: Cell Phones Like No Others on Earth

CEATEC: Cell Phones Like No Others on EarthOne of the best aspects of working at WWJ in Japan – the country most responsible for creating the post-war consumer electronics revolution – has to be covering the trade shows. October’s CEATEC is one of Asia’s coolest (and largest) electronics showcase events, and Japan’s cell-phone makers rolled out their very best gear. We speak with Sharp about camera keitai (What’s the cost to add a camera-thingy to a phone?), Hitachi about cell phones morphing into computers (cellys now have 133-MHz CPUs – same as PCs used to), and take a look at J-Phone’s first 3G handset from Sanyo. One of our best programs to date!

Sun Microsystems VP On Java in Japan

Sun Microsystems VP On Java in JapanOur final program from Sun’s JavaOne conference sees Rich Green, VP and General Manager for Java software, fielding questions on the content provider ecosystem, the transfer of made-in-Japan mobile programming expertise to overseas markets, and how terminals are becoming ever more complicated – due at least in part to Java. One of the most interesting questions that Rich addresses is whether carriers outside Japan will be able to create and foster a “content ecosystem” similar to that established domestically by NTT DoCoMo (and, to a similar degree if not extent, competitors J-Phone and KDDI) — which many have pointed to as a major reason behind the success of mobile computing (and Java) on Japan’s wireless webs.

CTIA Notes and NEC 3G Recalls

WWJ contributor Michael Thuresson was in Las Vegas, Nevada, last week and managed to pull himself away from the one-armed bandits long enough to drop in on the CTIA “Wireless IT and Internet 2002” fall show. His report below was culled from a late-night, bleary-eyed email dispatch (italicized annotations partly contributed by me). Who says war correspondents in Kandahar have more fun than tech stringers in Vegas? 😉

Feeding Content to Keitais

Feeding Content to KeitaisWe spent a day at Sun Microsystem’s JavaOne conference and show in Yokohama in September, and were pleasantly surprised to meet up with mobile software vendor Openwave, grand-daddy of the WAP Forum (freshly repainted as the Open Mobile Alliance). Japanese carriers have created killer Java services… and they had to do so from scratch. That included the provisioning system which actually feeds the applis onto the handsets (providers merely have to write the downloadable Java code). Now another major player has launched a Java provisioning system (which also works for other content). Want to launch Java, but you’re not partnered with DoCoMo? You’d better watch this one twice…

Mobile Madness at the Fall Tokyo Game Show

Mobile Madness at the Fall Tokyo Game ShowBy platform, mobile games (mostly Java, as far as we could see) represented 9.2 percent of the 393 new titles announced at the TGS, a significant if yet modest chunk of the overall game market. This was up steeply from 4.1 percent of 339 titles at the fall 2001 show, but still not equal to the 11.0, 14.7, and 17.1 percent shares seen at the spring 2001 (309 new titles), fall 2000 (334 new titles), and spring 2000 (380 new titles) shows, respectively. We have lots of Java screen savers,” said Taito Corporation at the DoCoMo booth; Seoul-based game maker GameVIL comes ashore to leverage made-in-Korea BREW expertise (KTF’s BREW allows 200KB downloads — the standard for KDDI to beat?); and advice on creating successful Java services from PCCW: “Prepare a good environment for the developers.” Daniel had a splitting headache, but this program rocks!

Hello Kitty's Revenge

Early this year, there was some comment in the open press concluding that the US was the world’s leading source of wireless innovation and technology expertise (“Europe Had Decisive Wireless Lead, But Lost It to US With Poor Moves”). Well, the good news is that finding some of those smaller, innovative creators of made-right-here-in-Japan, ready-to-be-exported mobile technology is getting an awful lot easier. We spent yesterday at Sun’s JavaOne conference in Yokohama, and there was an interesting line-up of companies displaying their wares on the showroom floor.

Wireless Java Wins IPO Riches

Wireless Java Wins IPO RichesWWJ has been focusing on mobile Java for the past few weeks — and with good reason. The pundits claim the interactivity and secure mobile execution environment provided by Java could be vital for making 3G data services pay off sooner rather than later. We visited then-pre-IPO software developer Net Village, creator of the “Remote Mail” Java-based mail appli. A couple of key facts emerged: Java boosts packet revenue for the carriers, the cost and complexity of deploying sophisticated Java applis may be beyond what the carriers themselves can do (economically), and Remote Mail is one cool app — 330,000 happy users can’t all be wrong! (See a live demo.) Oh — and NV’s IPO generated a modest 4.094 billion yen.