DoCoMo Introduces 703i Series with Ten New 3G Handsets

DoCoMo Introduces 703i Series with Ten New 3G Handsets by Mobikyo KKDoCoMo today announced the development of new 3G FOMA handsets – the 703i-series plus the D800iDS and SO903iTV. The 703i-series consists of eight models: N703i, P703i, D703i, F703i, N703iD, P703i, SH703i and SO703i. Most of the models are extra slim, with the N703i (image at right) and P703i being the thinnest 3G clamshell handsets in the world, at 11.4mm each, as of 15 January 2007 (and according to the company).

Our Wireless Watch Japan Web Video Triple Play article posted 10 November has a quick shot of Natsuno-san with these new extra-slim handsets.

The new 703i-series handsets made by NEC, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Sharp, Fujitsu and Sony Ericsson have features ranging from full-track music, Mega Appli gaming and DCMX mobile commerce to document viewer and full mobile web browser. A couple of interesting design notes; Fujitsu’s F703i model is water-proof and claims to be completely safe in the shower while Mitsubishi’s D703i is Japan’s thinnest candybar-style cellphone available, at 9.9mm thick.

DoCoMo also unveiled the SO903iTV handset equipped with a high-resolution LCD using BRAVIA technology and high-quality audio for viewing “One-segment” (1 Seg) terrestrial digital TV broadcasts. In addition the company announced the D800iDS [.jpg image], which according to the press materials, is a world-first cellphone with two full screens – a conventional upper screen and a touch-screen instead of the traditional lower keypad. The N703iD will be marketed on 26 January. The other 703i-series models and D800iDS are planned to be sold in February, while the SO903iTV is scheduled to be launched in June.

We have images with full details after the jump.

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.

Digital TV for Mobile in Japan – 1H Review

Digital TV for Mobile in Japan - 1H Review A recent report focusing on the faltering Korean DVB-H market lead us to wonder how the user experience, and business model, compares with the service launched here in Japan on April 1st. Several items stand out as either very similar or completely opposite.

Many studies over the years point to the fact that mobile user habits vary much less from region to region than assumed by most industry pundits. Of course there are at least some notable differences, however – by and large – people are people, and in-depth research has routinely shown common ground across cultures and classes.

The predictable differences become more apparent as business models are implemented that encourage, or restrict, access or behavior in any given product or service offering. The cost and availability – let alone need – of any new mobile initiative will obviously have an impact on its adoption rate.

When digital TV for mobile (1SDB-T) debuted here this spring, the business model had several notable features: all channels are free to view and the broadcast content is exactly the same as already available – also at no cost – on users’ home TV sets.

While many have questioned the logic of this seemingly non-profit (yet costly) experiment, the ministry, carriers and broadcasters have carefully developed a strategic long-term vision for the successful deployment of mobile TV in Japan.

One thing is for sure: the hype surrounding this next-gen area knows no borders and markets overseas are also struggling with the myths and realities of this segment’s risks and opportunities.

DCMX Posts Strong 1H Growth

DoCoMo made an announcement recently regarding the performance of their new DCMX m-commerce product [WWJ video here], which launched 28 April 2006. Noting the claim that the number of contracts exceeded 1 million as of 12 November – just over six months – with 30 handset models now on the market, we decided to dig a little a little deeper and see how the intial 1H growth for DCMX compared with DoCoMo’s flag-ship i-mode portal six months after it debuted in February 1999.

SoftBank Mobile Comes Out Swinging

WWJ Editors, 28 September 2006
SoftBank Mobile Comes Out Swinging by Mobikyo KKThe long summer silence from SoftBank on the rebranding of Vodafone K.K. to SoftBank Mobile is over with no less than 12 press releases issued today in advance of the official launch on 1 October. The company has introduced 13 new handsets, a variety of updated service offerings and new personnel. As mobile number portability (MNP) arrives on 24 October, and with strong competition from market leader NTT DoCoMo and No. 2 carrier KDDI, the struggling former Vodafone franchise clearly needed to get their house in order.

Some little-known news: Industry insiders here were surprised to learn in late August that the long-time head of Qualcomm Japan, Ted Matsumoto, had moved over to SoftBank taking on the title of CSO (Chief Strategy Officer) for Masayoshi Son’s newly minted celco. The official announcement was made during a wide ranging press conference that also introduced Cameron Diaz as the star attraction for their new advertising campaign that planned to blitz TV and outdoor ads over the coming weeks.

On the network front, they have announced that ‘Super 3G’ (HSDPA), with availability limited to the greater Tokyo area, will start in October to service their new HTC – X01HT smartphone. This Windows Mobile-enabled unit will default to regular W-CDMA (or GSM/GPRS overseas) in areas without high-speed coverage. The company also announced new applications and services ranging from the widely expected Yahoo Mobile Search integration, “Hot Talk” instant messenger, a “3D Town” event guide map, and – finally – a “Live Monitor” scrolling text push service.

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.

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!

KDDI Announces 3G CDMA Data Card

Axalto today announced that it has launched the first third generation CDMA User Identification Module (UIM) commercial card in Japan with KDDI, one of Japan’s leading mobile service providers. The Axalto cards are designed to work together with KDDI’s CDMA 2000 EV-DO third generation mobile handsets. KDDI subscribers can now access both GSM and CDMA networks with just one card and users will be able to use the same telephone number both domestically and internationally.