NEC, Panasonic and TI Form Handset JV

NEC, NEC Electronics, Matsushita, Panasonic Mobile Communications and Texas Instruments just announced that the five companies have signed an agreement to establish a new joint venture company. The company will conduct global development, design, and technology licensing for a hardware and software communications platform to manage the core communications functions for 3G handsets. The new company, Adcore-Tech Co., Ltd (“Adcore-Tech”), is scheduled to be established in August, 2006 at the Yokosuka Research Park in Yokosuka, Japan, with approximately 180 employees.

(As we stated on Tuesday this week: “expect a formal announcement in the coming days.” — Eds.)

NEC, Panasonic to Form Joint Venture

Japan’s Matsushita Electric (Panasonic) is said to be considering forming a joint venture in the mobile-phone sector with NEC Corp. A Matsushita spokesman apparently declined to comment further. This handset vendor consolidation story has been brewing for some time now. Based on the tone of local reports, we expect a formal announcement in the coming days.

NEC Talking 3-Way Tie-up

NEC and Matsushita (Panasonic) are in talks to extend their co-operation in the mobile phone sector in an effort to ensure survival in the overcrowded Japanese market, NEC’s president said on Monday. The expanded collaboration would focus on handset manufacturing and could include the joint procurement of components and further collaboration in research and development. The two groups already co-operate in 3G technology research. According to reports, three-way talks among NEC, Matsushita and Texas Instruments Inc. about cellphone cooperation are in their final stage. The consolidation strategy was mentioned by NEC’s incoming president, Kaoru Yano, in March.

Panasonic to Supply Handsets to KDDI

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. revealed that it plans to supply mobile phones to wireless operator KDDI Corp., adding a second customer for its handset business in Japan. The maker of Panasonic products currently supplies cellphones in Japan to NTT DoCoMo Inc., the country’s top mobile operator, but does not do business with second-ranked KDDI and third-largest Vodafone K.K., a unit of Softbank Corp.

Sharp Tops Japan Mobile

Sharp Corp. overtook NEC Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. as Japan’s biggest mobile phone maker by shipments for the first time, MM Research Institute said in a report dated yesterday. Shipments by Sharp gained 20 percent to 7.6 million units in the year ended March 31, accounting for 16.3 percent of the total 46.3 million shipments, the researcher said.

TI, NEC and Panasonic Consider JV

According to the Nikkei, top mobile phone chip supplier Texas Instruments Inc., NEC Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. are in talks over possible cooperation in cellphones, Matsushita and NEC said on Friday. NEC’s chip unit, NEC Electronics Corp., and the cellphone unit of Matsushita, Panasonic Mobile Communications Co., are involved in the talks, they said, adding that nothing concrete has been decided.

Panasonic Mobile to Restructure

Japan’s Matsushita Electric will end production of current generation mobile phones for overseas markets, cut more than 1,000 related jobs and focus on developing 3G phones, company sources said. The world’s top electronics maker, known for its Panasonic brand, will close a factory in the Philippines and a development facility in the United States as part of its plan to refocus its resources on phones for next-generation networks, they said. Matsushita said it planned to hold a news conference today in Tokyo. Yoshiaki Kushiki, president of Panasonic Mobile Communications, will attend.

DoCoMo Announces Japan's First Digital Broadcast Cellphone

DoCoMo Announces Japan's First Digital Broadcast CellphoneDoCoMo has developed their first mobile handset to receive terrestrial digital broadcasting and analog TV in one 3G Foma package. The P901iTV handset, by Panasonic, targets the start of mobile digital broadcasting in April, 2006 and will make its public debut at the upcoming CEATEC Japan 2005 trade show October 4 to 8 at Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba. (WWJ will be on-hand to get photos and video!)

The twist-style handset comes with a 2.5-inch, wide-view main LCD screen plus a sub-display, antenna-embedded earphone for enhanced TV reception, and 2.2-megapixel camera. The handset can only handle around 2.5 hours of continuous digital TV viewing; 1.5 hours of analog — ruling out Lord of the Rings style 3-hour viewing marathons. DoCoMo’s Osaifu-Keitai mobile wallet is part of the package as well, enabling the phone to be used as electronic money.

Vodafone and KDDI have had demonstration models of terrestrial digital TV receiver/handsets for some time. Last may their latest versions were up and running at the NHK Science and Technical Research Laboratories open house. Vodafone displayed the 801SH Sharp CDMA Qualcomm handset with a hybrid split-screen displaying TV images on the upper half with the bottom reserved for scrolling data feeds. KDDI showed off a similar au prototype handset by Sanyo. Check-out our video report from that event here.

Panasonic, Sanyo Set for TV Phones

The Nikkei is reporting that Japan-based handset makers Panasonic Mobile Communications, a division of Matsushita Electric, and Sanyo are set to commercialize cell phones capable of recieving terrestrial broadcast signals in response to the planned launch of services by NHK and private-sector TV stations by Q1 2006. Shipments of these new models are expected to begin between year-end and next spring.

Coin-size Low-Power Wireless Module

Panasonic unveiled its ultra-small low-power wireless module by incorporating a radio circuit and a microcomputer onto a single CMOS LSI chip, the world’s first in 400-MHz band low-power wireless technology. The tiny high-speed wireless module is suitable for a wide range of home and industrial applications. Panasonic has applied for 78 patents on the new module in Japan, of which 11 have so far been granted, and two patents overseas.