HTC Announces Titan II for eMobile

HTC has just confirmed [.pdf in Japanese] the introduction of their HTC TyTN II – or Titan Two – which will become available for sale in Japan on Friday, March 28, 2008 via eMobile, under the product name “S11HT (EMONSTER)”. The HTC TyTN II will be the first device from eMobile supporting broadband voice services and this handset is the eighth model, including designs scheduled for future release, from the HTC lineup to appear in Japan.

Android to Mirror Japans Wireless Ecosystem

According to a new report released by the Mobile Consumer Lab and Mind Commerce, Google’s Android is the first legitimate attempt to re-create the success of Japan’s “Wireless Ecosystem” model within the context and realities of international mobile markets. Using the lessons learned from within Japan’s best-in-class Wireless Ecosystem framework, this report identifies five fundamental challenges which threaten Google’s mobile dreams and establishes four required milestones for the Open Handset Alliance to achieve in order to effectively compete within the global mobile industry.

Failure to execute doesn't mean i-mode is dead (yet)

After last week’s O2 and Telstra i-mode cancellation news came out, it took hardly any time at all for the obfuscation and mis-analyses to hit the Web.

Failure to execute doesn't mean that i-mode is dead (yet)

The news, in case you missed it, confirmed that Australia’s Telstra would, and the UK’s O2 most likely would, end their i-mode services; Telstra will terminate i-mode support at the end of this year, while O2 will stop selling new handsets this month and phase the service out over the next two years.

O2 UK was reported to have 260,000 active users, a dozen i-mode-compatible handsets and some 150 sites; O2 Ireland has not stated their subscriber numbers, but the Times said total O2 subscribers were 546,000, implying that Ireland had 286,000 i-moders. Telstra reportedly has fewer than 60,000 subscribers. WWJ members login for the full skinny.

KDDI and Microsoft to Collaborate

KDDI has announced that the company reached an agreement with Microsoft to jointly develop and provide applications using a Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model for corporate users. The companies will also create an ecosystem to provide extensive support to independent software vendor (ISV) partners and spur the development of new service-enabled applications to drive momentum for new SaaS applications. The service will allow customers to access their data on a PC in the office or with a mobile phone when they are on the go.

Willcom Introduces New Smart Phone

Willcom, Sharp and Microsoft held a press conference yesterday at the Okura Hotel to announce the new W-Zero3 ES smartphone. The 3rd model in their series from Sharp this latest unit weighs in at 157grams and measures just under 18mm thick. Boasting a 3.3 inch VGA (480×800) LCD touch-screen display and the so-called xCrawl jog dial with Windows 6 OS running on Marvells PXA270 520MHz processor and Wi-Fi enabled this device will be available on order here by the end of June. WWJ was on-hand for the event and will post video asap, more details after the jump.

eMobile Unveils SmartPhone & Flat-rate Price Plan

eMobile Unveils SmartPhone & Flat-rate Price Plan by Mobikyo KKeMobile announced their debut package offering – complete with terminals, data cards and flat-rate HSDPA price plan – today at a Tokyo press conference with company representatives joined by notable industry partners including Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm, Darren Huston, CEO of Microsoft Japan, and Masafumi Matsumoto, representative director from Sharp. The upstart carrier’s founder, chairman and CEO, Sachio Semmoto (who was co-founder of DDI, which became KDDI), called their newly introduced Sharp EM-One smartphone, “the next-generation mobile broadband device” – which was “designed to deliver always-on broadband at a reasonable monthly flat-rate price.”

The new Sharp terminal is bound to be popular with the same crowd who lined-up to get Willcom’s Zero3 model, also made by Sharp, in late 2005. The EM-One is a touch-screen qwerty-keyboard dual-slider device sporting a 4-inch LCD screen with Japan’s first WVGA (800×480)-resolution screen and Windows Mobile 5.0 (with all the typical office functions). At only 18mm thin, it even comes ready to watch 1Seg digital TV broadcasts and – according to the specs – the unit sports a Marvell PXA270 cpu running at 520MHz with 512MB of Flash memory and 128MB RAM. Perhaps most interesting are the rather agressive price plans, which bundle the device with fixed- and mobile-broadband connection services to attract new customers.

The company also announced four new data cards including a PC Card unit produced by NEC and a USB design coming from Huawei, which will run on the same high-speed network and tabehoudai all-you-can-eat billing model. The new services will be available starting 31 March in five major population areas including Tokyo, Aichi, Osaka and Kyoto. More details after the jump.

Number Portability – DoCoMo Relying on Napster Japan

DoCoMo relies on Napster by Mobikyo KKDespite the resounding silence from DoCoMo’s website, Tower Records (part-owned by DoCoMo) have just introduced a joint-venture service with Napster in Japan. The Tower Records Japan-Napster JV will provide music distribution services for PC and mobile from an initial catalogue of 1.5 million songs. The initial service launch only allows content purchased by premium subscribers – a subscription costs 1,980 JPY per month – to be moved from the PC to mobile devices – and at this time only one handset (F902is) is supported.

DoCoMo took a 42 percent share of Tower Records here in November 2005 and – if the on-scene hype at DoCoMo’s booth at this week’s CEATEC consumer electronics show is any guide – they appear ready to announce a more aggressive mobile music device line-up in the coming weeks.

The Tower Records initiative appears not unrelated to DoCoMo’s overall mobile music strategy, which has so far run a distant second to mobile market leader KDDI/au.

Since 2002, KDDI have seen strong traffic, sales and handset popularity with their Chaku Uta, Chaku Uta Full, and Chaku Motion full-track audio and video offering. More recently, their new ‘LISMO’ unified PC/mobile content download and syncing service has started to gain customers, while DoCoMo have only this year in June started pushing Chaku Uta Full.

Windows Live Messenger for Mobile

Windows Live Messenger for MobileAfter 6 months of beta offering the Windows Live Messenger official PC version became available for upgrade & download in June this year. Together with this latest release, the company also introduced a mobile Java Appli for DoCoMo customers using FOMA 3G handsets. WWJ met with Ho Chang, Product Manager for Windows Live at Microsoft Japan, to take a test drive on the companies Live Messenger for BREW due to be available on selected KDDI/au devices later this month. Also note, Mr. Chang made a presentation earlier this year to Mobile Monday Tokyo and his powerpoint presentation is available Here.

Just like the PC version, it will enable users to sign-in, exhange text messages – including emicons – with their existing contact list, check and send email (Hotmail), show their online presence and display name all in real-time. According to Ho, the entire certification process took about one-year from their intial proposal to the carrier for planning, testing and product release. However, the final offering is “far more robust than whats available in the U.S.” running a faster network with a larger app. on the latest BREW version. Targeted at flat-rate data customers the app. will not come pre-installed but will be offered as a free download it will be the first Microsoft app. deployed on KDDI’s official menu.

NFC Forum Issues Specifications

The NFC Forum, a non-profit industry association advancing the use of near field communication (NFC) technology, has announced the publication of its first four specifications. NFC technology is a short-range, standards-based wireless connectivity technology which allows consumers to perform safe contactless transactions, access digital content and connect electronic devices with a single touch. The NFC Forum’s Sponsor Members include: HP, MasterCard, Microsoft, Nokia, NEC, Panasonic, Renesas, Philips Electronics, Samsung, Sony Corp., Texas Instruments and Visa Intl.