Quick Correction to 1 June WWJ Newsletter

To confirm, and as misstated in yesterday’s WWJ Newsletter under “NTT DoCoMo finally needs Microsoft”: the new handset equipped with Microsoft Windows Media Audio software and DRM is the F902iS, and not the N902iS. Sorry for the confusion (the links to the F902iS page were correct). Note, moreover, the item below, “Windows Live Messenger for DoCoMo…”

Windows Live Messenger for DoCoMo

Microsoft Corp. will release a version of its Windows Live Messenger application for use on NTT DoCoMo mobile phones “very soon,” sources at Microsoft say. Windows Live Messenger is Microsoft’s online chat program, which competes with a similar offering from Yahoo Japan Corp. The Japanese mobile version will allow real-time chat with other users on PCs or phones, access to buddy lists, and a “wake-up” feature that will send e-mail to a user’s phone when friends want to chat.

NTT DoCoMo finally needs Microsoft

One of WWJ’s long-time favorite mobile & tech media sites, The, posted an item last week that stopped us short: “DoCoMo deal opens i-Mode world to Windows Media.”

The point that caught us was right in the opening graf (see if it grabs you too):

“Japanese giant NTT DoCoMo, a long standing Microsoft partner in the world of mobile entertainment, is to port Windows Media DRM (digital rights management) to its 3G handsets, allowing for content to be moved between phones and PCs, and bypassing the Open Mobile Alliance DRM.”

Like us, you probably didn’t need the red ink to highlight this article’s boggling assertion that NTT DoCoMo is a “long standing” Microsoft partner; while the two tech giants may not exactly hate each other, there’s been been little love lost as Microsoft has failed at every step of i-mode’s growth to establish any significant…

SoftBank Talking Smartphone with HTC

High Tech Computer Corp, the world’s biggest maker of handsets operating on Microsoft Corp’s mobile operating system, is set to gain a stronger foothold in the Japanese smartphone market by winning orders from Japanese Internet conglomerate Softbank Corp, analysts said yesterday. “The visit of Softbank to High Tech Computer this week will benefit the latter as High Tech Computer has stepped up efforts in making inroads into the Japanese market this year,” Ann Liang, principal analyst at research firm Gartner Inc’s Taiwan branch, told the Taipei Times.

DoCoMo Quadruple Play Includes Windows DRM, HSDPA, 7 New Credit-Card Phones

F902iSIn a rare quadruple play, DoCoMo today issued three new handset announcements plus one new technology tie-up press release. The first handset news includes the long-expected new credit-card-enabled phones that will come bundled with the carrier’s ‘DCMX’ Java-and-IC-chip-based credit card. The new 902iS series FOMA 3G handsets mark the latest step in DoCoMo’s transformation from Just Another Mobile Phone Company to full-featured financial services provider.

The carrier also said it had agreed with Microsoft to incorporate Windows Media technologies in DoCoMo’s F902iS 3G handset, to be released this summer. The first-time collaboration means that the F902iS will support both Windows Media Audio and Windows Media Digital Rights Management 10 for Portable Devices (WMDRM-PD). The carrier will also evaluate the incorporation of Windows Media Video, Microsoft’s version of SMPTE VC-1 technologies, in future handsets. The press release states that incorporating Windows Media technologies will enable NTT DoCoMo handsets to play music downloaded to a PC from more than 100 online music services around the world, and also support music content ripped from CDs in the highly efficient Windows Media Audio format (login for details).

Samsung 3G Handset in Japan

Vodafone Japan just announced that on 25 March 2006 it will commence nationwide sales of the Vodafone 804SS, a new 3G handset by Samsung Electronics. The V804SS represents Samsung’s first mobile phone for the Japanese market and is touted as the world’s thinnest clamshell 3G handset, measuring just 14.9mm and weighs only 98g. Users can view PDF, Microsoft Word and other file types on the handset, it also supports PC Link and has a full-fledged music player functions with external controls.

DoCoMo: 3G Phone with Windows OS

NTT DoCoMo and High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) announced today they have agreed to market HTC 3G FOMA handsets with Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 operating systems. DoCoMo and HTC aim to launch commercial sales sometime in the second half of 2006. The phones will be targeted at corporate users and offer enterprise services such as synchronization with MS Windows Server and MS Exchange Server. The phones will also provide dual-mode W-CDMA and GSM/GPRS connectivity, Wireless LAN and a QWERTY keyboard. (Looks like another nice boost for Microsoft in the Japan mobile space — Eds.)

Wireless Watch Japan – Top Stories for 2005

Wireless Watch Japan - Top Stories for 2005We published 596 articles on Wireless Watch Japan in 2005 and thought you might enjoy looking back at the most popular Japan mobile industry highlights from the year. The links below, three from each month, represent the two top stories (by volume of visitor requests) and a third which we consider a significant development in that 30-day period.

It’s been a year of explosive year in the mobile world and 2006 is set to be even much more interesting with faster mobile networks, more powerful handsets and compelling contents settling into the mainstream. Here in Japan, we are expecting a dramatic increase in m-commerce adoption, driven in part by Mobile Suica’s launch, set for later in January and the start of ‘One-Seg’ digital TV broadcasting starting — on all three carriers — on 1 April (no joke). We also see a potential increase in churn as a result of the (belated) introduction of number portability and with three new carriers entering the market, even DoCoMo is concerned.

One of the more obvious action areas in 2006 will be the increase of M&A activity at all levels; in particular, look for consolidation in the Japanese handset market. Meanwhile, lets boldly predict that we’ll have at least a few 3.5G (HSDPA) phones on the streets of Tokyo by this time next year. Interesting times ahead, indeed. Get all the skinny after the jump!

Vodafone Launches New Handsets & Service

Vodafone K.K. today announced it will commence sales of the Vodafone 702NK II (Nokia 6680) 3G handset, a Symbian OS smartphone, on 17 December 2005. The 702NK II allows customers to view Microsoft Word, Excel and other documents on their handsets and is the carrier’s first device to support their new Vodafone Office Mail service. The company also unveiled an ultra-slim 2G handset from Toshiba, the V502T, which will go on sale from the end of January 2006.

Visto Powers Vodafone K.K. Launch of Japan's First ''True Push'' Wireless Email

Visto Corporation, a leading global provider of secure push mobile email, today announced that Visto Mobile 5 with ConstantSync technology has been chosen by Vodafone K.K. to power Vodafone Office Mail, Japan’s first “True Push” wireless email service. Visto’s device-agnostic push wireless email offering enables Vodafone K.K., to deliver secure push email and PIM on leading handsets, starting with the Vodafone 702NK II (Nokia 6680). This release of the Vodafone Office Mail service follows Visto’s signature of a global contract with Vodafone Group Plc announced in April 2005. Japan is the latest region to launch a Vodafone wireless push email service powered by Visto Mobile.