Nokia Growth Partners Buys into Japan

Morpho, Inc., provider of image processing software solutions for mobile devices, has announced that it received an investment in the amount of 165 Million JPY (approx. $150 Million) from Nokia Growth Partners, the venture capital arm of Nokia. The investment from Nokia Growth Partners, its first ever in a Japanese company, follows Morpho’s recent announcement that it had received an investment from DoCoMo. With these latest rounds of funding Morpho plans to grow its overseas operations to meet the increasing demands of customers worldwide.

SoftBank Mobile Unveils Spring Handsets

SoftBank Mobile introduced their latest handset line-up for Spring 2008 at a press conference here in Tokyo on Monday afternoon – video in English – with 15 new models announced. With something for everyone on offer they have followed in DoCoMo’s lead of adopting a wide range of GSM roaming enabled units, 7 in all, along with new designs targeted at everyone from children to seniors including all the standard bells and whistles. Several items worth noting include the – better late than never – introduction of Nokia’s N95 into the Japan market and a collaboration with Tiffany for an exclusive designers model. More details after the jump.

Adobe Flash Lite 3 – Ready for Mobile

Adobe announced the availability of Flash Lite 3 at MAX 2007 in Chicago for handset makers, operators and content providers. Both NTT DoCoMo and Nokia are committed to deliver enabled devices, which will support .flv compatible video, in upcoming releases of handsets. With over 300 Million Flash enabled mobile devices and handsets shipped so far, Adobe expects more than one billion Flash enabled devices to be available by 2010.

Impressions from the MoMo Global Summit

Impressions from the MoMo Global SummitThe 3rd annual MobileMonday Global Summit was held in Helsinki, Finland, on 10 September with an estimated 1,500 attendees; this year included a bonus side-trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, the following evening. WWJ was there once again, as founders of the MoMo Tokyo chapter, along with representatives from over 20 MoMo cities around the world. In addition to our Trip Report, WWJ’s ed-in-chief Daniel Scuka offers these thoughts about the experience.

Nokia Signs G-mode for SNAP Mobile

Nokia and G-mode announced at the Tokyo Game Show that they are collaborating to bring more mobile multiplayer games to the global market. G-mode is developing Chess a Moment, an online and turn-based chess game, based on the Nokia SNAP Mobile platform. Players can compete in up to eight live games simultaneously, and have up to 30 hours to ponder their next move. Nokia plans to distribute Chess a Moment on select Nokia handsets, and make the game available for global operator-assisted download, consumers can expect to get their hands on G-mode’s Chess a Moment in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Casio Bullish on Overseas Handset Sales

Casio expects a 10 billion yen ($86 million) investment in new mobile phone models to return a profit in the first year, helped by sales of handsets equipped with its Exilim camera and G-Shock watch technologies. The handsets, based on the W-CDMA standard, will be sold at a higher profit margin than earlier models, said Tateki Ohishi, chief executive officer of Casio Hitachi Mobile Communications Co., the Tokyo-based company’s venture with Hitachi Ltd. Full Story Here.

Kyocera to Acquire Sanyo Mobile Unit

According to the Nikkei, via Reuters, Kyocera and Sanyo are close to inking a deal that would merge the device makers into the world’s seventh largest mobile phone manufacturer. The business daily stated Kyocera aims to buy Sanyo’s mobile phone operations for about 50 billion yen ($435 million), Sanyo expects to sell about 11 million units in the current business year to March 2008, down from its initial estimates of 12.5-12.6 million. Both Kyocera and Sanyo said in separate statements that nothing has been decided.

Capcom to N-Gage in 2008

Nokia and Capcom have announced that Capcom will be publishing games on N-Gage in 2008. Capcom is the first Japanese based publisher to show their commitment to N-Gage, which makes its global debut later this year. Classic titles such as Mega Man, Street Fighter and Resident Evil can distributed over the air through operator networks or over the internet to a user’s PC.

Matsushita Stock Hit by Nokia Battery Recall

Matsushita Electric shares fell to a two-year low after Nokia offered to replace as many as 46 million handset batteries produced by the company on concerns they may overheat. Matsushita, the world’s largest consumer-electronics maker – more widely known as Panasonic – saw it’s shares drop 5 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange to 2,015 yen which is the lowest closing price since October 2005.