AOL Sells Tegic to Nuance

Nuance Communications and Time Warner announced yesterday they have signed a definitive agreement whereby Nuance will acquire Tegic Communications a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL and a developer of embedded software for mobile devices. Tegic brings industry-leading T9 predictive text input software, which has shipped on more than 2.5 billion devices, and next-generation integrated text and touch input solutions to Nuance’s portfolio of voice-enabled applications for device control, mobile search, email and text messaging.

SoftBank Mobile Summer Handsets

SoftBank Mobile announced their handset lineup for the ‘Summer of 2007 Sales Battle’ which will be available from the beginning of June. According to the company press release the 12 new 3G models are focused on style, quality and individuality, see the dedicated Flash site [in Japanese] Here. We note six handsets are coming from Sharp, including the 913SH slider while the upstart telco claims a scoop for the first deployment in Japan of Windows Mobile 6 on two of the units from HTC. Toshiba added three models with Samsung and Panasonic each contributing one. More details after the jump.

SoftBank Mobile – New Flagship Store

SoftBank Mobile - New Flagship StoreWith the flurry of activity around here lately we are somewhat behind on rolling out this quick video clip shot at SoftBank Mobile’s new Flagship store in Harajuku. Wisely located in Tokyo’s mobile youth grand central, and mere blocks away from KDDI’s Designing Studio, the company was handing out chocolates (a nice touch for Valentines day) and even had a few SoftBank Hawks baseball team personalities in the house to help celebrate their New Open launch event.

While Kitty-chan was apparently not available to promote her newly announced Swarovski Crystal handsets there was a good selection of the latest super sparkle designs, under glass, front and center. Of course the colorful 812SH Pantone series by Sharp were also easy to spot, however, for the most part there was not much in the way of selection for live working models on offer. That being said it’s certainly better than this Virtual Life SoftBank Mobile shop and hopefully the company will get more test-drive units on display in the future. As for our first impressions; it’s a definite improvement, in both size and location, when compared to the Vodafone’s earlier Megastore attempt in Shibuya several years ago.

KDDI Aquires Stake in Acrodea

According to a report on Market Watch, KDDI aims to buy 4,300 shares of Acrodea Inc. , or a 6.6% stake in the handset-use software developer, through markets by the end of April. The value of the share purchase will be around Y11 billion, based on Wednesday’s closing price of Acrodea shares at Y248,000. KDDI said in a press release it seeks to strengthen ties with Acrodea in developing [applications for] mobile phone handsets.

3GSM 2007 Award Winners

The 12th Annual GSM Association Global Mobile Awards were announced last night in Barcelona at the annual industry event which showcases the best of the mobile world. The stars of the night were the 2007 Global Mobile Awards winners, whose achievements provide an insight into the services, devices and innovation that are taking the mobile industry forward. Sony Ericsson’s K800 CyberShot handset won best 3G handset and Tokyo based I-play’s “The Fast and the Furious” took Best Made for Mobile Game. See the full category list and winners after the jump.

Toshiba Produces 2GB Flash Memory

Toshiba Corp. said on Wednesday it will match rival Samsung Electronics March launch of the industry’s first 2-Gigabyte NAND flash chip by mass-producing a chip with as much storage a month later. Toshiba, which aims to take a combined 40 percent market share with partner SanDisk Corp. by 2008, will begin by shipping samples of its 2-Gigabyte chips in March, using 56-nanometre process technology, and plans monthly shipments of 300,000 chips from April.

SoftBank Mobile Announces New 3G Phones

SoftBank Mobile Announces New 3G Phones by Mobikyo KKSoftBank Mobile rounded out the Japanese operators spring handset announcement rush this week by announcing a new fleet of models – Flash site Here – with major bling factor. According to the companies announcement most models will be available by March which is traditionally the busiest handset replacement month of the year in Japan as the new academic and fiscal year begins on April 1st. Masayoshi Son did his best Steve Jobs impersonation, black turtle-neck and all, however there was no announcement related to the recent news from MacWorld.

Models of interest include the 911T by Toshiba, a candybar slider with a huge 3-inch screen running on high speed HSDPA has a 3.2-megapixel camera, 1GB of internal memory, 1Seg digital tv, it’s FeliCa m-commerce enabled and comes complete with a pair of Oakley Thumps which connect via bluetooth. Other new handset highlights include; the 812SH Pantone series by Sharp (pictured right) with 20 different colors to choose from, the 812T Kodomobile model designed especially for children and Nokia’s E-61 Communicator – labeled as X01NK – which has Japanese Kanji text input and comes Wi-Fi enabled.

There are three new phones from Samsung including the 708SC slider which claims the title for the worlds thinnest 3G handset at a mere 8.4mm thick and the 707SC Swarovski Crystal version which is a follow-up to the earlier 705SH model [.jpg image] which sold-out the day it was launched last fall.

There have been over 30 new handset models announced by the three main operators during the last week for content and application developers, industry wags and ultimately the marketplace at large to chew over.. whew! WWJ subscribers login for more comments, photos and a video-link to watch the actual presentation (70 minute runtime) from the press conference held in Shinagawa on Thursday.

Linux Mobile – LiMo – Foundation Announced

To support their goal of creating the world’s first globally competitive, Linux-based software platform for mobile devices, Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics, and Vodafone announced today the official launch of the LiMo Foundation. A not-for-profit organization, the LiMo Foundation is aimed at blending the community-based development benefits of transparency, innovation and scalability with the best development practices from the mobile community to create an innovative new business model.

Handset Makers Sued over Bluetooth

Three major electronics companies have been sued by a foundation which claims that their use of Bluetooth wireless technology infringed on patented work at the University of Washington. According to the lawsuit, Bluetooth-based computers, cell phones and headsets made by Matsushita, Samsung, and Nokia have violated four patents, including one that was issued for research done in the mid-1990s by Edwin Suominen when he was an undergraduate student at the University of Washington.

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.