Wireless HD Coming in 2008

A collection of the biggest powers in consumer electronics, including LG, Matsushita (Panasonic), Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, and SiBEAM announced today that they are teaming together to ratify a standard for wireless high-def signal transmission. United as a technology group going under the name WirelessHD, the companies aim to have a finalized specification in spring 2007. The WirelessHD (WiHD) standard will allow for uncompressed, digital transmission of HD video and audio signals, essentially making it equivalent, in theory, to wireless HDMI.

SoftBank Mobile Comes Out Swinging

WWJ Editors, 28 September 2006
SoftBank Mobile Comes Out Swinging by Mobikyo KKThe long summer silence from SoftBank on the rebranding of Vodafone K.K. to SoftBank Mobile is over with no less than 12 press releases issued today in advance of the official launch on 1 October. The company has introduced 13 new handsets, a variety of updated service offerings and new personnel. As mobile number portability (MNP) arrives on 24 October, and with strong competition from market leader NTT DoCoMo and No. 2 carrier KDDI, the struggling former Vodafone franchise clearly needed to get their house in order.

Some little-known news: Industry insiders here were surprised to learn in late August that the long-time head of Qualcomm Japan, Ted Matsumoto, had moved over to SoftBank taking on the title of CSO (Chief Strategy Officer) for Masayoshi Son’s newly minted celco. The official announcement was made during a wide ranging press conference that also introduced Cameron Diaz as the star attraction for their new advertising campaign that planned to blitz TV and outdoor ads over the coming weeks.

On the network front, they have announced that ‘Super 3G’ (HSDPA), with availability limited to the greater Tokyo area, will start in October to service their new HTC – X01HT smartphone. This Windows Mobile-enabled unit will default to regular W-CDMA (or GSM/GPRS overseas) in areas without high-speed coverage. The company also announced new applications and services ranging from the widely expected Yahoo Mobile Search integration, “Hot Talk” instant messenger, a “3D Town” event guide map, and – finally – a “Live Monitor” scrolling text push service.

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.

Japan 3G Beats the Hype – Lessons for European Cellcos

Japan 3G Beats the Hype - Lessons for European CellcosThe International Herald Tribune ran a couple of gloomy 3G-related articles last week (see “3G cost billions: Will it ever live up to its hype?” and “Operators in Asia learn from mistakes”). It’s the height of the summer vacation slow-news cycle, and maybe the IHT was just fishing for some headline attention, but we couldn’t let these egregiously faulty items pass without comment.

3G cost billions: Will it ever live up to its hype?

European mobile phone companies spent $129 billion six years ago to buy licenses for third-generation (3G) networks, which were supposed to give people the freedom to virtually live from their cell phones, reading email, browsing the Internet, placing video calls, enjoying music and movies, buying products and services, making reservations, monitoring health — all from the beach, the bus, the dentist’s waiting room or wherever they were.

But today, most people use their cell phones just as they did in 2000 — to make calls — and the modest gains 3G has made do not begin to justify the massive costs of the technology, which has strapped some mobile operators financially, bankrupted entrepreneurs, spurred multibillion-euro lawsuits against governments and phone companies, and sapped research spending.

Over the long term, 3G runs the risk of becoming the Edsel of the mobile phone industry — an expensive, unwanted albatross rejected by consumers and bypassed by other, less costly technologies, some experts say.

These articles are worse than merely wrong: they help fuel the flawed thinking and misguided strategies to which 3G license holders are addicted (helping cause the continued malaise). So widespread user apathy and risible revenues must prove that 3G’s a loser, right? Wrong. And to see why, you need look no further than Japan. Why have 3G carriers elsewhere in the world not realised: you don’t have to be DoCoMo to succeed like DoCoMo does.

WWJ paid subscribers: Log in for our 10-point rebuttal to the first IHT article (‘3G Hype’). Note: it’s a little long, so best to print out and read poolside!

Industry to Create Open Mobile Linux Platform

Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics, and Vodafone have just announced their intent to establish the world’s first global, open Linux-based software platform for mobile devices. A world-class Linux-based platform aims to provide key benefits for the mobile industry including lower development costs, increased flexibility, and a richer mobile ecosystem – all of which contribute to the group’s ultimate objective of creating compelling, differentiated and enhanced consumer experiences.

3D Moji Mail – Icing on the Cake

3D Moji Mail - Icing on the CakeHere’s a quick video clip we shot at the Vodafone press conference when they introduced the new V804SS handset by Samsung — the first Samsung handset in Japan — going on sale here finally today. It has a few up-close examples of the company’s new dynamic email application, “Deru Moji” 3D Pictogram Display with pop-up animations, that we thought were pretty interesting.

While the functionality is only interoperable between a few handsets so far, this is a mobile mail nation and ‘cool factor’ really does count. Look for more discussion online about this next-gen offering — centered on when will it hit EU and US markets. Remember you saw it here first on WWJ!

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.

Will it be SanyoKia or Nokia-San?

Will it be SanyoKia or Nokia-San? by Mobikyo KKLast week’s announcement of Nokia and Sanyo joining forces to boost their combined CDMA market share in the US was lost in the next-gen mobile TV hype and media avalanche (not to mention complaints about pokey dial-up access from the venue) coming from the 3GSM World Congress. The Nokia-Sanyo combination is an obvious play with both sides bringing a decent value proposition to the table; Nokia has massive manufacturing capacity, established distribution channels and a global brand while Sanyo has proven experience producing ultra-cool high-tech handsets and strong operator/vendor relationships. The companies gave no financial details of the tie-up, which is expected to close in the second quarter, but the JV will be based in Osaka and San Diego with an estimated 3,500 employees.

The challenge — and rewards — of morphing these respective ‘best of’ brands into a unified product offering are significant. Sanyo has advanced mobile battery and GPS chip expertise that even a Nokia would be hard-pressed to build on their own and such technologies are fast becoming key competitive differentiators as the US (and other markets) mandate emergency location reporting and other public safety services. Sanyo was vaulted to the ranks of top-tier suppliers to national champion DoCoMo last year as the name behind some of Big D’s first GPS-enabled models, the SA800i and SA700iS.

A Nokia-Sanyo tie-up makes sense from an economy of scale perspective and the end result should be better hardware for the end user, potentially at a lower price, which should please the operators and — more to the point — their shareholders.

ACCESS NetFront Browser in 11 New Sanyo Handsets

ACCESS Co., Ltd., a global provider of mobile content delivery and Internet access technologies, today announced that its NetFront browser has been deployed in 11 SANYO handset models available in regions throughout the world including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand. Powered by NetFront browser, SANYO handsets represent some of the best-selling devices available from SANYO’s mobile operator partners. NetFront has been selected as the browser technology for 11 SANYO handsets, which include the SCP-8300, SCP-9000, SCP-7500, SCP7400/QW, SCP-4920/QW, SCP-8200/QW, SCP-2300/NZ, SCP-9000/NZ, SCP-2300/CA, SCP-8300/CA, and SANYO MVP models.

3GSM World Congress 2006 Awards

The nominees have been announced for this year’s 3GSM awards with the winners to take center stage during a VIP gala dinner in Barcelona’s fabulous National Palace on 14 February 2006. According to the organizers, Mobile communications as a new entertainment and information medium has become the ‘fourth screen,’ after television, cinema and the PC, capable of delivering a vast array of media rich content to users throughout the world. This year there are new categories for mobile gaming, sports, music, film and video content.