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.

Symbian Says BooHooForYou

Symbian Says BooHooForYouSymbian announced their 20 millionth handset sales milestone in Japan with a rather surprising Jekyl-and-Hyde campaign. First off, they ran a Fortune-500-style blitz – dubbed J20 – complete with CEO webcast and predictable press release – so far, so OK. If that was all they did, we’d certainly join in the chorus to congratulate them on a job well done. When any non-domestic entrant achieves 20 million sales of anything, much less ultra-cool Symbian smartphone installations, WWJ offers our heartfelt congratulations and more power to them.

However, at the same time global HQ launched an akward attempt at what seems to be a viral ad. campaign – called BooHooForYou – with a dedicated website and anime themed video posted on YouTube. Since BHFY provides full English text and subtitles in the animation, the obvious target audience for this little stunt are folks outside Japan. The Japanese audio and English subtitles combined give viewers the distinct impression the site was made in Japan to poke fun at (lagging) European and American mobile markets.

Anyone who understands how Japan’s business and wider civil culture operates will tell you that remaining humble – especially when you otherwise have strong reason to brag loudly in public – is not only expected and practiced, but to do the opposite is highly insulting. Thus Symbian’s BHFY comes across as at least culturally inappropriate and at worst directly insulting.

WWJ editors have lived in Japan for several (many?) years, and we’ve watched closely to see how mobile industry players here build, market and protect their reputations and brand images; we can confirm that video comes across as far too condescending, childish and downright tragic in the way it portrays the Japanese as openly gloating “boo hoo for you.” (Subscribers login for the full rant.)

Japan Mobile Industry News Mash-up

It’s been a rather hectic few weeks here, as mentioned at the end of our latest WWJ Newsletter, so we thought a chocolate covered bundle of tidbits would be in order today. With 3GSM running this week in Barcelona, on top of the usual post January speed cycle, we’ve clipped over a dozen highlights together for a sweetheart ‘Valentines Eve’ post chalk full of wireless news goodies collected over the last little while, just for you after the jump.

DoCoMo Announces New 3G Platform JV

NTT DoCoMo, Renesas, Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, Sharp and Sony Ericsson have announced that they plan to jointly develop a next-generation mobile phone platform with completion targeted for mid-2008. Renesas plans to provide the platform to the global W-CDMA market, in addition to customers in Japan, aiming to further reduce costs. The six companies have agreed to the joint development project in an effort to provide advanced functionality – with a common base – for 3G handsets worldwide.

Nokia Ships N71 Handset to Japan

Nokia has started deliveries of Nokia N71 (Vodafone 804NK) in Japan. The Nokia N71 customized for Vodafone K.K. will be marketed in Vodafone K.K.’s 3G lineup under the name “Nokia N71 (Vodafone 804NK)” and became commercially available in Japan from August 12. Nokia has provided Vodafone K.K. with three 3G models so far: The Nokia 6680 (Vodafone 702NK II) which became available in December 2005 and the Nokia 6630 (Vodafone 702NK) which became available in December 2004, and the Nokia 6650 (V-NM701), which was added in August 2003.

DoCoMo's Blackberry: Q&A with Research in Motion Japan

DoCoMo's Blackberry: Q&A with Research in Motion JapanThe pending Japan arrival of Research in Motion (RIM)’s hyperpopular BlackBerry email device, widely known as the ‘CrackBerry’ for its simple, efficient and addictive delivery of corporate email, will inject a new dimension into this country’s complex device and service matrix.
A wise move or a sign of desperation? These two viewpoints seem to characterize media, pundits’ and bloggers’ responses to last month’s announcement that DoCoMo would bring the BlackBerry email device into Japan, in partnership with RIM, based in Canada. Our own take on it was: Who Cares? WWJ was mindful that “virtually everyone in Japan’s workforce already has an always-on, fully connected email device right in their back pocket — in other words, a phone!”

Furthermore, before and since then, there has been more news, helping make it even more difficult to assess the BlackBerry’s prospects.

According to the pundits, NTT DoCoMo’s decision to import the BlackBerry is either (a) a master stroke aimed at securing the giant carrier’s corporate mobile offerings as 3G competition heats up in 2006/07, or (b) expensive folly that will see enterprise sales teams saddled with a clunky, ‘not-made-here’ device that competes poorly if at all against universal 3G phones that already receive push mail in real time, thank you very much (and some media reports have stated the first Japan BlackBerrys won’t even accept Japanese text input). The truth, however, is probably somewhere between these extremes, and so WWJ went straight to the source.

Symbian Conference in Tokyo

The folks over at Symbian Japan held their Symbian Summit 2006 event in the Tokyo Westin hotel yesterday. Sponsored by DoCoMo and — by the looks of the site — well attended (Japanese only), it would seem they have been improving the platform presence here with three more handsets rolling out recently from… DoCoMo!

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…

Panasonic Starts Delivery of P901iTV

Panasonic Mobile Communications today announced it has begun shipment of P901iTV mobile handsets to NTT DoCoMo. The P901iTV is DoCoMo’s first mobile handset to receive terrestrial digital broadcasting signals in addition to conventional analog signals. The handset was created in response to the planned launch of mobile digital broadcasting in April 2006. The handset’s main display is a 2.5-inch wide-view LCD screen. Approximately 3 hours of continuous digital TV viewing is possible.

New W950i Walkman Phone

Sony Ericsson has introduced the W950, an ultra-slim, ultra-stylish, UMTS-enabled device with 4GB of onboard storage complete with touch screen for simple navigation through music genres, playlists, individual songs or music albums. The music player within the W950 has the functionality and sound quality of an equivalent standalone device. Its 4GB storage can take up to 4,000 songs and the sound quality, delivered on high quality headphones, makes listening to music a real pleasure. A new graphic-rich interface on the Walkman player makes it easy to navigate around the music library by song, artist or playlist and now it’s possible to search visually by browsing through album covers using the stylus and touch screen.