Kyocera Wireless and PCTEL Collaborate

Kyocera Wireless and PCTEL Inc. announced their collaboration on a Voice Call Continuity (VCC) solution for dual-mode Wi-Fi/CDMA handsets. The solution, which incorporates PCTEL’s Roaming Client – Voice Enabled (VE), is being demonstrated on a prototype Kyocera handset. VCC technology allows a dual-mode handset to make seamless handoffs of active calls while moving between Wi-Fi and CDMA air interfaces. The new VCC solution integrates Kyocera’s CDMA voice, user interface and SMS features with PCTEL’s VoIP, SMS Over IP, single-number roaming and active-call handover functionality.

Has Apple Started a Mobile Computing Revolution?

Has Apple Started a Mobile Computing Revolution?By now everyone who can read knows that the big news in wireless this week was the announcement for “Steve’s Amazing New Device”. We’ve had several queries for comment over the last couple of days and reluctantly have decided to offer a few thoughts on his so-called ‘future of mobile handsets’. One might be forgiven for asking “what does this development have to do with Japan” but it was actually the LA Times who started it. Also related, the early rumors swirling in May last year – which were quickly denied – that we would see SoftBank Mobile roll-out Apple Computer Inc.’s new gear here in 2006. If Jobs & Co. actually plan to hit their 10 million sales target, or just 1% of the global share, then a 3G enabled unit for advanced markets like Japan has to be part of their 2007 roadmap.

So, what do we think. After the rough ride WWJ gave RIM got for their market entry Blackberry device, you shouldn’t expect any glowing Mac fan boy type ravings from us. However, there certainly is one definite and positive aspect to this whole discussion.. Awareness. Before getting into specific pro’s and cons of the device itself – as described at launch – for just a moment lets consider the obvious impact on the general marketplace. The very nature of this high-profile move into mobile computing will, as they say, simply have to raise all boats. As more people are exposed to the possibilities of consuming content and services in the wireless arena, better product offerings will no doubt follow. That being said, HTC’s smartphone (video here), running Windows mobile with a full qwerty sliding keyboard and touch screen entry (pointer included), has been available from both DoCoMo and SoftBank in Japan since mid-2006. So it’s somewhat difficult to understand the ‘revolutionary design’ aspect as things already seem well underway.

There are several issues (beyond the no 3rd party apps) at first blush; for starters a touch screen as the ‘only’ input feature – can you say finger grease – seems to ignore the common reality of text messaging. It should be quite interesting to see how they have designed the UI for those big dumb fingers to type e-mail. Battery power will be another major challenge with that nice big screen, especially since it will be running a cpu hungry mobile version of OSX. As most readers should recall the locked-down battery saga with the early iPods, clearly their rev. 1 model of this handset might well be disappointing in that area after 12 months of routine daily usage as well.

It’s an easy prediction that it will be one of the Top Stories in 2007 and we are looking forward to
follow the product and it’s market evolution. The company has taken a very public step into this new space and considering the past success of their mobile music product offerings it should help to breath some fresh air into the telecom industry.

OKI to Exhibit at ITU Telecom World

Oki Electric announced its participation at the upcoming ITU Telecom World 2006, which will be held in Hong Kong from December 4th to 8th. OKI will exhibit its products based on its position of having launched the first VoIP system in Japan in 1996, and its strong track record with its carrier-grade softswitch, which has been used for 5 million subscribers, the world’s largest scale. At the session for “Towards a safer digital society,” CEO Shinozuka will be making a keynote speech under the theme, “Ubiquitous Security – Towards Realization of a Safe and Secure Digital World.”

KDDI's Aggressive EV-DO Upgrade

The CDMA Development Group (CDG) has reported that KDDI is strengthening its technological and differentiated services lead in Japan by upgrading its CDMA network to so-called Revision A. Rev A’s most compelling benefit will be a dramatic increase in uplink speeds up to 1.8 Mbps and downlink speeds up to 3.1 Mbps, as compared to EV-DO Release 0 that supports speeds up to 153.6 kbps and 2.4Mbps, respectively. KDDI has already announced the availability of two handsets from Toshiba, the W47T and DRAPE, to support the commercial launch of its advanced broadband technology services by December 2006.

NTT DoCoMo Announces New 3G, HSDPA Phones

NTT DoCoMo Announces New 3G, HSDPA PhonesNTT DoCoMo, Inc. and its eight regional subsidiaries today announced 14 new 3G FOMA handsets, including the 903i-series, the ‘SIMPURE’ series and N902iL. All 11 new 903i handsets provide a wide range of entertainment functions, said the company. They are equipped for DoCoMo’s Chaku-Uta Full full-track music-downloading service. Five models can play tracks transferred from PCs that were used to download music from sites such as Napster Japan, which offers unlimited access to approximately 1.5 million downloadable tracks for a flat rate. HSDPA-capable models work with the Music Channel service, which enables up to two music programs to be downloaded automatically during the night, and the expanded i-motion video clip for downloading up to 10MB files. All models are compatible with Mega i-appli rich applications, and some are also equipped for “One-segment” digital terrestrial broadcasting.

The new 903i-series offer a number of improved conveniences for daily life. They have IC cards with triple the storage capacity of conventional models, and they come preinstalled with software required to use DoCoMo’s DCMX mobile credit card on DoCoMo’s iD platform. Six 903i models are equipped for the Keitai-Osagashi Service, a GPS service that enables a misplaced handset to be located with a PC.

NEC Joins KDDI's Corporate WLAN Offering

KDDI has issued a follow-up to their spring announcement regarding the dual-mode CDMA 1x and corporate WLAN network service offering. The corporate mobile business solution service, or so-called “Office Freedom” campaign, will now also use NEC’s Univerge SV7000 for SIP access point hardware, with the E02SA BREW handset from Sanyo. DoCoMo have also been working in this area over the last few years to provide major corporate clients, such as Toyota and JAL, the in-house VoIP ability using NEC’s 900iL handset.

NTT DoCoMo finally needs Microsoft

One of WWJ’s long-time favorite mobile & tech media sites, The Register.co.uk, 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…

Vodafone K.K. Announces Nokia WLAN Handsets

In a rush of press releases from the local carriers today, the news from Vodafone K.K. that it plans to offer two new mobile business devices in autumn 2006 was notable. Both devices, manufactured by Nokia, will run on Vodafone K.K.’s 3G network and on wireless LANs. They are based on the Nokia E60 and E61 models, which are currently available for enterprise customers in Europe and Asia.

We talked about the entry of Nokia e-series business devices back in October 2005; looks like a year later it will finally happen!

KDDI Announces Mobile WLAN Systems

Targeting the enterprise market, KDDI has announced two VoIP telephony solutions: AirIP’s Office Freedom, designed to operate using the newly released E02SA handset via 802.11g, and Fujitsu’s Mobile Office, which appears able to run on a wider range of handsets using a BREW application. The Office Freedom system also suggests that GPS functionality will be available to track employee current locations… and recent movements!