Motorola and RIM Rolling in – SoftBank a No-Show?

Last week saw an interesting double play for mobile devices in Japan as both NTT DoCoMo and Willcom announced new phones — DoCoMo’s 7-Series — or new PDAs — Sharp’s oddly named W-Zero3[es]. These, combined with the continuing speculation on the this fall’s entry of RIM’s Blackberry email device (will it have Japanese text input capability?), made it a busy week for wireless watchers.

On Tuesday, WWJ was first on the Web with a full report and images of DoCoMo’s new 7-Series, a mix of models from Sharp, Panasonic, NEC and Mitsubishi, as well as from US maker Motorola…

Japan's Bullet Trains to Get Wi-Fi

Passengers on the famous Japanese Shinkansen “bullet trains” will be able to surf the Internet while traveling at 300 kilometers per hour, thanks to a new service planned by the railway operator. But there’s going to be quite a wait until the first wireless LAN-equipped trains arrive at the platform. Central Japan Railway (JR Tokai), which operates the Shinkansen service between Tokyo and the western Japanese city of Osaka, said it plans to offer wireless Internet service throughout all cars of its new N700-series trains in early 2009.

Kyocera Unveils Dual-Mode Prototype

Kyocera Wireless and Boingo Wireless announced the demonstration of a prototype Kyocera BREW-based dual-mode Wi-Fi/CDMA handset with integrated Boingo public Wi-Fi roaming at the CTIA Wireless 2006 trade show in Las Vegas. In a real-world setting, network operators and MVNOs can optimize the dual-mode handset’s application suite to automatically choose the appropriate mode, based on environmental and performance preferences.

New Fujitsu-Siemens Smartphone

According to leaks around the web, Fujitsu-Siemens will unveil a high-end smartphone loaded with features at 3GSM in March. The T800 [ .jpg image ] will roll-out a QWERTY keyboard with a 240×240 display, rumored to be running Windows Mobile 5.0 Phone Edition on a 416 MHz XScale processor. Also predicted 64 MB of RAM and 128 MB of Flash ROM for storage the new unit will supposedly offer Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) and Bluetooth 2.0 as well.

Proxim and NEC Begin Deployment of Large Retail Wireless Network

Proxim Wireless Corporation, a global provider of broadband wireless equipment and subsidiary of Terabeam, Inc., today announced that it is supplying NEC Infrontia Corp., a leading manufacturer of key telephone systems and point-of-sale (POS) systems, with the infrastructure to deploy Wi-Fi hotspots and wireless POS solutions throughout Japan in all of the locations of two large retail chains. These deployments are individually the largest retail wireless networks in both companies’ history.

3G Poised to Take Off in US

Recent consolidation among commercial wireless operators in the U.S. will set the stage for 3G networks to proliferate in the U.S., said Nobuharu Ono, president and CEO of NTT DoCoMo USA, speaking at the Radio Club of America’s annual awards banquet. Ono credited U.S. vendors with wireless innovations such as Wi-Fi and WiMAX, but said “their impact is up for debate.” He also noted that the U.S. trails far behind Japan in the development of 3G networks and services.

Accton Launching Skype Cellphone

Taiwan-based Accton Technology unveiled its Skype-enabled Wi-Fi phone, the SkyFone WM1185-T, in Tokyo at the so-called "Skype day" event. The new unit [.jpg] enables a talk time of up to four hours with a stand-by-time of up to 20 hours and is likely to be initially priced at over US$150 in the retail market, according to sources. Accton also plans to introduce dual-mode mobile phones that support both GSM and Wi-Fi technology in early 2006.

Wi-Fi Trial on Tokyo Trains

A new high-tech suburban Tokyo train has been launched with the promise of a wireless Internet service allowing passengers to surf the Web on the move. The semi-private Tsukuba Express links Akihabara, Tokyo’s discount electronics heartland, with Tsukuba, a campus town 58 kilometers (36 miles) to the north. For now the Wi-Fi wireless Internet service, offered by NTT BP and Intel, is only on trial in the train carriages and five of 20 stations along the line.

Intel Verifies Connexion by Boeing

Connexion by Boeing and Intel announced an agreement to enhance and promote high-speed, in-flight wireless Internet service. The companies have successfully completed compatibility testing with Intel’s Centrino-based laptop configurations, making Connexion by Boeing the first in-flight Internet service to be verified through Intel’s Wireless Verification Program, according to the companies. They said that Connexion by Boeing is the only high-speed wireless Internet, data and entertainment connectivity service for commercial airlines and their passengers as well as for operators of private and government executive jets.