Microsoft Japan Finally Upgrades Staffs’ 4 Years-old Windows Phone

Microsoft Japan announced today that its employees are to get Lumia 830 instead of their current Windows Phone IS12T, Windows Phone device which are not sold in Japan. The announcement also notes that the company got Lumia 830’s Giteki-certification only for this purpose, to legalize its employees’ usage of the phone.

IS12T, made by Fujitsu and provided by KDDI au since 2011, is the only-ever sold Windows Phone in Japan. (There are a few SIM-free Windows Phone being planned for this summer by rather small vendors.)

IS12T is only upgradable from Windows Phone 7.5 to Windows Phone 7.8, not the latest version 8.0. Because of such situation, both user and application bases of Windows Phone are now pretty inactive in Japan. It seems that MS Japan staff have been forced to use the IS12T for 4 years.

Microsoft Japan tells that the Lumia 830 Giteki-certified does not directly mean that the handset would be available for regular Japanese consumers.

Some pointed out on Twitter that this move may be related with the Microsoft Japan’s developers event de:code held tomorrow. As the event attendees might be gifted Windows Phone, and as there are no other legal Windows Phone in Japan, that would be this same Giteki-certified Lumia 830.

via PC Watch

Up To 100 IMs Simuiltaneously! CyberAgent Releases Teen Girl MS “DECOLINK”

CyberAgent, Inc. [J] has released the smartphone free messenger service DECOLINK [J], geared towards teen girls, for their Smartphone Ameba [J].

“DECOLINK” is a free smartphone messenger service  which lets you exchange messages with up to 100 people simultaneously.  It offers moving message icons, pictographic mini-emoticons that can be inserted into the message, a plethora of 10,000 “deco-stamps,”  oriented towards teen girls, all for free, and users can customize the display font and display screen background to their liking.  The deco-stamps are put together into a design suited for teen girls, and popular characters from Ameba services such as “Ameba Pigg,” “Booshuka,” and “Kiiteyo! Mirucho” also make an appearance.

This service was developed by their teens subdivision, carrying out business specializing in the smartphone service for junior high and high school girls known as “Candy” [J], a decorative homepage service.  From now, they are planning development of functions that cater to the wishes of teenage girls and pro-active collaborations with various contents, and they are now designing a smartphone platform architecture for teen girls centered on “Candy.”


Translation authorized by VSMedia

Docomo’s LTE Passes 10 Million Subscribers

NTT Docomo announced [J] today February 19, 2013 that their LTE service Xi got 10 million users yesterday, February 18, 2013.

Here is a chart from their release. Docomo’s Xi began December 24, 2010.


[Update] other English news

Japan’s DoCoMo hits 10 million LTE subscribers, doubling its numbers in 6 months – The Next Web

Despite slower speeds, NTT Docomo quick to surpass 10 million LTE subscribers

SoftBank Starts Using The 900MHz “Platinum Band”

There can be no doubt that SoftBank is the mobile carrier with the weakest network among Japan’s big three telcos, following that of NTT Docomo and KDDI. But now there is hope that things will finally change for the better.

Back in March this year, the Japanese government decided to allocate the 900-megahertz band (also dubbed “platinum band”) to SoftBank. And yesterday, the company finally started using the band, with plans to set up a total of 42,000 compatible base stations all over Japan by 2019.

Users can check the areas that are serviced by visiting this website (it looks like large parts of Greater Tokyo will get covered by September this year).

SoftBank, which currently has 30 million subscribers, expects cost for the network upgrade to amount to around US$10.5 billion.

Last month, the Japanese government allocated another “platinum band” to Docomo, KDDI, and eAccess: SoftBank’s rivals plan to use the 700-megahertz band for their LTE services from 2015.