Three of Japan’s four biggest mobile carriers, namely NTT Docomo, KDDI au, and eAccess, are about to make it easier for their combined subscriber base of roughly 90 million people to exchange emails with other.
The plan is to standardize the display of emoticons, or emoji in Japanese, across handsets offered by the three networks.
As of now, certain emoji aren’t correctly displayed when sent from the cell phone of a Docomo user to that of a KDDI user, for example. I am not a big emoji fan, but The Nikkei says that if a Docomo subscriber sends an emoji showing i.e. Taurus the Bull to somebody using a KDDI phone, a cow is displayed.
What may sound trivial is actually quite a big deal in Japan, where emoji have been in use since 1999 and emails have been the most popular way to communicate between mobile phone users since.
It’s especially young people who use emoji excessively. Around 2008, the lack of emoji support was blamed as one of the factors leading to the (initially) sluggish sales of the iPhone in Japan. In the same year, it was Google Japan’s local team that made it possible for Gmail users worldwide to use emoji in their messages.
KDDI an eAccess are also in the process of creating around 200 new emoji that fit NTT Docomo’s most popular ones. The standardization will kick off with new handsets released this summer.
SoftBank Mobile, Japan’s No. 3 carrier, isn’t part of the agreement: the company says it simply doesn’t display problematic emoji sent from handsets offered by other carriers on its handsets.
KDDI, Japan’s second largest cellphone carrier is being blamed by users on Twitter [J] by displaying advertising on Android “as a system notification”.
Here is a sample screenshot informs from KDDI to you “Diet by an App”,
on the system notification.
The Android app to insert such ads on the Android system notification is an officially bundled “au one Market”, alternative Android Market powered by KDDI au (Google’s Android Market also exists on the phones).
According to @jn_mo, this was introduced at the app’s update 2 times before. After update, user will be explained 1. au one Market app stays resident even when you are not using the app, 2. notification space will be used to inform good deals to customers.
The agreement screen has a large “OK” button. Just above the button, there is a link saying “Click here if you do not like to see the ads”.
As some users pointed out, there is a similar service AirPush from US, which utilizes notification message for ads, which seems not welcomed by every user. This KDDI’s one could spread wider as it is by cellphone carrier with pre-installed, unable-to-remove, automatically updated app.
[Update 2012-01-30] Few days later, KDDI added a message on the app’s top linked to explain why ads are showed on the notification slot.
Only Engadget Japan and Slashdot Japan took this news listed on Google News Japanese.
BCN Ranking announced the statistics of the first week sales of iPhone 4S in Japan. At this new version, the nation’s 3rd carrier Softbank Mobile‘s exclusive distribution since iPhone 3G ends, the 2nd largest carrier KDDI au enters to sell iPhone.
The ranking shows the two carriers’ iPhone 4S with three variations of memory-size, 64M/32M/16M, total 6 variations occupied the top 6.
BCN Ranking counted the carriers share only within iPhone 4S [J], Softbank took 51.7%, whilst KDDI au gained 48.3%.
BCN Ranking collected the number of sold units from shops, which it claims to cover 40% of Japanese retails. The retail shops do not include Apple Stores and carriers stores.
The iPhone 4S is coming to Japan: both SoftBank Mobile and new provider KDDI au, the No. 3 and 2 mobile carriers in this country, will start accepting pre-orders from Friday October 7, as shown on Apple Japan’s website.
The iPhone 4S will then become available exactly one week later, on October 14 (as in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the UK).
According to Japanese business daily The Nikkei, KDDI will offer the phone in 1,200 locations all over the country, including electronics retailers. The company plans to boost this number to 5,000 as early as at the end of next month.
Just like SoftBank, KDDI will offer the iPhone 4S only in brick-and-mortar stores, not online.
KDDI’s Android handset promotion site “Android au” has been shut down today. The site shows a very short message “Android au site has finished.” in plain HTML, then visitors are redirected to KDDI au’s top page after 5 seconds.
The special page has been promoting KDDI’s Android handset with a popular boys group Arashi, with commercial films saying “Isn’t it non-sense to have a smartphone which is (often) out of service?” and “You may enjoy Flash site with Android”, which obviously pointed Softbank/iPhone. (Softbank has quite bad reputation on its connectivity in compare to the others.)
(official videos are removed, these fan re-posting video might be dismissed soon.)
KDDI announced their new model cellphones on 26th, and keeps “no comments” on their iPhone 5.
Their pushing Android was too much and some consumers even thought that Android is KDDI’s smartphone brand (Docomo smartphone users rather think they have “smartphone”). This is a big strategic anabasis.
[Update 2011-09-27] KDDI changed the plain message with a bit better image,
and now it is redirected to their new promotion site, where they remove “Android au” logo and old movies. The new site shows the new phrase “Mirai ha Eraberu”(You can select future). Interestingly, this catch seems to match their 1 year old former catch “Mirai he Ikunara Android wo Mate”(Wait Android if you go future).
KDDI au already introduced Windows Phone 7.5 (IS12T) and if iPhone 5 is coming, they needed to disband their Android-centric promotion caravan. But could not they switch the site at the same time without making all KDDI Android users worried?