KDDI Releases New AR Brand SATCH, Comes With SDK For Free

KDDI released new AR brand SATCH yesterday, in order to expand AR (Augmented Reality) Market.

SATCH is a new brand to expand AR market with KDDI’s new AR technology.

SATCH sounds ‘sacchi’ in Japanese, which means ‘detect’, or cover cell phone quickly over the item and check it out.

KDDI also made a partnership with Total Immersion in September and expected to put extra investment.

Along with this press release, KDDI provides free SDK for developer based on D’fusion technology from Total Immersion on 15th of December.

via Keitai Watch [J]

Hard Times May Come For Softbank After KDDI Gets iPhone5

Some days ago we reported KDDI may distribute the next iteration of the iPhone. Now the reactions are coming: Goldman Sachs predicts hard times may come for Softbank [J], Softbank falls a 5% at Tokyo Stocks Exchange.

Softbank, with a 21% share of the market, is the third leading mobile service provider in Japan, trailing NTT DoCoMo (48%) and KDDI (27%). Although the company won a major advantage by being the country’s exclusive iPhone distributor, its relatively poor coverage area and services have come into question lately, leading many to state that if another carrier stepped up to ship the iPhone, they would switch without hesitation.

KDDI, under its new CEO Takashi Tanaka, has recovered some of its lost fighting spirit. They introduced Skype preinstalled in all their phones; and in August they were the first to introduce Windows Phone in Japan. Now, with the iPhone 5, probably a lot of the young people who moved to Softbank will come back to their old provider.

Meanwhile, Masayoshi Son (Softbank CEO) announced in the next 2 years they are planning to invest 2,000 billion yen in order to improve their infrastructures. DoCoMo is pushing hard with their new technology LTE (also known as “Super 3G” or “3.9G”) under the Xi brand, which allows smartphone users to enjoy a a bigger volume of data and more speed. For the time being it’s only available at the center of Tokyo, Nagano and Osaka. Probably the social games devices (Sony Xperia PLAY, PS Vita and others) will help to the development of this new system.

Sources: Mainichi Shimbun [J], NTT DoCoMo

KDDI’s “Android au” Site Terminated, Not Telling Why But Likely By iPhone 5

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?

Breaking: Japan’s 2nd Telco KDDI Reportedly To Sell iPhone5

Nikkei Business Online is reporting [J], according to people familiar with the matter, the nation’s second carrier KDDI has an arrangement with Apple on selling iPhone in Japan.

In Japan, iPhone has been exclusively provided by the 3rd carrier Softbank Mobile. It is not officially disclosed but Nikkei speculates that Softbank has been selling 7.5 million units. Half of Softbank’s new subscribers are said to purchase iPhone, which push them up to the close third position despite its rather weak network.

KDDI To Bring Android Apps To China Mobile Subscribers

Japan’s second biggest telco and mobile carrier KDDI is planning to bring a set of made-in-Japan apps to Android users in China, in cooperation with China Mobile, the country’s biggest telco (over 600 mobile subscribers).

Under the deal, KDDI will start offering an initial 22 apps, for example manga or games, in China Mobile’s Android market as early as from the end of this month. KDDI uses apps made by a total of five Japan-based companies, i.e. Cybird, Acrodea or G-Mode.

The company says services like billing or fee collection for these app developers will be handled by Hong Kong-based DMX Technologies, a firm KDDI acquired a 51% stake in back in 2009.

The Nikkei is reporting that KDDI is only the 10th company to be given the right to sell apps in China Mobile’s Android market (which has 90 million customers).

Google Japan Launches Minna no Business Online, Free Website Hosting For Small-Mid Business

Minna no Business Online (=business for everyone online) is a newly released web hosting service by Google in Japan, today on September 13 2011.

The site is, very different from typical Google web services, not under google domains but have its own jp domain (minbiz.jp), designed with vivid red, like the color which is used by the nation’s largest e-commerce mall Rakuten [J].

Features they post on the top page are:

  • Easy for everyone to build
  • Free for 1 year
  • Specialized designs for many industry categories
  • Your own domain

On your registration, you will be asked a new domain name you want to use, from the selection of “.jp”, “.com”, “.net”, “.org”, “.biz” and “.info”, which covers most top level domains Japanese companies usually choose.

You may choose about 100 different designs from 14 categories of industry. At the end of registration process, you need to receive an automatic phone call to get authenticated (that you are a real shop owner).

Google’s motivations for the service seem on 2 points. Firstly, this service will start charging after 1 year, for example with “.jp” domain, 1,470 yen (US$19) per month. The other part is the site guides the new website owners to its advertising platform, AdWords.

Google’s commercial film is up on YouTube,

“Free website building in 15 minutes”

The partner page shows that Google Japan is collaborating with some others. KDDI, 2nd largest cellphone carrier, and its subsidiary KDDI Communications who has been running website builder/hosting Jimdo in Japan. Actually, design choosing form on the Minbiz’s registration process is on Jimdo site.

Extra-governmental Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation and NPO IT Coordinators Association [J] are also on the partners list.

The first case studies are introduced on the site. There Google took a small island Kouzusima, and let some small business owners make their first websites.

via Google Japan Blog

KDDI Buys 15% Stake In French AR Company Total Immersion

Japan’s second biggest telecommunications firm KDDI announced [JP] it has acquired an equity stake in French based Total Immersion S.A., an augmented reality (AR) software maker. Business daily The Nikkei says it has learned KDDI paid 100 million yen (US$1.3 million) for a 15% interest in the company.

Total Immersion has offices in North America, Europe, and Asia (their Japan office is located in Tokyo). The company was founded in 1999 and received US$5.5 million in funding from Intel and others back in March this year.

(So according to The Nikkei, Total Immersion’s valuation can be estimated to be somewhere around US$8.7 million, while TechCrunch reports that (before the money from Japan), the company collected US$11 million from investors over the years.)

In any case, KDDI says they are especially interested in using Total Immersion’s core technology, the so-called D’Fusion AR software platform, for smartphones. Subscribers can expect the first content based on D’Fusion to be rolled out in December (the picture below shows D’Fusion Mobile used as a marketing tool).

KDDI has also invested in Tokyo-based AR startup Tonchidot last year.