The definition of “smartphone” is vague even among Japanese. Japanese Wikipedia [J] says that smartphone means that the phone has any of these operating system; “Symbian OS, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7, iPhone OS, Android, BlackBerry OS, Palm OS and Palm WebOS”. That is, all non-Japanese OS.
Apple built up their 4.9% share in few years is a great achievement in this crookedly-evolved competitive cellphone market, even though it was initially supported by loyal users of Macintosh and iPod, both had succeeded more than world average in Japan, and exclusive partner Softbank Mobile’s aggressive “Substantially Free” campaign, which is now being extended over a year.
But honestly, I dislike English media repeat posting “latest iPhone domination in Japan” news with misleading number, which should not be good also for serious foreign companies who are thinking how they should go into Japanese mobile market. You must support Japanese cellphone… yet.
In order to cover one of this year’s remarkable mobile exhibitions in Tokyo, I’ve checked many IT news sources, but most of new products and new services introduced at the exhibition have been already featured on Asiajin. (Probably this is what we have to be proud of, because that means we keep covering the cutting-edge.)
That’s why we focus only on what we’ve never featured on Asiajin but have been exhibited at Wireless Japan 2009.
Mobile giant NTT DoCoMo and Applix, a Tokyo-based Java mobile platform developer having two-dozen-year history, announced they would join forces to develop AR(Augmented Reality) products. Following Tonchi-Dot’s Sekai Camera[E/J] (backed up by Softbank Mobile) and KDDI’s AR cellphone, NTT DoCoMo joined the race in developing AR-based products, which means all three Japanese mobile carriers believe AR may be one of key factors for making the next-generation mobile business more successful.
The video above was taken and published on YouTube by freelance writer Tamotsu Hashimoto.
The team of NTT DoCoMo and Applix developed a new Android app allowing you to retrieve information associated with what you’re seeing through a camera built-in your cellphone, and its experimental prototype was exhibited. The app is also downloadable for signed up users at the trial service category[J] of NTT DoCoMo’s corporate website.
Meanwhile, Japan’s only PHS mobile operator Willcom developed a high-speed data transmission standard called XGP, and it’s now on test drive at Tokyo’s CBD. However, with such a brand new technology, most of us have no idea on how our life will be changed in the future. Willcom developed a variety of concept-based product mockups in association with major Japanese mobile device manufacturers, and those have been introduced on the company’s special website[J] for the last several months. The mockups were actually exhibited within booth visitor’s reach, which makes us easier to imagine what happens next.
(The mockups introduced below are not intended for sales but conceptual models for encouraging further consumer understanding.)
A floating WiFi access point allows you to enjoy the Internet on sea, lake and river. It measures up-to-date water temperature and sea current, capture images and sounds, and transmit them over wireless Internet connection.
Broadband Communication Tool for Motorbike Riders developed by JRC
By attaching this device to a motorbike rider’s helmet, he/she will be always updated with useful information even while he/she is driving.
Image Tube: Multi-task Display developed by Kyocera
An LCD rolled around a hand-held body will show you a variety of information, and you can choose a menu only by touching it with your finger.
RFID (radio-frequency identification) tagging will be well spread at retail services, this bag allows housewives to keep the list of what you’ve bought. By transmitting the list over the Internet, it allows them to manage the family expenses and to promote health care.
This attachment for bicycles will change them to rental bikes. The attachment has features of GPS navigation, FeliCa (for accepting rental fee payment by contactless cellphone wallet) and remote lock system for possible fraud use.
A combination of wearing this device and high-speed wireless connectivity allows you to communicate with many people who speak different languages from your mother tongue, since it translates what you speak as well as your gestures. Translation results will be uttered by the device or appeared on its surface.
UQ Communications, the Japanese Mobile WiMAX license holder, will commence a trial period of 4 months prior to a formal network launch expected in July.
Starting on the 26th of February 2009, trial area will include Tokyo, Yokohama and Kawasaki. Trial application forms are already available on UQ website, from which 5000 trial “Monitors” will be selected. Trial service is free of charge, with each participant receiving a “rental” data card from a selection of USB dongles, PCMCIA and express cards. Upon trial completion, participants will be able to select if they want to become paid subscribers or return the equipment.
On Service launch, UQ will offer the following:
UQ Flat – A flat fee, boasting speeds of 40Mbps on the Downlink, 10Mbps Uplink – priced at ¥4480 per month.
UQ WiFi – Optional with no added cost WiFi service to be offered at main transportation locations, including the N700 Shinkansen.
While currently available devices are data cards from Shinsei Corporation (UD01SS-USB and UD02SS-Express Card) and NEC Access Technica (UD01NA-USB and UD02NA-PCMCIA Card) additional devices, including MID and Laptops are expected for the Network Launch in July.
UQ Communication was formed by KDDI Corporation (32.26%), Intel Capital (17.65%), Kyocera Corporation (17.65%), Daiwa Securities Group (9.8%) and Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ bank (5%) to offer Mobile WiMAX services.
While Mobile WiMAX services around the world falter (Sprint-Clearwire in the US, WiBRO in Korea) UQ Communication is right on track with their plans to deploy a nation-wide Mobile WiMAX network, signing several MVNOs and promising unprecedented Wireless data speeds.