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DOCOMO
 
> 58.79m
AU
 
> 33.53m
SOFTBANK
 
> 26.62m
EMOBILE
 
> 3.5m
PHS
 
> 4.1m
TOTAL
 
> 123.04m
OTHERS
W-MODULE:
 
> 5.39m
PREPAY:
 
> 1.27m
BWA (UQ):
 
> 1.16m
TOTAL
 
> 7.82m
Updated 9/7/2011
 
GENERAL News of 10/2/2011
  September 19th-25th Handset Sales Ranking; au Xperia takes top spot!
Sunday, October 2, 2011
  Summary au’s Xperia acro IS11S jumped 4 spots to number 1 in sales while the iPhone four climbed 1 spot to #2 in sales for the week of September 19th. NTT DoCoMo’s Xperia acro SO-02C fell one spot to #3 while the previous week’s top seller the GALAXY S II SC-02C fell 4 spots to 5th in overall sales. Softbank Mobile’s Mimamori Keitai 005Z maintained its positions as 4th in sales volume. (ITmedia +D Mobile)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/27/2011
  IDC Survey Results: Domestic handset shipments fall in 2nd quarter, affected by earthquake
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
  Summary According to a recent IDC Japan Survey, domestic handset shipments fell in the 2nd quarter (April - June) due to lingering effects from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. In comparison with the previous year total shipment fell 15.2% to 8.2 million units in the quarter, making the first decrease in domestic handset shipments in 7 quarters. However, the survey also shows that smartphones are booming with Android shipments increase 6.5 times the previous year to 2.74 million units and iOS device sales doubling to 990,000 units over the quarter. Market share in the smartphone markets is as follows. (1) Sharp with 24.7% (2) Toshiba and 19.1% (3) Apple at 12.1%. Kyocera holds 4th place while Sony Ericsson clings to 5th. (Keitai Watch)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/21/2011
  Willcom announced 3G fixed-rate data plan
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
  Summary Willcom announced that it will commence services for its new 3G data plan (3G Data Fixed-Rate) from October 7th. Willcom’s DC-HSDPA service, ULTRA SPEED, utlizes the same brand name as its cousin on Softbank. A 2-year contract carries a monthly rate of 4,980 yen per month, however users who contract before December 31st can contract at 3,880 per month. (Keitai Watch)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/30/2011
  JCI launches 1GB flat rate service
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
  Summary J-COM will begin selling a new flat rate service as part of its b-mobile fair 1GB plan from September 1st. The new service allows users to use up to 1GB of data per month for 3,100 yen and comes with the unimaginative name of "1GB Flat rate plan 3100 yen". The b-mobile fair 1GB is a SIM/microSIM product that allows a user to download 1GB or transmit data for up to 120 days, whichever comes first. The initial fee retails at 9,800 yen with a recharge after 120 days or 1GB fee of 8,350 yen. Users who use less than 250Mb per month can purchase plans for as little as 2,087 yen per month. (IT Media +D Mobile)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/26/2011
  July Handset sales: 1/2 of all handsets sold were smartphones
Friday, August 26, 2011
  Summary GfK Marketing Services Japan issued a report claiming that nearly half (49%) of all handsets sold in July in Japan were smartphones.The article also cites the large number of smartphone accessories now available in consumer electronics stores throughout Japan. (Keitai Watch)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/23/2011
  More than 3.1 million handsets shipped in June, smartphones account for more than 30%
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
  Summary Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA) and the Communications and Information network Association of Japan (CIAJ)released the figures for total number of mobile and PHS phones shipped in June of this year. A total of 3,096,000 handsets were shipped in the month, 82.5 percent of the amount shipped in the same month last year. *Note: figures only include domestic Japanese makers phones. (Keitai Watch)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/21/2011
  Xperia, Galaxy and iPhonea are top selling handsets for 5 straight weeks
Sunday, August 21, 2011
  Summary NTT DoCoMo’s Xperia acro SO-02C and GALAXY S II SC-02C continued to dominate in handset sells coming in at 1 and 2 respectively while the 16GB iPhone 4 continues to be a popular item. (ITMedia +D Mobile)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/26/2011
  Social networking sites ease communication knots in disaster zones
Saturday, March 26, 2011
  Summary Facebook, Twitter and other online networking services facilitated the exchange of vital information when other communication systems were disrupted by the March 11 earthquake, but the disaster also shed light on such services weaknesses. Some people using certain mobile phone models were unable to use message board services provided by mobile phone companies, and some false or misleading information was spread through social networking services. (Yomiuri)  
 
   
  Ustream Social Shows Japanese Public Frustration with Authorities
Saturday, March 26, 2011
  Summary There also not much in the news media about the level of public frustration toward official handling of the nuclear crisis. Not so if you are watching the Japanese social stream. Ustream is providing live feeds of both NHK and TBS in Japanese, which is accompanied by an extremely active and angry-sounding commentary from Japanese viewers. (gilesrichter.com / Mobimon)  
 
   
  Twitter2CSV Lets You Search Tweets From Within Tsunami Disaster Zone
Saturday, March 26, 2011
  Summary If anything good comes out of this tragedy, it will be a new suite of disaster management tools. Twitter2CSV.com is one such solution. The site allows visitors to quickly scan only tweets coming from within the disaster zone. Users can select a radius of between 10-30 kilometers from the worst hit areas, and then set a number of filters according to keywords such as "food," "bath," "electricity," "gasoline," "charging," "supplies," and "evacuation." (gilesrichter.com / Mobimon)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/13/2011
  After Quake, Mobile Voice Fails, Data & Payphones Stay Connected
Sunday, March 13, 2011
  Summary All 3 major mobile carriers lost voice service as a result of Fridays quake in the Tokyo area, but data services kept working for the most part. So everybody with a fixed or mobile data connection (and mobile broadband connections like those from emobile) was able to get online and check in via email, chat, or social media. Having mobile calling service knocked out was an eye-opener about how vulnerable the wireless network is. People have actually been lining up to use payphones, and NTT has made available free payphone calling service in afflicted areas. (gilesrichter.com / Mobimon)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 2/22/2011
  Japan slices books into e-reader-sized bytes
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
  Summary Would you pay $1 a copy to have all the books in your house cut up and scanned to PDF? That's what is happening in Japan, where cramped living conditions and the arrival of the iPad in May have spawned as many as 60 companies offering to turn paper books into e-books as publishers have been slow to provide content for new electronic readers. Maybe not so nice for those old collectibles with the fancy bindings. But if it were a question of trashing a paperback or scanning it for a buck, it seems appealing. Especially in Japan, where you might have to pay the local hauler more than that to dispose of a mountain of old books. (News on Japan)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 2/6/2006
  Japan Mobile Penetration agest 5-9 to reach 64% in 2007
Monday, February 6, 2006
  Summary Under 10s and over 60s are expected push the Japanese mobile market up to 100 million subscribers in the next few years. According to the new Japan Mobile Market statistical handbook, future growth in the Japanese mobile market will be centred on the under 14s and over 55s as 100% penetration is reached in all other age groups. Penetration in the 5-9 year-old age group will more than double from 29% in 2004 to reach 64% in 2007 but the largest number of new subscribers in 2006 will come from the 55-65 age group, with 1.62 million new customers. (Yahoo)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/27/2005
  Japan’s TBS, Index in Internet TV joint venture
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
  Summary Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS), Japan’s third-biggest TV broadcaster, said on Monday it will form a joint venture with mobile content provider Index Corp. and others to air TV programs over the Internet. print this article email this article The move, first reported by media last month, is the latest between Japan’s Internet companies and TV broadcasters, many of which have become takeover targets as Internet firms seek to use advances in communications technology to deliver content via the Web.TBS, Index and satellite TV broadcaster Sky Perfect Communications Inc. said they would form a joint venture in January and plan to air 2006 FIFA World Cup programs for which Index has broadcasting rights over the Internet and cellular phones. The three firms would also ask other nationwide TV networks, including Japan’s biggest broadcaster Fuji Television Network Inc., to participate in the joint venture, they said. (Biz Report)  
 
   
  Japanese women love to shop by mobile phone
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
  Summary Shopping by mobile phone is rapidly increasing in Japan, especially among women who are skillful in operating them and like to pick out clothing, accessories and other goods anywhere and anytime. Sears Impressions Co. in Saitama, north of Tokyo, which runs the accessory shop "Jewelry Kingdom" that mainly sells brand-name rings and necklaces via mobile phones, posts more than 10 million yen in sales a month. It opened the shop on the mobile phone site "Pocket Bidders," which is managed by DeNA Co. of Tokyo, a major Net shopping mall, and it generates some of the highest sales among the 2,000 shops on the site. (Kyodo)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/5/2005
  NCB, Frontmedia to Co-produce Programs for Both Radio and Mobile Phones
Monday, December 5, 2005
  Summary Nippon Cultural Broadcasting Inc. (NCB) and Frontmedia Inc. have formed the "Keitai (mobile phone), Radio Hybrid Broadcast Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)" with the aim of co-producing programs for on-demand distribution to mobile phones and radio broadcast. Programs produced by this LLP are aired as NCB’s 30-minute terrestrial program called "MARUGOTO STATION," while Frontmedia distributes them free of charge at NTT DoCoMo, Inc.’s official site, which is also named "MARUGOTO STATION". The companies dubbed the free distribution of radio programs "Downloadable Broadcast," and this service offering the same programs through mobile phones and the radio "Hybrid Broadcast." Compatible handsets are every product of the FOMA 900 and 901 series. All tunes aired in the programs are downloadable for JPY315 per title. (Nikkei)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/3/2005
  Softbank Shareprice Rises 50% in month on Earnings, Mobile License Aquisition
Saturday, December 3, 2005
  Summary Shares in Japanese Internet firm Softbank Corp. reached a five-year high on Friday, bringing its gains to 50 percent in a month as individual investors snapped up the stock on optimism over its earnings and its new mobile phone service licence. But some analysts said the stock could be rising too quickly before the firm has shown consistent profits or demonstrated its ability to provide a telecommunications service that integrates fixed-line and mobile. (Yahoo)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/22/2005
  Panasonic Begins Delivery of prosolid II Handsets to NTT DoCoMo
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
  Summary Panasonic Mobile Communications Co., Ltd. has begun delivery of its "prosolid II" proprietary mobile handset to NTT DoCoMo, Inc. Using aluminum panel and magnesium alloy have achieved sophistication in its design and rigidity, making it possible the slimmest and lightest DoCoMo handset (approx 16.7 mm and 99grams) ever before. To enhance easy-to-use functionality, "prosolid II" is equipped with a wide-diameter speaker and QVGA LCD, providing enriched functions such as TV phone, i-ChannelTM, i-Appli, and infrared data communications. (ecoustics.com)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/19/2005
  3 Cos. OK’d in Japan Mobile Phone Market
Saturday, November 19, 2005
  Summary Three Tokyo-based companies were formally granted access to Japan’s mobile phone market Thursday, signaling changes ahead for a sector that has not seen a new entrant for 12 years. Internet service providers Softbank Corp. and eAccess Ltd., as well as startup IP Mobile Inc., received the approval from Japan’s minister of internal affairs and communications, Heizo Takenaka. The new entrants are expected to stiffen competition in an already competitive, $ 70 billion mobile phone market. All three said they plan to start their new businesses as early as the latter part of 2006. (Forbes)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/1/2005
  Mobile wallets take off in Japan
Tuesday, November 1, 2005
  Summary Edy is the name of the service leading the charge into this brave new world of mobile cash. It began life as a smart card but made the leap onto mobiles last year. "We’re promoting Edy in places where it’s more convenient than using cash", said Usoke Oue, a spokesperson for bitWallet which makes Edy. "We need to communicate the advantages to consumers, not just the convenience factor, but also the fact that you can earn reward points." You can charge your Edy-enabled handset with up to 50,000 yen (around US$450 or 250). It can be done in various ways. For example, place your phone against a reader at a charging station and it will take your cash and credit your mobile in return. You can also load your mobile wallet by using the handset itself to go online and make a transfer directly from your credit card or even your bank. With your mobile cash in hand you can begin your retail therapy in earnest. (BBC)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/28/2005
  eAccess to buy Fusion from TEPCO to move into cellphone business
Friday, October 28, 2005
  Summary Japanese broadband services firm eAccess Ltd. is negotiating with Tokyo Electric Power Co. to acquire Fusion Communications Corp., a group fixed-line phone service provider, for over 15 billion yen, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Friday. The report said eAccess hopes to become a full-fledged communications firm to offer Internet Protocol and cellphone services. The acquisition will make eAccess the nation’s fourth-largest comprehensive communications firm after Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., KDDI Corp. and Softbank Corp, the report said. eMobile Ltd., the cellphone unit of eAccess, said late last month eAccess aims to enter into the cellphone business in the 1.7-gigahertz band which the government is expected to assign for cellphone operators in the near future. (Kyodo)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/17/2005
  Yahoo Japan steps up mobile content distribution
Monday, October 17, 2005
  Summary Yahoo Japan Corp. said on Thursday it had launched a mobile content distribution service, in which cellphone users can buy games, ring tones, news and other entertainment and information from 59 content providers. The move is the latest in a series of new services targetted at the rapidly growing mobile Internet commerce market. Japan’s top wireless operator, NTT DoCoMo Inc., said on Tuesday it would form a capital tie-up with Internet shopping mall operator Rakuten Inc. to provide Web auction services to cellphones and personal computers. In the new service, Yahoo Japan’s revenues come as fees for settling transactions and collecting payments for content providers. It declined to comment on its sales target for the new business. Content providers for the new service include digital content creator Cybird Co. Ltd. and game maker Taito Corp.. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/1/2005
  Goldman to invest in eAccess’ cellphone business
Saturday, October 1, 2005
  Summary Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will invest 25 billion yen in Japanese broadband services firm eAccess Ltd.’s plan to enter into the cellphone business, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Thursday. The U.S. financial group will invest the funds in eAccess cellphone subsidiary eMobile Ltd. through investment arm GS Capital Partners, the business daily said. It will also provide business support in such areas as obtaining property for base stations and supplying content offerings. Under the plan, eAccess plans to launch a high-speed data communications service through eMobile in major metropolitan areas in Japan in March 2007. The service will be gradually expanded nationwide. The plan is being considered in line with the government’s move to assign frequencies in the 1.7-gigahertz band for mobile phone services for up to two service operators, possibly by the end of the year, the daily said. (Kyodo)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/28/2005
  Japan wireless subscribers at 95 million
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
  Summary Global wireless subscriber numbers: China - 398 mln, USA 202 mln, Russia - 115 mln, Japan - 95 mln by ZDNet’s ZDNet Research -- Computer Industry Almanac published the numbers on thee subscriber base for wireless services. The worldwide number of cellular subscribers will surpass 2 bln in 2005, up from 11 mln in 1990 and 750 mln in 2000. (ZDNet)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/22/2005
  ’Manga’ publishers see cell phones as the future
Thursday, September 22, 2005
  Summary Cartoon-strip publishers, whose printed-matter sales have been losing steam, are actively embracing mobile media because cell phones are what young people are spending their time and money on. Cell phone sites for cartoon strips are booming, as is demand for popular titles. But at the same time, some famous "manga" artists are bypassing publishing houses to offer their works to "keitai" (cell phone) sites directly. Toppan Printing Co. in April 2003 became one of the first firms to offer cartoon strips via cell phones. It currently offers 55 titles, including Reiji Matsumoto’s "Ginga Tetsudo 999" ("Galaxy Railway 999") in collaboration with major publishers. The cartoons, which are converted to digital form from their original paper edition, cost 30 yen to 100 yen per episode. Company officials said they plan to add 100 more titles by the end of March. "Sales of novels and photo books for cell phones are not bad either, but cartoon strips are deeply rooted in (the culture of) this country and are eye-catchers," said Tadashi Awano, manager of the firm’s e-business division. While declining to give specific figures, he said there are "hundreds of thousands" of cartoon downloads a month. The driving force behind the cell phone cartoon boom is the introduction of high-speed third-generation wireless networks and flat rates for data communications, as well as bigger and sharper displays, according to Toppan officials. (Japan Times)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/19/2005
  Two billion mobile phone mark reached
Monday, September 19, 2005
  Summary THE TOTAL number of mobile phone connexions globally has gone past 2 billion over this weekend, according to Wireless Intelligence. It took 20 years to reach the first billion but a mere three years to add the second billion. Curiously world No: 1 vendor, Nokia, reckons it will take five years to put on the next billion. After all with an estimated 6.5 billion people in the world, we’re running out of people to flog new phones to. How is CDMA2000 faring by comparison? Well its got about 280 million subscribers worldwide but then it has only taken eight years to acquire them. Still The INQ calculates it has only about 14 per cent of the world’s subscribers. The remaining 8 per cent going to the likes of PDC in Japan and TDMA hold-outs. (The Inquirer)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/13/2005
  Japan July mobile phone shipments down 11.4 pct
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
  Summary Mobile phone shipments in Japan showed their biggest fall in nine months in July as a plunge in demand for second-generation phones overwhelmed growth in shipments of higher-speed third-generation (3G) models. Shipments by Japanese mobile phone makers dropped 11.4 percent to 3.66 million units, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA) said. Consumers are switching quickly to the latest models of 3G phones capable of high-speed Internet access, resulting in a near 70 percent drop in 2G handset sales from a year earlier, a JEITA spokesman said. Shipments of 3G phones rose 45 percent to 2.8 million units, making up over 70 percent of total mobile phone sales during the month. JEITA said in December that it considered 2005 to be the turning point for the adoption of 3G. The Telecommunications Carriers Association, which compiles data reported by the operators, said last week that almost 40 percent of Japan’s 88.8 million mobile phone subscribers were on 3G networks at the end of August. NEC Corp. , Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and Sharp Corp. are the nation’s three biggest mobile phone makers, covering about half the market. The following table shows Japanese domestic shipments in millions, with year-on-year percentage changes. No data are released for individual companies. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/30/2005
  Wireless: Web giants set sights on cellphones’ open frontier
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
  Summary Yahoo Japan is an Internet superpower on personal computers here, but when surfers use the browser on their cellphone, that famed Yahoo logo rarely pops up. In Japan, the phone screen and the Internet content underneath is almost always controlled by the mobile carrier. But Yahoo and the other major Japanese portals, like Excite Japan, MSN and Goo, see that barrier breaking down, and they are investing heavily in their mobile phone content. As a result, the number of Web sites designed for viewing on cellphones is starting to catch up with the number of pages designed for PCs. According to NTT Resonant, which operates the Goo portal, there are 400 million to 500 million searchable Japanese-language Web pages, compared with 60 million mobile Web pages. Including carriers’ pages, the cellphone total goes up to an estimated 100 million. (IHT)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/26/2005
  DoCoMo, Sharp, ITX-EG Develop IrSimple
Friday, August 26, 2005
  Summary ITX E-Globaledge, NTT DoCoMo, Sharp and Waseda University have jointly developed IrSimple, a high-speed wireless communications protocol using infrared. IrDA (Infrared Data Association), an industry organization that develops and standardizes specifications for infrared communications, has decided to formally adopt the protocol as its standard. IrSimple achieves faster data transmission speeds (at least 4 to 10 times faster than at present) by improving the efficiency of the current infrared IrDA protocol embedded in many mobile devices such as mobile phones. In addition, the IrSimple protocol also maintains backward compatibility with the existing IrDA protocols. Incorporating IrSimple in digital consumer electronics devices and home appliances is expected to lead to a significant expansion in applications for this new communications protocol. For example, high-resolution photographs taken with a mobile phone or digital camera can be instantly transferred to a flat-panel TV or printer through a simple operation, similar to that of using a remote control unit. (Telecoms Korea)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/19/2005
  How Mobile Phones Conquered Japan
Friday, August 19, 2005
  Summary Blue-haired Harajuku high schoolers thumb-text distant pals on stickered keitai. Cell phones become cookie brokers, beaming snack requests to vending machines that zap back digital payment demands. Teen girls book illicit "compensation dates" with salarymen, sending snapshots to potential johns via camera-phones.The popular myth of Japan as a surreal, warp-speed incubator for all things handheld and digital is nothing new. But rarely do outsiders have an opportunity to venture beyond iconic anecdotes for a matter-of-fact understanding of how mobile technology shapes that country’s culture -- and our own. "Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life" is touted as the first English-language book to attempt just that, and it succeeds. (Wired News)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/17/2005
  Music downloads to phones dominate Japanese market
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
  Summary Cell phone downloads including complete songs and ring tone melodies totaled 108.9 million songs during the first half of the year and were worth 13.6 billion ($123 million as of June 30, the last day of the period), according to figures from the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ). In contrast, legal music downloads from the Internet to devices like portable music players totaled 2.2 million songs and were worth 538.8 million during the same period, the RIAJ said. Those figures mean cell phone downloads accounted for 98 percent of the market by song and 96 per cent by value during the first half. (Macworld)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/15/2005
  Japan Mobile Market Myths from Past and Present
Monday, August 15, 2005
  Summary This recent guest article, Mobile Music Best Practices from Japan and Korea, we posted has resulted in some interesting comments on websites based overseas. It seems that the long held belief about Japan’s mobile success story is still being attributed to the "there are relatively few people in Japan with a home-based internet connection, making the mobile internet more attractive" syndrome. However, it’s very clear according to the ITU, that Japan’s Internet and PC Users as a percentage of population has been very much the same as - or even better than - the adoption rate in European country’s (France, Germany and the U.K.) dating all the way back to 2001. Flashing forward to 2005, another comment regarding Chaka-uta Full song downloads suggested "it seems to me it may be being marketed (and more importantly used) more as a next-generation ringtone service than as a true music service.." Oh dear! Today in Japan, marketing for customers to upgrade and listen to full songs on their new mobile devices is everywhere. In print, outdoor and on television commercials, we are seeing massive "i-pod meets mobile phone" promotions. Hence the stereo headphones and J-Pop artists making regular apperances to help push the product. Sure people can use full songs as ring-tones as well, thats a bonus, but that is not how it’s be marketed and ’more importantly’ being used. (subscription required) (WWJ)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/11/2005
  Mowave Expands Service Maxim Mobile to Japan, 20 Countries
Thursday, August 11, 2005
  Summary Following a year of rapid expansion, Mowave has established Maxim Mobile has as the worlds most widely distributed mens lifestyle brand on mobile phones. Maxim Mobile is a mobile service built around Maxim Magazine, the worlds largest mens magazine with 27 international print editions launched in 36 countries. Beginning in 2003, Maxim began extending its audience to wireless by partnering with Netherlands-based Mowave Inc. Mowave, formerly known as Mobile Media International, has launched 20 international mobile versions in 10 different languages. The service is available on official portal menus of over 28 operators, such as Vodafone, Orange, O2 and many more. The Maxim Mobile service is unique in that it closely coordinates its mobile content with each local edition, cross-marketing content initiatives in each country. It offers a global brand with an optimal mix of international and local content. Mowave intends to continue to expand Maxim Mobiles international reach and service offering in the coming months. To date, Mowave has launched Maxim Mobile on multiple platforms, including i-mode, Vodafone live!, Orange World and o2 Active, and is live or scheduled to launch the service in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Thailand. (Mowave)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/1/2005
  The Meaning of Keitai
Monday, August 1, 2005
  Summary In this excerpt from his book, Keitai, Prof. Kohiyama seeks to understand the culture of mobile phones in Japan, their multimedia use and their societal impact. This is the first in a two-part series from Japan Media Review. (Japan Media Review)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/25/2005
  Sony to release web browser for PSP
Monday, July 25, 2005
  Summary Sony officials said the company will release a software upgrade that will let the PlayStation Portable video game system surf the Web without a cumbersome software trick. The free software patch will be available next week in Japan, said Ken Kutaragi, chief executive of Sony Corps game unit. The PSP comes with a built-in antenna for wireless Internet access, but the only way to use it for surfing the Web has been to modify a limited browsing feature in the racing game Wipeout Pure. Sony also said it will launch a white version of the PSP, which is otherwise black. The white version will be sold in Japan only. The paperback-sized device launched last year in Japan and this spring in the United States. About 5 million have been sold since then. (DT)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/22/2005
  ’Contactless Payments’ Poised To Surge
Friday, July 22, 2005
  Summary The use of so-called contactless payment systems, such as swiping specially-enabled phones or cards near point-of-sale terminals, will increase dramatically in the next year, according to a new study released Thursday by ABI Research. That, in turn, will lead to a surge in all types of activity that use near-field communications such as RFID, the study concluded. "The momentum in both of these markets is absolutely mind boggling," ABI Research analyst Erik Michielsen said in a statement. Contactless payments are starting to catch on in Japan, where wireless operator NTT DoCoMo and the country’s largest credit card company have been spurring usage. However, credit card companies in the U.S. and Europe also are enthusiastic about the technology, which speeds up sales transactions. In the U.S., Chase Card Services is in trials with the technology. Other supporters include American Express and diverse merchants such as Walgreens, KFC and McDonalds. (Information Week)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/18/2005
  Macromedia Wins Mobile Project Award At Wireless Japan 2005
Monday, July 18, 2005
  Summary Macromedia, Inc. today announced that Macromedia Flash Lite won first prize in the Mobile Solutions category at the Mobile Project Awards 2005 at Wireless Japan. The Mobile Solutions category recognizes solutions that provide middleware (i.e. browsers, content development tools, distribution tools) and mobile marketing environments for the ever-expanding mobile business sector. (Macromedia)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/15/2005
  Softbank joins MVNO fray
Friday, July 15, 2005
  Summary Japans Softbank group plans to lease its planned mobile phone service network to other companies to effectively become a mobile virtual network operator, a company executive said. "We would like to provide business opportunities to many companies wishing to enter the mobile phone service business" through leased networks, Junichi Miyagawa, managing director of Softbank said. Last December, Sofbank applied to the government for a license to launch cellphone services. Companies that provide cellphone services via leased networks are called mobile virtual network operators and their numbers are increasing overseas. Among them is the Virgin Group of Britain serving as a MVNO in its home country and in the US. Mobile phone operator Vodafone KK and Internet access service provider eAccess have already declared plans to lease their networks to other companies. (telecomasia.net)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/8/2005
  Cell phone numbers to be transferable
Friday, July 8, 2005
  Summary A cell phone number portability system, in which the same number can be used after changing carriers, is expected to be introduced in October 2006. NTT DoCoMo Inc., KDDI Corp. and the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry have agreed on the introduction of the system. By the time of the introduction, it is highly likely new carriers will have entered the market in addition to the four existing companies, making competition over fees and services fiercer than ever. Even under the cell phone number portability system, users must change their cell phone e-mail address when they change phones. The number of users changing carriers is expected to increase as users compare services and fee plans, and because changing carriers remains cheap. The portability system has been used since about 1997 in Europe, the United States and other Asian countries, driving carriers to compete over fees. (Yomiuri)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/7/2005
  Japan’s mobile ’ring songs’ market grows 600%
Thursday, July 7, 2005
  Summary The market for chaku-uta, the use of actual songs recorded by artists for cellular phone ring tones, increased more than sevenfold to 20.1 billion yen (US$179 million) in 2004, according to the Mobile Contents Forum. The sharp gain is attributed to the introduction of flat data transmission rates by the three major cell phone service companies - NTT DoCoMo Inc, KDDI Corp and Vodafone KK - as well as the spread of 3G (third-generation) cell phones. These factors made it easier to use Chaku-Uta, which entails relatively large file sizes. "This trend is accelerating in 2005 as well, so cell phones will become an important sales channel for the music industry," predicts the industry group of cell phone content providers. Meanwhile, growth in the market for conventional ring tones is losing steam. This market grew just 6% to 116.7 billion yen in 2004, compared with about 15% the year before, according to MCF. This slowdown is largely expected to continue. A report by Impress Corp, a publisher on information-technology-related topics, said the Chaku-Uta market roughly quadrupled to roughly 20 billion yen. It said conventional ring tones grew about 5% in 2004, slowing substantially from about 10% the previous year. (AsiaTimes)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/28/2005
  Japan mobile content market grew 31% in 2004
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
  Summary In the mobile industry, the annual white paper by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications found that the mobile content market, which includes ring tones, games and other downloadable content as well as mobile shopping, grew 31.1 percent to 461.6 billion yen ($4.23 billion) in 2004. It said mobile commerce in particular jumped 45 percent to 20.1 billion yen as more consumers used their mobile phones to make purchases. ($1=109.24 Yen) (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/7/2005
  HSDPA Wireless Broadband in Japan
Tuesday, June 7, 2005
  Summary Japan’s first HSDPA, ’supercharged’, wireless data transmission of 14.4 million bits per second (Mbps) - 30 times faster than today’s commercially deployed wireless networks using Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) technology. Japan’s first HSDPA, ’supercharged’, wireless data transmission of 14.4 million bits per second (Mbps), 30 times faster than today’s commercially deployed wireless networks, using Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) technology. Live field tests were conducted with mobile handsets on BB Mobile’s wireless network built by Nortel The trial, using the 1.7 GHz radio frequency band for mobile communications, was the first time high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) technology has been demonstrated by any operator or wireless infrastructure supplier in Japan based on published announcements. BB Mobile and Nortel conducted HSDPA testing after a trial license for W-CDMA at 1.7GHz spectrum was issued on May 30, 2005. Nortel will showcase some of the test results during Networld+Interop 2005 Tokyo beginning June 6, 2005. (P2PReactor)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/6/2005
  New cellphones will hold 1,000 tunes
Monday, June 6, 2005
  Summary Toshiba Corp. will release a 4-gigabyte hard disk drive that can turn this fall’s new cellphones into hand-held recording studios. The device, a minuscule 0.85 inch, is the world’s smallest HDD, company sources said. It will be able to store more than 1,000 songs, about the same capacity as Apple Computer Inc.’s popular iPod mini. Mobile phones incorporating the HDDs, as small as a 100-yen coin, are expected to be marketed by autumn, sources said.The memory capacity of Toshiba’s hard disk drive is about 100 times that of memory chips conventionally used in mobile phones. Two drives can be installed, for a total of 8 gigabytes. However, the company plans to increase the capacity of a single drive to 8 gigabytes, the sources said. (Asahi)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/3/2005
  MTV to launch videos by mobile phone only in Japan
Friday, June 3, 2005
  Summary MTV said it will begin launching short music and animation videos via mobile phones in Japan, saying the tech-savvy country would be a test on whether telecoms can be a new market for the music channel. The service, to be called Flux, will begin June 30 by subscriptions on handsets using KDDI, Japan’s second-biggest mobile operator. Flux, which will give users both mobile and Internet accounts, will carry exclusive content such as short clips from Japanese superstar singer Hikaru Utada, who has sold more than 37 million albums and last year made her US debut. "Japan has such a strong leadership in mobiles, such a vibrant consumer culture," said William Roedy, vice chairman of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom, and president of MTV Networks International. "It’s amazing because you can launch here a new product and service and not only have impact in Japan but also influence the entire world," Roedy told a news conference. Japan has been a leader in embracing third-generation telephones, which offers advanced services such as high-speed Internet and online banking by handset. MTV said it was also looking elsewhere in Asia for growth. "Asia is a driver of our digital strategy. Markets such as Japan but also Korea and China are important centers for learning and product development," Roedy said. Tony Elison, senior vice president for digital media at Viacom International Japan, said the service would begin at a time that Japanese cultural exports were expanding. "We decided to launch the new business in Japan whose popular culture has global influence. And Japan has leadership in the digital media industry in the world," Elison said. (AFP)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/1/2005
  Another Record Year Thanks To Japanese Mobile Music
Wednesday, June 1, 2005
  Summary For the second year in a row, JASRAC (Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers) has reported a record amount of royalty fees collected thanks to the sale of ringtones and mobile music. The total amount of income came to JPY 110.8 billion (US$1.03 billion), slightly more than the previous record of JPY 109.4 billion (US$1.01 billion) set for fiscal 2003. While CD sales fell by 5.3% to JPY 26.8 billion (US$248 million), interactive distribution (including all online services, ringtones, chaku-uta, etc) rose by 12.7% to JPY 9.27 billion (US$85.8 million), more than making up for the shortfall in CD sales. Which points to the fact that the music industry, which is still crying catastrophe and blaming falling CD sales on p2p piracy, should be including ringtones in the sale of music. In the west they havent done this, claiming global music sales fell in 2004 by excluding ringtones from the calculations. (Moconews)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/25/2005
  Japan TV firms may invest in phone content provider
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
  Summary Japanese mobile phone content provider Index Corp. said on Wednesday it is in tie-up talks with domestic broadcasters, attracting buyers to its shares. Business daily Nihon Keizai reported that five broadcasters including Fuji Television Network Inc. are considering investing a total of about 20 billion yen ($186 million) in Index to expand their business through mobile phones. The other four broadcasters are Nippon Television Network Corp. , Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. , TV Tokyo Corp. and TV Asahi Corp . The Yomiuri and Asahi newspapers, which did not include TV Tokyo as a possible partner, said the total amount would likely be about 10 billion yen. The companies are also considering the possibility of Index taking stakes in the broadcasters, the papers said. Index declined to say which or how many companies it was in talks with. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/12/2005
  NEC to supply mobile Web system to Russia’s MTS
Thursday, May 12, 2005
  Summary Japanese electronics maker NEC Corp. will supply Russia’s top mobile phone operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) with its mobile Internet system and Web-capable phones. It declined to comment on the size of the order. Mobile TeleSystems in September plans to introduce i-mode mobile Internet service, which is licenced by Japan’s largest wireless operator, NTT DoCoMo Inc. DoCoMo’s i-mode service allows cellphone users to send e-mail, chat, play games, download ring tones and other content, and has been a runaway success in Japan. The deal is important for NEC as the business ties could help the Japanese company win base station and other infrastructure-related orders for high-speed third-generation (3G) services in the future. Under the contract, it will provide MTS with a group of servers and software that would enable the i-mode service on the Russian firm’s existing telecommunications network. NEC will also supply two cellphones -- one equipped with a 1.3 megapixel camera and another with a 300,000-pixel camera. NEC started selling mobile phones in Russia in February, and aims for a 4 percent market share for the time being. Overall cellphone sales in Russia are expected to reach 30 million units in 2005 from 25 million a year earlier, making it one of the world’s fastest growing markets, NEC said. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/6/2005
  Qualcomm lines up with Linux
Friday, May 6, 2005
  Summary Qualcomm joins No. 2 handset maker Motorola, Japanese cell phone operator NTT DoCoMo and other major wireless companies in endorsing Linux. The cell phone industry generally yawned in 2003 when No. 1 handset maker Nokia began a push to use Linux, which at the time was a radical departure in an industry where the software that powers phones was always proprietary. Ongoing development work has apparently smoothed over many of the early problems that Linux had adapting to the cell phone environment. Research firm IDC has estimated that by 2006, Linux may take as much as 4.2 percent of the market for software for high-powered smart phones, given that it’s free for manufacturers to use. Dominating the OS market now is Symbian, a London-based consortium, followed by an operating system from Microsoft. (ZDNet)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/4/2005
  Macromedia Pushes Flash for Mobile
Wednesday, May 4, 2005
  Summary Asia is Macromedia’s biggest market for Flash-powered mobile applications and phones. Thanks to NTT DoCoMo, the first carrier to offer Flash Lite, Japanese consumers have been exposed to Flash on their cell phones for nearly two years. Research firm Yankee Group estimates that nearly 15 million NTT DoCoMo subscribers have Flash-enabled phones. That’s because nearly 2,700 developers use Flash-powered sites to sell phone applications such as interactive subway maps and manga (Japanese comics) for handsets. A similar phenomenon is playing out in Korea, another early adopter of Flash Lite. "Worldwide, there are probably 30 million devices running Flash Lite, the vast majority of which are cell phones," says Anup Muraka, the senior marketing director for Macromedia’s mobile devices division. (Business2.0)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/2/2005
  Japan’s For-side to buy iTouch in 180 mln stg deal
Monday, May 2, 2005
  Summary Japanese mobile phone content provider For-side.com Co. is to buy British content provider iTouch Plc to expand in Europe in a deal valuing the British firm at 180 million pounds ($342.5 million). Shares in iTouch leapt 24 percent to 43 pence in London on Thursday’s news, and For-side.com rose 3.05 percent in Tokyo. The purchase, which values iTouch at a 27 percent premium, will allow For-side.com to roll out its database of more than 20,000 colour and animated backgrounds, ringtones, Java games and music and video content for advanced 3G handsets in Europe. For-side.com, which already owns 4.5 percent of iTouch, said it was offering 44 pence per share to buy the remaining 95.5 percent in May. The offer, which iTouch’s board plans to recommend to shareholders, represents a 26.6 percent premium to iTouch’s Wednesday closing price of 34.75 pence. "The acquisition of iTouch ... marks a major step toward our goal of becoming the pre-eminent global provider of mobile digital content," Yukinao Ajima, president of For-side.com, said in a statement. Irish media firm Independent News & Media said it had agreed to sell its 37.4 stake in iTouch to For-side.com for around 100 million euros ($129 million) in cash. The deal will be the first full acquisition of a UK-listed firm by a Japanese buyer since investment bank Nomura bought Thorn in 1998, according to financial data firm Dealogic. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/27/2005
  Cellphone Firms Find No DNA Damage from Waves
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
  Summary Japan’s four mobile operators said a joint study they conducted found no evidence that radio waves from mobile phones harm body cells or damage DNA in contrast to findings from a similar study in Europe. NTT DoCoMo Inc., KDDI Corp., Vodafone K.K., and Tu-Ka Cellular Tokyo Inc. said they had studied the effect of radio waves on human cells for over two years and found no damage even though they used radio waves up to 10 times stronger than normally used. The interim results come after researchers in Europe announced opposite findings in December and could further cloud the debate over the effect of mobile phones on health. The Japanese study’s findings will be announced at the Bioelectromagnetics (BEMS) annual meeting in June. Results have also been submitted to the BEMS Journal, the companies said. The $100 billion a year mobile phone industry asserts that there is no conclusive evidence that electromagnetic radiation causes harm. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/25/2005
  Jamdat Acquires Blue Lava, Wins 15-Years Rights to Tetris for mobile
Monday, April 25, 2005
  Summary Global wireless entertainment publisher JAMDAT Mobile announced the completion earlier today of its acquisition of Blue Lava Wireless, LLC for approximately $137 million. As part of the transaction, JAMDAT has acquired an exclusive, 15 year worldwide license to the wireless telephony device rights for Tetris (with an option for an additional 3 years), one of the most popular mobile games worldwide. JAMDAT will immediately acquire the rights to publish Tetris in North America, Latin America and India, marking the first time that Tetris has been distributed in Latin America and India. Additionally, JAMDAT will acquire the Tetris wireless rights for Europe, China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand, as the current licensees’ rights expire throughout 2005. (Phonecontent.com)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/18/2005
  Toyota beefs up wireless on-demand music system
Monday, April 18, 2005
  Summary Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. has beefed up its wireless system for cars that can call an ambulance when an air bag opens, play thousands of karaoke tunes and send a mobile phone message when a car door is left unlocked. G-Book Alpha is similar to other wireless Internet-linked services offered by other automakers, such as OnStar by General Motors Corp. of the United States. It’s an improved version of the service that Toyota began offering in 2002, which has drawn 80,000 users in Japan. The system is different from rivals in using a telecommunications device contained in the car, rather than a mobile phone, to link to operators, who know where the car is at all times through a Global Positioning System satellite network. The new system comes with on-demand car-audio called G-Sound, offering drivers more than 10,000 songs stored on the navigation system’s hard drive. Drivers can listen to a song for free for up to 40 seconds three times. Buying a song costs 100 yen (92 cents) to 300 yen ($2.78), while buying it for a day costs 30 yen (27 cents) to 80 yen (74 cents). For 700 yen ($6.50) a month, drivers can download karaoke, or prerecorded sing-along tunes. (Buffalo News)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/6/2005
  Apple launches wireless Internet store in Japan
Wednesday, April 6, 2005
  Summary Apple has opened a version of its online store for wireless Internet users in Japan. The service is available to owners of most handsets sold by NTT DoCoMo Inc. and KDDI Corp.’s Au unit, which together account for about 82 percent of all wireless Internet subscribers in Japan. The version for Au’s EZWeb service launched on March 28 and the NTT DoCoMo I-mode site went live on April 1, Apple said. The site offers for sale all models in Apple’s popular iPod digital music player range, the recently launched Mac mini computer and iPod accessories. Prices are the same as those offered by Apple’s conventional Web site. Apple said that cell phones and the wireless Internet are used by people in the same market segment in which the iPod is popular. (YahooNews)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/30/2005
  Japans Softbank Drops Lawsuit Against Regulators
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
  Summary Softbank Corp. said on Wednesday it had withdrawn a lawsuit against Japanese telecoms regulators over a slice of coveted bandwith it wanted for its planned entry into the mobile phone business. Softbank filed the suit against Japans Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications last year, demanding space on the 800 megahertz spectrum, which is occupied by dominant mobile operators NTT DoCoMo Inc. and KDDI Corp. But the ministry has since announced that it will proceed with its original plan to reallocate the spectrum to existing license holders after weighing comments by the public as well as a government-backed panel. "We withdrew the suit because the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has decided its plan for the 800 megahertz band," a Softbank spokesman said. The Internet communications conglomerate had complained that it would cost more to build a network on a higher bandwidth because more antennae would be needed to cover the same area, giving DoCoMo and KDDI an unfair advantage. The Softbank spokesman also declined to comment on a report in the Nihon Keizai newspaper suggesting Softbank may have dropped the suit so as not to hurt its chances of potentially forming a business alliance with Fuji Television Network Inc. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/25/2005
  FTC warns firms for dominating ring tone market
Friday, March 25, 2005
  Summary The antimonopoly regulator ordered five major Japanese record label and software companies Thursday to stop an illegal attempt to dominate the domestic market in mobile phone ring tones. The Fair Trade Commission warned Sony Music Entertainment Inc., Avex Network Inc., Toshiba EMI Ltd., Victor Entertainment Inc. and the Universal Music Group about unfairly blocking new entrants by exclusively selling the rights to songs to their joint venture, Label Mobile Inc., according to a statement on the commissions Web site. Sony Music Entertainment spokesman Yasushi Ide said the FTC decision was "not based on fact" but the firm was still considering its response. Victor Entertainment and Toshiba EMI also said they were mulling a response. Avex and Universal couldnt be reached for comment. Mobile phone music is popular in Japan, where the ring tone market was around at 105 billion yen in 2004. The service, provided by firms that pay royalties to record labels and artists, is expected to comprise a bigger chunk of record firm revenues in coming years. (Japan Times)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/4/2005
  Mobile stunners top 10 stormed by Sprint and 3
Friday, March 4, 2005
  Summary Analysts have picked their top performers in the mobile space - and turned up some surprise winners across the world of wireless. While cutting edge 3G content and service providers get the nod in the The Worlds Top Ten Wireless Services report from research firm Analysys, the top spot goes to an old-school voice service. The report names Sprint PCS voice bundles as the number one wireless service. By September 2004, Sprint was clocking up annual ARPU of some $700 - almost twice what Western European operators were making in the corresponding period. Japanese ringtone provider Xing also made the top 10 for its innovative services - including karaoke downloads and a facility that lets will rip customers favourite tune from a CD to a ringtone. The top 10 services were picked for their "potential to help operators make progress", Brydon said - for their market potential, how well the service has been implemented and their suitability for reproduction in the wider market. The top 10 were: 1. Bundled voice tariffs, Sprint PCS, USA 2. ThreePay prepaid tariffs, 3, UK 3. Mobile TV and video, 3, UK 4. SMS, O2, Ireland 5. FOMA 3G service bundle, NTT DoCoMo, Japan 6. Vodafone live! service bundle, Vodafone, Western Europe 7. TM3 integrated 2.5G/3G/PWLAN, T-Mobile, Germany 8. Ringtone downloads, Xing, Japan 9. Games downloads, IN-FUSIO, worldwide 10. Genion HomeZone tariff, O2, Germany. (Silicon.com)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/14/2005
  Electronic payments via portable handsets in Japan to grow in 05
Friday, January 14, 2005
  Summary The market for electronic settlements via portable handsets such as mobile phones is likely to start growing in Japan in 2005. Nomura Research Institute said in a report that it estimates the market of mobile platforms will double to 52.2 bln yen in 2005, and will expand by eight times to 240.1 bln yen in 2009. Last year, NTT DoCoMo started selling the first mobile phone handset with smart-card electronic cash, train pass and identification card functions, and launched related cash settlement services. The business alliance with banks will make these electronic money services much more convenient for users, diminishing walls between bank accounts and electronic payments. Themarket for mobile contents is projected to grow 8.8 pct from a year ago, and to expand to 339.5 bln yen in 2009. (AFX News)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/12/2005
  Telecom carriers policies split on supporting prepaid cell phones
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
  Summary Wireless telecommunications carriers are divided over how to treat prepaid cell phones, which have been criticized as a tool for con artists taking advantage of relatively lax identification requirements. In response, the big three carriers say they have tightened their registration process. NTT DoCoMo has decided to call it quits. According to Docomo officals regular cell phones now boast the merits once touted as unique to prepaid phones as parents may set an upper limit on a postpaid pay program to control how much their kids spend. KDDI will keep its prepaid service. But it's not a priority for the carrier because prepaid users account for only 2 percent of its total subscriber base. Vodafone has vigorously promoted prepaid phones. Vodafone said prepaid phones offer a valuable pay option for customers, since there are no basic monthly fees. (Japan Times Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/4/2005
  Mobile Phone Firms Link for New High-Speed Standard
Tuesday, January 4, 2005
  Summary Leading wireless carriers and telecoms equipment makers have agreed to develop an advanced mobile phone standard capable of sending high-resolution video in an instant. A group of 26 companies, including Britains Vodafone Group, Germanys Siemens, Frances Alcatel and Japans NEC and DoCoMo, will support the standard. Mobile phone services based on the technology will offer transmission speeds more than 10 times as fast as the current third-generation service. Basic technological specifications will be compiled by 2007 but no date has been set for a commercial launch. Japanse Newspaper the Nihon Keizai Shimbum however indicates that DoCoMo aims to offer the high-speed service as early as 2009. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/9/2004
  NEC’s Advanced Packet Core Node Brings More Benefits for Mobile Operators
Thursday, December 9, 2004
  Summary NEC is accelerating the delivery of its Advanced TCA (ATCA)-based packet core node to bring more benefits for mobile operators. The systems in commercial operations process rapidly growing Internet traffic for applications such as packetized voice and video, as well as new services like on-line gaming over the 3G Mobile PacketNetwork. ATCA is the world standard for the basic architecture of the next-generation highly advanced telecom platform set by PICMG Forum. NEC also focuses on mobile Internet service development with IP packet network range of IMS line-ups. The new SGSN and GGSN can be effectively combined with these service networks to offer a total solution to 3G operators. The new SGSN and GGSN realize maximum of 6.2Gbps throughput, offering a variety of mobile Internet services. The user plane and the control plane are separated in the new product. It allows operators to easily and flexibly configure the product to fit their own services. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/2/2004
  Prepaid cell phone firms tighten user regulations
Thursday, December 2, 2004
  Summary Cell phone companies and the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry announced enhanced measures against the misuse of prepaid cell phones in cell phone-related crimes. One of the measures directs companies to reconfirm users’ names and addresses when they buy the cell phones. If users cannot be confirmed, the cell phone companies are allowed to stop their service. This month cell phone companies will start revising contract clauses and reconfirm the identity of users of phones found by police to have been used in crimes. If users do not respond to inquiries, the service will be terminated. (Daily Yomiuri)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/17/2004
  FeliCa Networks to Simplify Net Info Access by Mobile Phone
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
  Summary FeliCa Networks, will simplify access to online information through mobile phones by using its proprietary FeliCa technology. In developing the service, the company has teamed up with Index, Gourmet Navigator, Sony, Hudson Soft, and Ekitan. Users will first install software on a personal computer and a FeliCa-installed mobile phone, then will attach a reader and writer for FeliCa-installed mobile phones to the personal computer. The participating companies, such as transportation guidance firm Ekitan, will have a special button on their sites for the service. When a user clicks on the button and passes his or her mobile phone in front of the reader, the desired site address will be transferred to the mobile phone in two seconds. When this is done, the phone will automatically connect to the site and display information on its screen. Because screens can be saved, a user can display the information from then on without accessing the Internet. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/29/2004
  Qualcomm Announces Support for Mobile Scalable Vector Graphics
Friday, October 29, 2004
  Summary Qualcomm has licensed BitFlash’s Mobile SVG Tiny technology to support Qualcomm’s Launchpad suite of multimedia technologies, including the Compact Media Extensions multimedia software. SVG enhances the wireless experience by enabling rich, interactive multimedia functionality. With Mobile SVGT player, operators can deliver infotainment services such as location-based applications that maximize the zoom-in capability of SVG for reading maps. Operators will also be able to offer entertainment content with SVG animations for cartoons and greeting cards, as well as greater handset personalization with user interface customization. SVG also supports Qualcomm’s BREW solution by providing additional zoom, animation and user interface enhancements to the BREW system’s broad infotainment application portfolio. Support for this capability in Qualcomm’s chipset solutions will be available in early 2005. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/27/2004
  Cable and Wireless to sell Japanese unit to Softbank
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
  Summary Cable and Wireless has agreed to sell its Japanese unit to Internet service provider Softbank for about 133 million dollars, including debt. Cable and Wireless will retain network capability in Japan with two international data nodes in order to provide its international customers with services to and from Japan. The sale leaves Vodafone as the sole major foreign carrier operating in Japan. (AFP)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/24/2004
  Radio firms worried over digital TV on cell phones
Friday, September 24, 2004
  Summary The struggle between radio and television broadcasters is set to intensify in the digital era as their services become increasingly similar, and Radio broadcasters are concerned about the competition. Radio broadcasters wanted to use digital technology to offer a service for mobile devices, pinning their hopes on it to provide not only high-quality sound, but also moving images and text. But digital television broadcasting also can send images and text to mobile devices through its frequency bands. Television services for mobile devices would be similar to those offered by radio broadcasters, meaning that the range of digital television services is likely to expand more quickly than television broadcasters originally had expected. (Daily Yomiuri)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/14/2004
  Renesas Introduces Application Development Software for Mobile Phone SD Memory Cards
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
  Summary Renesas Technology announced the development of a mobile phone SD Memory Card application development software system called SD Mobile Solution, which comprises a set of software items for SH-Mobile Series application processors. SD Mobile Solution complies with the CPRM standard, enabling content data requiring copyright protection to be handled, it also offers first-time support for mobile phones of the SD-Binding standard. SD Mobile Solution comprises five kinds of software, allowing a user to select the software necessary for the system under development. Details of the various kinds of software are given below. (1) SD-Binding middleware (2) SD-Audio middleware (3) SD-Voice middleware (4) SD driver (5) Secure library (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/6/2004
  Mobile Phone Functionalities Enhanced to Create New Business Uses
Monday, September 6, 2004
  Summary New functionalities of mobile phones are promoting innovative business uses, what was difficult for PCs, PDAs and business terminal telephones is now achievable with low cost. New technologies and functionalities are expected to be developed, such as full Web browsing, wireless LAN, SyncML and Push-To-Talk. These and others are likely to encourage new business uses of mobile phones. Business applications of mobile phones are roughly categorized into two groups. One is aimed at attracting more customers and gaining market share by offering services to mobile phone users. The other is aimed at using mobile phones for internal communications. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
  Softbank seeks new airwaves for mobile service
Monday, September 6, 2004
  Summary Japanese Internet service provider Softbank is seeking highly coveted airwaves that would let it offer mobile phone service cheaply and efficiently, underscoring its intent to enter the mobile business quickly. Softbank said it planned to submit an opinion paper on Monday to regulatory authorities, opposing the reallocation of certain airwaves to industry giants NTT DoCoMo and KDDI without first considering new entrants. The company has long expressed an interest in offering mobile services, prompting concern among analysts and investors that Softbank will disrupt the industry with cut-rate pricing and aggressive marketing as it did in the broadband market. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/17/2004
  Vodafone Decreases Subscribers; NTT DoCoMo Outstrips Au
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
  Summary The Japan Telecommunications Carriers Association (TCA) published the number of mobile phone subscribers as of the end of July 2004 on Aug 6th. Both NTT DoCoMo and KDDI’s au recorded an increase of more than 200,000 new subscribers per month, while the subscribers of Vodafone decreased in July following an increase in June. DoCoMo maintained the position of the carrier with the largest number of new subscribers amounting to 46,633,300. au also got 219,700 new subscribers, pushing the total subscribers to 17,810,800. Services of the third-generation mobile phone helped these carriers enjoy such brisk results. Vodafone, however, lost 3,100 subscribers in July, and its total subscribers decreased to 15,105,700 as of the end of July. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/6/2004
  Mobile Phone Switches Seamlessly Between IP, Cellular Modes
Friday, August 6, 2004
  Summary The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) has prototyped a mobile phone that can function as both a cell phone and an IP phone, switching seamlessly in mid-conversation. Although a handset that works on both cellular networks and wireless LANs might affect the business of cellular providers, the NICT intends to call on these firms to adopt the technology. Its goal is to establish the technology as an industrial standard after two years. Corporations are just starting to use mobile IP phones as a cheap alternative to internal phone lines in their office buildings, and wireless LANs that can accommodate mobile IP phones are expected to eventually become common in places like train stations and hotels. (Nikkei.net)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/29/2004
  More Than Half of Workers Have Company Mobile Phones
Thursday, July 29, 2004
  Summary 52% of Japanese company employees are supplied with mobile phone sets from their companies, and about 70% of them carry two mobile phone sets when they go outside office. A mobile centrex service, by which people can make a phone call to any extension number in their company via mobile phone, will start this summer in Japan. More than two thirds, or 68%, of company phone users said they carried both company-use and private mobile phone handsets. This means that companies generally provide mobile phones with their employees, and quite a large number of employees naturally adapt to having two handsets on them all the time. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/20/2004
  Venture Firm Develops Wireless Module that Disables Mobile Phone When It is Separated from User
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
  Summary SuperWave has created a wireless module featuring security functions for mobile phones. The new wireless module, used in pairs, installs into a device that disables the device when the distance widens between the module and the other one installed in another device. As a result, the communication between the two devices will become impossible. The communication module, which SuperWave created on a trial basis, uses a weak radio frequency band of 300MHz. The wireless communication module will disable the system when the distance between one module and the other one widens to several meters. SuperWave has a patent on the wireless security system that uses a pair of devices that can communicate with each other, and one device will make the other partially inoperative and give a warning to it when they are separated and the distance between them widens. Since some of the recently developed mobile phones in Japan are capable of containing not only personal data, such as phone numbers, communication histories and schedules, but also electronic money. The damage the users will suffer when they lose their mobile phones is becoming more serious and they feel more insecure about it. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/7/2004
  Zenrin to Create Map Database for GPS Pedestrian Navigation
Wednesday, July 7, 2004
  Summary Zenrin intends to develop a map database for pedestrian navigation systems by October that will allow those carrying cellular phones equipped with GPS technology to search for routes that offer such features as pedestrian bridges and underground passageways. Because conventional car navigation systems only show routes for vehicle traffic, they are often inadequate for those moving on foot. The company expects the database to be used by people confirming meeting places and by sales personnel looking for the shortest walking route to their destinations after parking their cars. They will seek routes that feature such amenities as pedestrian bridges, crosswalks, park paths and underground shopping areas. In the future, the firm plans to examine the differences in the levels and widths of sidewalks so that the database can be used by the disabled. It is currently negotiating to market its database with several mobile communications companies. (Nikkei BP)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/29/2004
  Japan’s Market for Mobile Content for FY03 Increased to 394.1 Billion Yen, Up 31%
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
  Summary According to a survey conducted by the Mobile Contents Forum, paid content market for mobile phones for fiscal year 2003 increased to 394.1 billion yen, up by 31% compared to the same period a year earlier. The digital contents market, including musical ring tones, increased to 223.2 billion yen, up by 11% on a year-on-year basis. The musical ring tones service accounts for more than 60% of the market, but games are reportedly growing. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/7/2004
  Mediastick To Launch Bar-Code-Based Retailing For Cell Phones
Monday, June 7, 2004
  Summary Starting in July, 2004, Mediastick Inc. and Digitalcheck Inc. will jointly launch a service enabling customers to buy products by capturing bar code images with their cell phone cameras. The payment process will also be automated if the user’s credit card number is registered. The service will initially be offered for retailers of such products as books, CDs and ring tones. The retailers will pay the operation costs of the system, enabling customers to use the service for no charge. The firms project sales of 10 billion yen in three years. (Nikkei)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/1/2004
  NTT Comms glitch Crashes Japan Internet and Mobile services
Tuesday, June 1, 2004
  Summary System failures by NTT Communications Corp. brought down service for about 20,000 lines used for corporate data communication systems in Tokyo and the Kanto region, as well as 340,000 IP (Internet protocol) telephone numbers and part of the company’s Internet connection service OCN. NTT DoCoMo Inc., which consigns business to NTT Comms, reported its PHS (personal handyphone system) data communication service called @FreeD, used by about 335,000 people, also crashed. (Yomiuri)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/27/2004
  Cell Phone Net Service Market Grows Rapidly
Thursday, May 27, 2004
  Summary The market for mail-house retailing, information distribution and advertising services via cell phone is estimated to be worth 600 billion yen this year, nearly tripling in the past three years, and forecasted to reach 1 trillion yen next year. Cell phones have now become a key vehicle through which to distribute digital content and market and advertise products. The trend is expected to gain momentum as cell phone companies introduce flat fees for 3G phone users regardless of the amount of data downloaded. The cell phone-based advertising business in particular is posting rapid growth. Such advertising services promote goods and commercial events through e-mail messages and banner ads. Their market was worth 10 billion yen in 2003, a 1 billion yen increase since 2000. The advertising market is estimated to reach 20 billion yen this year, accounting for 15% of all online ad services including those offered via personal computers. (Nikkei)  
 
   
  Cell phones to show medical info
Thursday, May 27, 2004
  Summary NTT DoCoMo will start a service to enable patients to view their medical records on a mobile phone in July. Nineteen medical institutions in Chiba Prefecture will participate in the service. The company will extend the service to hospitals in Tokyo after it starts in Chiba Prefecture. The service will be of interest to patients and doctors as it would make medical charts more widely available. (Yomiuri)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/21/2004
  All Mobile Phones to Have GPS Function in Japan After Spring 2007
Friday, May 21, 2004
  Summary Mobile phones to debut in Japan after April 2007 are likely to have GPS support. An Telecommunications Council committee under the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications released a report regarding technological conditions for identifying the user’s position information in case of an emergency call. According to the report, mobile phones released in or after April 2007 and that support the third-generation mobile communication (3G) service will basically be able to identify a user’s position information by using the GPS system. Since almost all the new models released at that timing are expected to be 3G-enabled, most phones will have a GPS function. Thereafter, the dissemination rate of GPS-based mobile phones should be 50% in April 2009 and 90% in April 2011. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/17/2004
  MPEG LA concessions to lead to the 2005 debut Terrestrial Digital Broadcasting for Cell Phones
Monday, May 17, 2004
  Summary NHK and five private-sector broadcasters are likely to start services of terrestrial digital broadcasting for cellular phones in fiscal 2005 after having reached an agreement with MPEG LA, a US organization managing MPEG-related patent licensing, over the licensing fee payments for H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC)-video coding. Under the agreement, the broadcasters will pay the group a one-time fee of US$2,500 for each encoder purchased for free broadcasting. This result suggests broadcasters have extracted a fairly substantial concession from MPEG LA. Initially MPEG LA demanded payments of a maximum US$1 million annually as a patent license fee for using this format. Broadcasters strongly opposed the MPEG LA request, and this caused a delay in the launch of mobile-segment digital terrestrial broadcasting, which was to start in December 2003. The latest agreement resulted in a sharp reduction in fee payments, and affirmed the fee to be paid just once. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/11/2004
  Japan’s Mobile Phone Game Users Number 8.97 Million in 2003: CESA
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
  Summary According to a recent survey by the Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association (CESA), Japan’s mobile phone game users hit 8.97 million in 2003, while PC-based, multi-player network game users numbered 3.43 million. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/1/2004
  Hitachi Creates Chip for Better-Animated Cell Phone Games
Saturday, May 1, 2004
  Summary Hitachi, Ltd has developed a cellular phone chip that nearly quintuples image-processing speed, enabling video game characters to move faster and more smoothly. The chip is for cell phones incorporating Java technology, which is used to move animated images. Video-processing capabilities will be enhanced when the chip is integrated with image processing chips for cell phones. The major electronics manufacturer has achieved the faster speed by having circuitry handle the work previously done by software. Cell phones have been able to process just 10 frames per second until now, but Hitachi’s new chip will enable a cell phone to display 46 frames per second -- a level comparable to that of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc’s PlayStation 2 console, according to Hitachi. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/29/2004
  NTT DoCoMo Launches New 506i 2G I-Mode Phone Series
Thursday, April 29, 2004
  Summary NTT DoCoMo Inc on April 27 introduced the new mova 506i series of three PDC (2G) i-mode mobile phone handsets. The handsets feature cameras with effective resolutions of more than one million pixels. They also come with infrared ports for exchanging data and photos with compatible handsets and performing infrared-based functions such as remote-control operation of appliances, authentication and cashless payments. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/28/2004
  Japanese-Korean venture accepts advanced satellite
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
  Summary The MBSAT broadcast communications satellite, built by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) for Mobile Broadcasting Corporation (MBCO) of Japan and SK Telecom of Korea, has successfully completed its in-orbit testing and was officially delivered on-orbit Tuesday. The satellite was formally accepted during a signing ceremony at MBCO’s Tokyo headquarters. The MBSAT payload consists of four high power transponders for direct broadcast services and terrestrial repeater networks covering Japan and Korea. The satellite will deliver high-quality music, video and data to mobile users in Japan and Korea through a variety of mobile terminals, including those in cars, ships, trains as well as handheld terminals, personal digital assistants, cellular phones and home portables. (SpaceFlightNow)  
 
   
  ’Any Music’ Distribution Service to Start in May
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
  Summary Any Music Inc, a music distribution service that eight companies agreed to form on Feb 1, 2004, is due to start its service on May 20, 2004. The eight companies that invested in Any Music are: Kenwood Corp, Sharp Corp, Sony Corp, Pioneer Corp, Onkyo Corp, D&M Holdings Inc, Victor Company of Japan, Ltd (JVC) and Yamaha Corp). Initially, the Any Music service will be available on Any Music compatible home audio equipment. Any Music is also considering tie-ups that will allow the service to be accessed on car audio equipment and mobile devices. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/23/2004
  Opera OS to Launch in Japan
Friday, April 23, 2004
  Summary Kyocera and Opera Software ASA today announced that the handset AH-K3001V is going to be launched mid May in Japan, marking the first time Japanese handset users can get access to all the content that is available worldwide on the full Internet. The AH-K3001V is available to DDI Pocket AirH"PHONE subscribers. The AH-K3001V is the first handsets in the upcoming new generation of browser-centric phones where access to the full Internet is the device’s key feature. These devices are designed from the ground up to allow for a great Internet experience, including a high-quality screen and an Opera-branded softkey that easily brings users online for Web surfing. On the AH-K3001V users will be able to enjoy full Web surfing, made possible by Opera’s breakthrough Small-Screen Rendering (SSR) technology that reformats Web pages to fit on small handheld screens. Since Opera also supports cHTML and XHTML, Japanese mobile users will also be able to access their old favorite mobile sites. (TelephonyWorld)  
 
   
  Japan’s new exports make your phone a mini-arcade
Friday, April 23, 2004
  Summary Forget "Pong" and "Space Invaders." Seiya Ishizuka is hooked on a videogame that has him shooting down bean sprouts, seaweed and other ingredients for a bowl of Chinese noodles -- before they attack him. But the story line isn’t the only novel feature of "Dynamite Ramen," a title from Japanese game whiz Success Corp. that has players chasing unruly vegetables through a maze of shrubbery. According to the Nomura Research Institute, a Tokyo-based technology research firm, cellphone game sales in Japan totaled 31 billion yen ($287 million) in 2003, excluding carriers’ download fees. Currently, Japanese cellphone giant NTT DoCoMo Inc. says small-screen games are bringing in more than 1.3 billion yen per month to its content providers. (Wall Street Journal)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/22/2004
  Taito Distributes Mobile Content for Spider-Man 2
Thursday, April 22, 2004
  Summary Japan’s leading toy maker Taito began offering April 14 free mobile content for Spider-Man 2 at http://SPM2.net. The company has had the content licensed to distribute by Sony Pictures Mobile. On the website, users can download wallpapers, a trailer movie, as well as information on the story and casts. Moreover, Taito is offering Vodafone cellphone users paid content, such as rare images from the movie and two Java games. The toy manufacturer plans to distribute the content not only in Japan but overseas, including Europe and the US, as early as this spring. Spider-Man 2 will be released in Japan on July 10. (PhoneContent.com)  
 
   
  Tech Analysis: Mobile Digital TV Debuts in Asia
Thursday, April 22, 2004
  Summary Japan, Korea, China, Europe, the US (nations around the world are hurrying to commercialize mobile phones and automotive terminals capable of displaying digital TV broadcasts. One of the reasons for the variety of approaches is that the environments affecting terrestrial digital broadcasting vary from nation to nation. Several different implementations are being tried for TV-capable mobile phones and car TVs, but some of the characteristics are common to all. The main target for all concerned is to make commercial products and services available in 2005 or 2006. Preparations for commercial service have entered their final stages, and firms around the world are forging ahead with the final touches. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/20/2004
  Faith West to Launch Polyphonic Ringtone Service for mMode
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
  Summary Faith West, a wholly owned subsidiary of Japanese corporation Faith, has announced the launch of Modtones, a new polyphonic ringtone download service for users of "mMode," AT&T Wireless’s GSM/GPRS service. (Investors)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/19/2004
  MPEG-4 Mobile Video Evolution
Monday, April 19, 2004
  Summary Always in motion, the future is," says Master Yoda - and your faithful Jedi knights at WWJ just got a lesson on what’s coming out for mobile phones here this summer. Conventional H.264 video compression requires a large volume of arithmetic operations, and additional components such as H.264-dedicated LSI application processors (essentially a high-speed digital signal processing chip). However, when a H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec meets a super algorithm that boosts on-chip processing, the result is super-clear video with less demand on battery power. "Algorithm Specialist" Techno Mathematical Co., Ltd., has just released its Digital Media New Algorithm (DMNA) and today’s program takes a look at the results. (Wireless Watch Japan)  
 
   
  Matsushita, Apple Join on High-Def TV Program Editing System
Monday, April 19, 2004
  Summary Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd and Apple Computer Inc have jointly developed an editing system for high-definition TV broadcasts, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun learned yesterday. The US computer company has developed editing software that can perform on a single personal computer such tasks as processing images and adding subtitles, based on Matsushita’s technology in such areas as data compression and VCR control. Apple’s video-editing software and PCs will be compatible with a VCR that Matsushita will release in May. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/16/2004
  China, Korea Embrace Japan Smart-Tag Standards
Friday, April 16, 2004
  Summary China and Korea will adopt Japanese standards for smart tags following agreements between the Japanese standardization body and its Chinese and Korean counterparts. The Ubiquitous ID Center, which is promoting the Japanese standards for small tags, is to sign agreements on technological cooperation and joint R&D with the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Computing Technology in Beijing next Friday. The Japanese body, which draws its members from 352 firms in the electrical machinery, information technology and printing industries, has already signed similar agreements with the Korea RFID Association. Established in February, the Korean body has 60 corporate members, including the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology and SK Telecom Co Ltd. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Japan’s Net user population tops 60% for 1st time in 2003
Friday, April 16, 2004
  Summary The percentage of Internet users in Japan topped 60% for the first time in 2003, with the number of such people in their 40s and 50s notably growing, a government report showed Wednesday. The total number of Japanese Internet users came to an estimated 77.3 million as of Dec. 31, or 60.6% of the total Japanese population, the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications said in the report. The number of people increased by 7.88 million from a year earlier, and the percentage figure rose by 6.1 points, it said. (Kyodo News)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/14/2004
  Japan’s FTTH Subscribers to Surpass 1 Million Households, Ministry Reports
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
  Summary The Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (MPHPT) on March 31 provided details on Japan’s subscribers to Internet access services as of the end of February. The fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) subscribers reached 1,042,776 households, exceeding the 1 million-unit level. It took three years for the FTTH number to surpass that mark since usen Corp launched its 100Mbps FTTH service in March 2001. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/13/2004
  KDDI Flashes Lights to Pass DoCoMo
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
  Summary Japanese subscriber data for March has just been released. The news is good for DoCoMo, who added 412,800 subscribers. This is a dramatic increase in new users compared to the paltry gains made in the last few months, doing especially well in FOMA subscriptions which have grown by one million in last two months alone. Despite DoCoMo’s healthy recovery, they were still edged out by KDDI who added 475,700 subs last month. (The Feature)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/7/2004
  Language E-Learning on the Move
Wednesday, April 7, 2004
  Summary In Japan, where more people own cell phones than PCs and language education is a huge industry, there is potential for a booming market in mobile e-learning. While education sites aren’t currently moneymakers, more sophisticated content may allow providers to charge more for bite-sized learning. (Japan Media Review)  
 
   
  Japanese Competition Heats Up, Innovative Offerings Expected
Wednesday, April 7, 2004
  Summary Softbank has announced its plans to enter the mobile fray by any means necessary. While one analyst described the company as a disaster waiting to happen Masayoshi Sons company, which is the majority shareholder of Yahoo Japan, had remarkable success as Yahoo BB got 4 million Japanese subscribers hooked up with ADSL broadband, at great cost to the company. (At most well-trafficked areas in Tokyo you can seeand be accosted byeager Yahoo salespeople clad in unmistakable red, ready to sign you up for service.) Just as the company got a $1.14 billion loan from Citibank, the Japanese telecommunications ministry has said that it would go extend licensing to allow new wireless operators. A highly competitive price mixed with innovative mix of wireless and IP is expected. (The Feature)  
 
   
  Mogi: Second Generation Location-Based Gaming
Wednesday, April 7, 2004
  Summary Now phone networks are faster and more mobile devices know where they are, permitting a second generation of location-based multiplayer games. Undoubtedly the leading second-generation mobile phone game is Mogi: Mogi uses both the position of players in the landscape, and the landscape itself to generate play. (The Feature)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/1/2004
  Hitachi Creates Chip for Better-Animated Cell Phone Games
Thursday, April 1, 2004
  Summary Hitachi, Ltd has developed a cellular phone chip that nearly quintuples image-processing speed, enabling video game characters to move faster and more smoothly. The chip is for cell phones incorporating Java technology, which is used to move animated images. Video-processing capabilities will be enhanced when the chip is integrated with image processing chips for cell phones. The major electronics manufacturer has achieved the faster speed by having circuitry handle the work previously done by software. Cell phones have been able to process just 10 frames per second until now, but Hitachi’s new chip will enable a cell phone to display 46 frames per second -- a level comparable to that of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc’s PlayStation 2 console, according to Hitachi. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/30/2004
  Cell phone users growing sick of spam
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
  Summary A large number of cell phone users are growing annoyed with spam, or "nuisance e-mail," because it is sent from an unknown address or sent without regard for the time of day, a survey has found. The survey, conducted by Nepro Japan, a firm involved in the mobile phone industry, collected responses from 5,430 people over the Internet. When questioned on advertisement messages they didn’t remember signing up for, 41 percent of the respondents said they received "one or two" such messages a day. Thirty-six percent said they didn’t receive any, while 14 percent received between three and five messages. Another 5 percent of respondents said they were sent between six and 10 of the messages a day. (Mainichi Daily News)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/22/2004
  Japanese Wireless Carriers to Study Effects of Radio Waves on Living Organisms
Monday, March 22, 2004
  Summary Japan’s mobile phone operators, NTT DoCoMo, Inc., KDDI Corporation, J-PHONE Co., Ltd. and TU-KA Cellular Tokyo, Inc., have agreed to conduct a joint study on the possible biological effects of exposure to radio waves from mobile phone systems. According to the agreement, the four companies will analyze and evaluate the results of experiments performed independently or jointly. Experts and organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) generally agree there is no scientific evidence proving that radio waves from cellular phones and base stations have any effect on people. However, WHO has been calling for research to substantiate the safety of these waves. As a result, the four mobile operators have decided to respond proactively. (3g.co.uk)  
 
   
  Hudson Goes Wireless
Monday, March 22, 2004
  Summary Hudson Entertainment, a division of Hudson Soft, today announced its presence in the North American market. A leading developer of content for console and mobile gaming software, Hudson Entertainment aims to launch its products and expand the Hudson name in North America. Hudson Entertainment draws on experience gained in Japan, where Hudson Soft is the #1 game content provider for i-Mode, the platform for Japanese cell phone leader NTT DoCoMo. (Gigex)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/17/2004
  Matsushita to Hire More Chinese than Japanese
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
  Summary Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd will for the first time hire more people in China than in Japan in spring 2005. The maker of Panasonic brand products plans to employ 350 fresh college graduates in April 2005 in Japan, down by a little more than 10% from the planned hiring in April 2004. These new recruits, most of whom are science and technology majors, will be hired centrally at Matsushita Electric (China) Co Ltd’s Beijing and Dalian recruitment locations. Many will then be transferred to Matsushita Research & Development (China) Co Ltd, an R&D base for wireless communications and other technologies, and Panasonic Software Development Center Dalian Co Ltd, which develops software for consumer electronics and audiovisual products. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/15/2004
  Mobile Broadcasting Launches Satellite
Monday, March 15, 2004
  Summary Mobile Broadcasting Corp of Japan announced on March 13 that its mobile broadcasting satellite was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 2:41pm on March 13 (Japan time), and at 3:09pm, the satellite detached from the rocket. Mobile Broadcasting, invested in by Toshiba Corp, Toyota Motor Corp and some 70 other companies, plans to start broadcast television and radio to dedicated portable terminals. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/11/2004
  Novels Delivered to Your Phone
Thursday, March 11, 2004
  Summary Nowadays the sight of people passing time on the train by sending e-mail with their mobile phones is an everyday occurrence in Japan. This technology has now led to the emergence of a new and unexpected phenomenon: people reading entire novels on their mobile phones. The growing population of readers consists mainly of young people in their late teens and early twenties, the first generation to have grown up with e-mail. One novel that achieved popularity through this new medium went on to be published in print and became a million-copy bestseller. The fact that the novel is now being made into a movie illustrates just how far this phenomenon has come. (Trends In Japan)  
 
   
  Mobile Giants Seek New Domain
Thursday, March 11, 2004
  Summary A mobile Internet ID would encourage acceptance of services delivered on so-called "3G" wireless networks. Wireless carriers like Vodafone have invested billions in such systems and have yet to reap the benefits. (Newsfactor)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/8/2004
  NTT DoCoMo, NEC, Fujitsu Jointly Develop Technology for 4G System to Raise Throughput to 1Gbps
Monday, March 8, 2004
  Summary NTT DoCoMo Inc of Japan, NEC Corp of Japan and Fujitsu Ltd of Japan have proposed a technology for an orthogonal frequency and code division multiplexing (OFCDM) system, a potential candidate for the forth-generation (4G) mobile communication system, which increases throughput to 1Gbps at a bandwidth of 100MHz. According to NTT DoCoMo, the companies aimed to achieve 1Gbps because the conventional throughput of 100Mbps is inadequate for base stations where there is a high concentration of communications traffic in small areas, including the hotspot environment. The three companies reported the results of their simulation at "Mobile Communications Workshop" held at Yokosuka Research Park. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Waterproof Appliances Gaining Greater Popularity
Monday, March 8, 2004
  Summary Water-resistant consumer electronics, including digital cameras and LCD TVs, are becoming increasing popular in the market. Among these items are digital cameras and LCD TVs that can be used in places with water, such as while sailing, on the ski slopes or even in the bathroom. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/3/2004
  Oki Electric Develops Advertisement System that Utilizes Intelligent Posters and Mobile Phones
Wednesday, March 3, 2004
  Summary Oki Electric Industry has developed a new advertisement system that utilizes intelligent posters and mobile phones to help advertisers promote their products and services, guide consumers to their stores in a more efficient way. The new advertisement system works as follows. A two-dimensional barcode is printed on a store’s digital commercial ad poster. Consumers capture the barcode with a camera phone. By sending the barcode to the store, they can obtain detailed information on products and services available at the store. The system was put into operation in Sapporo Stera Place, a 60-store shopping mall in Sapporo, on February 28. (Japancorp.net)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 2/26/2004
  Japan studies doubling number of mobile operators
Thursday, February 26, 2004
  Summary As a long-awaited consolidation begins in the fiercely competitive US wireless industry, Japan is weighing whether to double the number of its mobile phone companies to challenge the might of its three operators. The Government is considering a relatively new standard known as TDD (time division duplex) as a technology that up to three new providers could use to operate high-speed, third generation (3G) networks. If licenses are granted, it would spell new competition for NTT DoCoMo Inc, KDDI Corp and Vodafone Holdings KK, the Japanese unit of Britain’s Vodafone Group Plc. (Hindustan Times)  
 
   
  Japan to allow users to keep mobile numbers
Thursday, February 26, 2004
  Summary Japanese wireless customers may be able to keep their phone numbers when changing service providers as early as 2006, when a new service that has most recently shaken the U.S. and South Korean markets is expected to take effect. Japan’s telecoms ministry issued a preliminary report on Thursday recommending that the so-called number portability rule be implemented as soon as possible. While it declined to set a target date until its final report in late April, mobile operators have said it will take about two years to set up such a system. When it happens, Japan will be joining roughly 20 countries with similar regulations. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 2/23/2004
  Microsoft, Toppan Forms to Promote Smart Tag Systems
Monday, February 23, 2004
  Summary Microsoft Co Ltd, the Japanese arm of US software giant Microsoft Corp, is partnering with Toppan Forms Co Ltd to promote the design of smart tag systems running under the Windows operating system. They have set up at the Toppan Forms head office a consulting team to help systems developers build smart tag systems, leveraging Microsoft’s systems technologies and Toppan Forms’ smart tag technologies. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Prediction of Communications Crisis Prompts Japan’s Telecom Ministry to Take Action
Monday, February 23, 2004
  Summary Japan’s Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (MPHPT) is taking the initiative to establish a study group in order to circumvent a potential communications crisis that could occur in Japan due to a sharp increase in data communications traffic. The study group will comprise major telecom companies, communication equipment makers and well-informed individuals. Predicting that the spread of broadband communications may cause capacity shortages in existing communications infrastructures as soon as five years from now, and strong possibilities of triggering interruptions, the MPHPT plans to launch countermeasures aimed at reinforcing the communications infrastructure. The study group expects to release a midterm report this summer. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 2/19/2004
  In Japan, a wireless vision of future for U.S.
Thursday, February 19, 2004
  Summary In search of a chic cafe hidden in the neon alleys of a teeming Tokyo business district, Hiroki Wai activated the global positioning system on his cell phone and punched in the cafe’s phone number. Instantly, a detailed map appeared and a perky female computer voice was navigating Wai toward a hot date with a $9 latte. "Now turn left; now turn right, walk straight ahead. . . . Hurray, you’re here!" the voice chirped from his receiver. A satellite in Earth orbit charted his progress on a full-color street grid displayed on the screen of his cell phone. (MSNBC)  
 
   
  Cellphone firms to boldly roam like never before
Thursday, February 19, 2004
  Summary NTT DoCoMo Inc., KDDI Corp. and Vodafone KK are planning major spring offenses overseas to expand their roaming services, which will not only enable handset subscribers to make calls, but also send e-mails and surf the Net from most major countries around the globe. Vodafone will lead the way in April when it introduces a new handset capable of taking photos and sending them as e-mail attachments in 29 countries and territories. DoCoMo and KDDI, operator of the au mobile service, are expected to join in over high-function roaming services. (Asahi.com)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 2/18/2004
  Cybozu Offers Free Packet Data Cost-Saving i-Appli Software
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
  Summary Cybozu has forged a partnership with jig.jp to offer "Cyboze Keitai Viewer," an i-appli program that helps NTT DoCoMo’s cellphone users reduce packet data charges when accessing the Cyboze Office 6 Keitai groupware service. The application can reduce packet access costs by as much as 50%. The free program is a beta version, and is available for download until the end of June. The i-Appli supports all models of NTT DoCoMo’s MOVA 504i/iS and 505i/iS Series, and FOMA N2051, F2102V, N2102V, P2102V, and N2701. An upgraded version will be available for a fee in July. (JapanCorp.Net)  
 
   
  Dwango Establishes Next-Generation Mobile Phone Content Development Company
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
  Summary Dwango has set up a wholly owned subsidiary for the development of next-generation mobile phone content, called Mobile Contents. Capitalized at 50 million yen ($473,000), the new company will initially provide its content to partners including XING, Japan’s largest publisher of ring tones. (JapanCorp.Net)  
 
   
  NTT Develops Stamp-Size 1GB Hologram Memory
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
  Summary Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT) announced on Feb 12 that it has developed a prototype of a new high-capacity memory storage device, designed with a multi-layered waveguide structure and based on thin-film holography. The company has produced a 100-layer postage stamp-sized media prototype with a 1GB memory capacity constructed from plastic material, and a small prototype drive for reading data. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 2/17/2004
  Japan’s NTT develops compact solar-powered charger for mobile devices
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
  Summary Japan’s telecom giant NTT said Friday it developed the world’s first portable solar-cell system that can recharge mobile devices ranging from cellphones to camcorders and hand-held game consoles. (SpaceDaily)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 2/7/2004
  Bandai Networks to Distribute Virtual 3-D Images
Saturday, February 7, 2004
  Summary Bandai Networks Co Ltd today will begin distributing virtual three-dimensional wallpaper for mobile phones. The wallpaper will be made using patented technology licensed from an employee of Daiichishiko Co Ltd that enables images to be endowed with a realistic texture at one-tenth the data volume of regular 3-D images. The technology will be used to create virtual 3-D images of Bandai Networks characters such as Tare Panda for distribution through the company’s Web site. The technology, known as Wink3D, virtually slices the original image into three layers like contour lines on a map. When pieces of the image are moved vertically or horizontally little by little, the viewer’s eyes can be fooled into seeing the image as floating. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 2/4/2004
  Not Selling Sex on the Japanese Wireless Internet
Wednesday, February 4, 2004
  Summary We finally filmed the introduction to our latest video program - outside an establishment called "Sexual Harassment Corporation" - one of four or five adult industry vendors, including a brothel and a "Love Hotel" in a side street off the main drag, where prostitutes jump out and routinely proposition drunk salarimen (and the happily married author). There isn’t a station on the Yamanote line that isn’t crowded by similar scenes, and there there’s hardly a carriage on the JR line that doesn’t have, shall we say, full-blown advertisements for adult mags and manga that show Japanese girls seemingly as young as 14 flirting and flaunting themselves. Let’s face it, sex sells in Japan. Which brings us to wonder why Playboy.com is being blocked from the official Mobinet space. (login required) (Wireless Watch Japan)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 2/2/2004
  How Spammers Are Targeting Mobile Phones in Asia
Monday, February 2, 2004
  Summary If you thought your spam problems couldn’t get any worse, check your mobile phone. Cellphones are becoming the latest target of electronic junk mail, with a growing number of marketers using text messages to target subscribers in Asia. Mobile phone spam has yet to approach anything like the volume of the e-mail variety, but the problem is growing in a region where the average user sends as many as 10 SMS (short message service) messages a day. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/27/2004
  Japan’s mobile firms seen posting solid Q3 profits
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
  Summary Japanese mobile phone operators are likely to post solid third-quarter earnings, helped by the steady growth of advanced services such as high-speed Internet access and photo and video messaging, analysts said. (Forbes)  
 
   
  Renesas to Incorporate Windows Media and RealAudio/Video 10 in SH-Mobile
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
  Summary Renesas Technology Corp announced its decision to incorporate Microsoft Corp’s digital audio and video codec technology, Windows Media Audio and Video 9 Series, and RealNetworks Inc’s digital audio and video codec technologies, RealAudio 10/RealVideo 10, into the SH-Mobile Series of application processors for next-generation mobile phone systems. (Reuters)  
 
   
  NEC to Enter Smart Tag Business with High-Performance Chip
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
  Summary NEC Corp plans to make a full-scale entry into the fast-growing smart tag market by building a comprehensive business centering on its new high-performance chip, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun learned yesterday. NEC Electronics Inc is in the final stages of development of the NetLabel chip, which will be larger than Hitachi, Ltd’s mu-chip but have eight times the data capacity at 1Kb. Coupled with data rewritability, the chip will likely have a wide range of applications in tracking the distribution of food and goods and managing production at factories, for example. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/26/2004
  Mobile Data Users Top 100M - Japan and Korea Lead
Monday, January 26, 2004
  Summary "Japan and Korea led the worldwide mobile data subscribers figure past the 100 million mark in September 2003," reports Kester Mann, Senior Research Analyst at EMC, sourcing one of the key findings from the latest edition of EMC World Cellular Data Metrics. The figure represents 7.7% of the 1.29 billion global mobile subscribers and an increase of 14% since the end of June 2003. "By the end of January 2004 we expect the total number of mobile data subscribers is likely to have exceeded 115 million, fuelled primarily by the continued growth in the Asia region," commented Mann. Mobile data subscribers are referred to as active users of GPRS, MMS, CDMA2000 1X or i-mode. (Unstrung)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/22/2004
  Emerging Business Applications in the Japanese Mobile Internet
Thursday, January 22, 2004
  Summary It is estimated there were between 100,000 and 200,000 business people accessing information in corporate databases from their mobile phones as of April 2003. This growth has been driven by the rapid diffusion of Internet-compatible phones and the innovations in the mobile Internet-related technology that began accelerating in the year 2000. It is ironic that there are probably many more mobile Internet business users in Japan than in the United States or Europe in spite of the fact that U.S. and European service providers initially placed much more emphasis on business users than Japanese service providers (e.g., see J.P. Morgan, 2000). (Japan Media Review)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/15/2004
  Next wave of phone features may have less to do with calls
Thursday, January 15, 2004
  Summary The next generation of phones may have functions with little relation to telephony. Japan’s leading cellphone service operators, NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and Vodafone K.K., are pushing makers to find new ways to fuse high-speed Internet services and other features for the $74 billion service market. "Handset makers that can find novel uses for mobile phones, such as letting people use them for train tickets, will be winners," said Masayuki Ito at Ikegin Investment Management. (International Herald Tribune)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/10/2004
  Asian ADSL Subscribers Soon to Surpass Those of US
Saturday, January 10, 2004
  Summary The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States announced in December 2003 its summary report on the country's number of broadband subscribers as of the end of June 2003. The report was published on the FCC's Web site saying that the number had reached 16.3 million at the end of June 2003, out of which asymmetric digital subscribers lines (ADSL) accounted for 7.7 million. ADSL subscribers in Japan outnumbered those of the US and Korea in the first half of 2003. According to the statistics of Japan's Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (MPHPT), the subscribers reached 8.26 million at the end of June 2003, overwhelming 7.7 million of the US and 6.3 million of Korea. As of the end of November 2003, the number went up to 9.91 million. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/9/2004
  Sony PSX gets a good start in Japan
Friday, January 9, 2004
  Summary Sony is happy about the reception that the PSX received on the Japanese market. The high-end product has sold 100.000 units on the first week, with a price tag around $941. The product was released on December 13. "We sold 100,000 PSXs in the first week. It sells for almost 100,000 yen ($941) and it still sold out. There are no products out there that can say that," said Kutaragi. (Afterdawn.com)  
 
   
  Japan’s Broadband Users Exceed 13 Million, FTTH Users Surpass 0.8 Million as of November 2003
Friday, January 9, 2004
  Summary The Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (MPHPT) released its primary survey report on Internet connection service users on Dec 26, 2003. According to the report, the total number of broadband subscribers including fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), digital subscriber line (xDSL,) and CATV Internet services increased by 432,148 from the end of October 2003, and reached 13,154,708 as of the end of November 2003. The increases have been stable since August 2003, showing an average monthly increase of around 430,000 lines. The total FTTH subscribers rose above the 800,000 mark. Compared with the figure at the end of October 2003, it increased by 59,191 and totaled 815,402. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/6/2004
  NTT Comms glitch Crashes Japan Internet and Mobile services
Tuesday, January 6, 2004
  Summary System failures by NTT Communications Corp. brought down service for about 20,000 lines used for corporate data communication systems in Tokyo and the Kanto region, as well as 340,000 IP (Internet protocol) telephone numbers and part of the company’s Internet connection service OCN. NTT DoCoMo Inc., which consigns business to NTT Comms, reported its PHS (personal handyphone system) data communication service called @FreeD, used by about 335,000 people, also crashed. (Yomiuri)  
 
   
  NTT Comms Crash Hits Internet and Mobile Services
Tuesday, January 6, 2004
  Summary Equipment failures at NTT Communications Corp. disrupted Internet service to 20,000 lines used for corporate data communication systems in Tokyo and the Kanto region, as well as 340,000 IP (Internet protocol) telephone numbers and part of the companyfs Internet connection service OCN. According to NTT DoCoMo Inc., which consigns business to NTT Communications Corp., a PHS (personal handyphone system) data communication service called @FreeD, used by about 335,000 people, also crashed. (Yomiuri)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/31/2003
  Nintendo’s System for 2004...the Connectivision?
Wednesday, December 31, 2003
  Summary In the past week several websites have been discussing the recently announced piece of hardware that Satoru Iwata mentioned was being developed by Nintendo and would be unveiled at next year’s E3 event in the USA. But yesterday a story arose in the Japanese Mainichi Daily News regarding the matter. Apparently the new system, as previously confirmed, will definitely not be a successor to either the GameCube or GameBoy Advance, instead proving to be something that will exist in the same market at the two, most likely attempting to carve out its own special niche fanbase. The new machine is to take gaming in a new direction and will include a wireless data communication device that transmits via radio-waves, much in the same way as the wireless multi-player GBA adaptor to be included with the release of Pokmon Fire Red & Leaf Green. (Cubed-3)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/30/2003
  Cell phone operators may limit services in early hours of Jan. 1
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
  Summary NTT DoCoMo Inc. and other major mobile phone service providers may limit phone and e-mail services in the early hours of Jan. 1 to prevent the huge amount of expected traffic in New Year’s messages from disrupting their service networks, officials said Monday. Cell phone operators like NTT DoCoMo, KDDI Corp. and Vodafone Holdings K.K. said they would limit their services for about two hours from the start of New Year’s Day if the need arises. (Kyodo)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/27/2003
  Fujitsu, Sumitomo to Build Chip Devices
Saturday, December 27, 2003
  Summary Two Japanese technology titans Thursday pledged to combine business units in a new joint venture to produce compound semiconductor devices to serve the broadband and home networking markets. The two companies said in a statement that the compound semiconductor devices market has been expanding its product applications from the telecommunication infrastructure arena, such as equipment for fixed-line networks and wireless base stations, to such perceived growth markets as mobile terminals, digital home appliances and even enterprise applications, such as wireless local area networks (WLANs). (Internetnews)  
 
   
  E-mail bank rumor sends customers rushing to withdraw cash
Saturday, December 27, 2003
  Summary Officials at the Bank of Saga, a Japanese bank, has launched a police complaint after a malicious e-mail that claimed the institution was going bankrupt began circulating, prompting customers to withdraw all their savings. Cell phone provider NTT DoCoMo Kyushu said that cell phone connections became difficult across Saga Prefecture from about 5 p.m. Thursday, prompting it to temporarily stop people from dialing. (Mainichi Interactive)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/22/2003
  Countdown to Flat Rate Plans for Mobile Communication Begins
Monday, December 22, 2003
  Summary KDDI Corp of Japan launched "EZ Flat," claimed to be the first mobile phone flat-rate packet communications service, on Nov 28, 2003. Although it is restricted to a browser phone service, a service for 4,200 yen for a month of unlimited packet communication will become available. Since fixed communication costs are expected to become popular, business users are beginning to show high interest. Rivals NTT DoCoMo Inc and Vodafone KK of Japan also are developing countermeasures. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/18/2003
  Animation, music standard fare on upgraded 3G phones in Japan
Thursday, December 18, 2003
  Summary Animation attachments for e-mail, complex role-playing video games and Hollywood film clips as screen savers will be some of the features offered in new third-generation cell phones from Japan’s top mobile carrier. The services from various providers, including Walt Disney Co and Sony Computer Entertainment, will be available in new handsets planned for next year for NTT DoCoMo’s Foma, or 3G, service. (Hindustan Times)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/11/2003
  Online and Mobile Game Firms Top Asia Tech Revenues Survey
Thursday, December 11, 2003
  Summary Asia’s three fastest growing high-tech firms all came from the online game sector this year, fueled by the region’s rapid development of high-speed phone and Internet service, according to a survey released on Thursday. Taiwanese online game developer Chinese Gamer International Corp topped the list, with 20,402 percent revenue growth over the last three years, according to Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, which compiles its survey annually. Chinese Gamer posted 2002 revenue of T$667.85 million (US$19.6 million), or nearly double its total for 2001. Chinese online game operator Shanda Networking Co Ltd finished second with 10,342 percent growth over the period, followed by Japan’s G-Mode Co Ltd, a developer of games for mobile phones, with 5,624 percent growth. Revenue figures were not available for unlisted Shanda, but G-Mode posted 2.5 billion yen (US$23 million) in revenue for its fiscal year ended in March. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/10/2003
  Near Field Communication Technology of Sony, Philips Approved as ISO/IEC Standard
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
  Summary The Near Field Communication technology (NFCIP-1), jointly developed by Sony Corp of Japan and Royal Philips Electronics NV of The Netherlands, has received approval under standard ISO/IEC IS 18092 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Philips’ Mifare technology and Sony’s FeliCa contactless IC card technology are included within the ISO/IEC IS 18092 standard, so these technologies are compatible. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/8/2003
  Mobile Phones Continue to Advance as Business Stations
Monday, December 8, 2003
  Summary The number of firms that utilize mobile phones to boost business efficiency and cut costs is rapidly rising. To an employee who travels extensively the mobile phone is a perfect information terminal, which can stand in for a PC, depending on the application. "Demand is twice as strong as in 2002," said an official at Fujitsu Ltd. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/4/2003
  Juniper Extends Ties With NEC
Thursday, December 4, 2003
  Summary Juniper Networks, Inc. today announced that it has signed a strategic alliance agreement with Japanese-based networks and business solutions provider NEC Corporation. The agreement expands upon an existing reseller relationship and provides for original equipment manufacture (OEM) in the future. (Light Reading)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/3/2003
  Terrestrial Digital TV Broadcasting Launched in Japan
Wednesday, December 3, 2003
  Summary TV broadcasting companies in Japan launched terrestrial digital TV broadcasting at 11:00am on Dec 1. The Association for Promotion of Digital Broadcasting (D-PA) held a launching ceremony in a hotel in Tokyo yesterday. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, telecom minister Taro Aso and broadcast executives marked the countdown to the start of terrestrial digital broadcasting with news announcers from seven Tokyo-based broadcasting companies. At this stage, digital broadcasting only covers the Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka urban areas. It is to be available nationwide by the end of 2005. The Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications plans to terminate analog broadcasting in July 2011 and unite all terrestrial TV broadcasting to digital. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/28/2003
  Wireless world gets a new worry: viruses
Friday, November 28, 2003
  Summary "The danger to mobile phone networks is probably five times bigger than with personal computers because very few people are focused on this problem now," said Andrew Cole, senior vice president at Adventis, a Boston-based consultant specializing in telecommunications issues. "The dominant form of messaging is going to be cell-to-cell, so this could escalate very rapidly and overload phone networks." That, in fact, is what happened in Japan in 2000 and 2001. NTT DoCoMo, the country’s largest mobile-phone provider, received complaints from customers who were being sent messages that froze their screens and automatically dialed 110, the hot line to the police in Japan. (IHT)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/25/2003
  Cell Phone Companies Set Their Sights on Senior Citizens
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
  Summary Tokyos teens are often given credit for creating Japans multibillion dollar mobile content market. But sales in this sector are slowing, leaving many companies looking for new markets. The unlikely new niche many have decided to try to go after is the antithesis of todays mobile user: Old People. (Japan Media Review)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/21/2003
  Taiko no Tatsujin’s mobile advance in Japan
Friday, November 21, 2003
  Summary Namco’s popular arcade and mobile drum game Taiko no Tatsujin came to number two Japanese cell carrier KDDI/Au’sEZWeb Internet service today. The game is available to all users with BREW-enabled handsets for 300 yen ($2.75) per month. EZWeb users had to wait half a year longer than users of DoCoMo’s i-mode service to play the drums on their handsets--although considering the disparity in market sizes, the delay is easy to understand. (Gamespot)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/20/2003
  TBS, Matsushita Developing Software Agents for Cell Phones
Thursday, November 20, 2003
  Summary Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd are collaborating to develop software agents for cellular phones and networked appliances that collect information for the user. As a test product, the partners have developed an agent that combines Matsushita’s software with characters created by TBS. For one month starting from Dec. 15, Matsushita will make the product available for free download from its P-Square Web site. The agent will operate on the company’s P505i and P505iS cell phones, which are designed for wireless services run by NTT DoCoMo Inc. When the agent is running, a character will come onscreen and recite information that the user has entered into his or her schedule. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/17/2003
  Japan’s Electronics Industry Shows Recovery
Monday, November 17, 2003
  Summary Digital consumer electronics and mobile phones are now the driving forces behind the success of Japan’s electronics industry. In April 2003, consumer electronics total annual production surpassed that of personal computers. Meanwhile, mobile phones have regained strength after a quiet period, also contributing to the revitalization of the electronic components and device market, consequently driving the entire electronics industry on an upward move. The growing market of digital consumer electronics which employ large amounts of Japanese high-tech component devices, was a blessing for the nation’s component manufacturers that had been badly hurt by the downturn in personal computers and mobile phones during the high-tech recession. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/12/2003
  Mediastick Starts Information Service Using Two-Dimensional Barcodes for Mobile Phones
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
  Summary Mediastick Inc started a new service called "Let’s do MEDIASTICK" for mobile phone users on November 1. The system provides users with various services by offering information that can be read from a user’s mobile phone capable of reading two-dimensional barcodes with a camera. The company began distributing 100,000 copies of a guidebook called "MS book" for free at large bookstores and NTT DoCoMo Inc’s mobile shops in Japan. Users who want to receive the service need to register their ID through a barcode printed in this guidebook, and then they can tour the service. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  NTT Communications, Secom to link up in smart cards
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
  Summary NTT Communications Corp. and security firm Secom Co. are joining forces to launch a multifunction smart card system later this month, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Tuesday. They will jointly issue the eLWISE card, which has been developed by NTT Communications and can record up to 1 megabyte of data, the business daily said. The card can be used to gain access to buildings, personal computers and corporate networks, it said, adding the firms will sell the card system to companies, organizations and government agencies. It uses a Secom security system and an Internet security technology developed by its subsidiary Secom Trustnet Co. (Kyodo News)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/6/2003
  Value of Japan’s Wireless Gaming Market
Thursday, November 6, 2003
  Summary Asian markets provide a useful insight into the evolution of mobile data markets. Japan and Korea, two widely-cited success-stories when discussing the Mobile Games market, together currently represent 64% of the total value of the global mobile games market. Significantly, Japan accounts for over half of the total international market. Evidence of the size of these markets, corroborated with figures from local operators such as NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and Vodafone K.K., puts the current value of Mobile Games in these markets at US$466 million. (Cellular News)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/4/2003
  The latest cellphone race is about speed
Tuesday, November 4, 2003
  Summary NTT DoCoMo Inc has been unable to come up with appealing services at the right times, which may explain why it is in trouble. While J-Phone Co Ltd -- presently Vodafone Plc -- began selling cellular phones equipped with cameras in the autumn of 2000, over 18 months passed before DoCoMo finally followed suit. Consequently, subscriber upgrades jumped in the first half of this year, incurring huge operating costs without increasing subscriptions. DoCoMos 3G (third-generation) Foma cell phone has just reached 1 million customers, two years after its launch. The company has now revised its goal from 1.46 million to 2 million units by the end of next March, but this will represent only a little over 4% of total subscribers. (Asahi.com)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/30/2003
  Cell phone number portability eyed in 2005
Thursday, October 30, 2003
  Summary Cell phone users will be able to switch service providers without changing their phone numbers under a Public Management Ministry plan to introduce telephone number portability in 2005. The system would make it easier for cell phone users to switch service providers. It is expected to have a major impact on the cell phone market, in which providers are locked in fierce competition over market share. The current system has been criticized as inconvenient for users as they are required to change their phone numbers if they switch their provider, costing them both time and effort to notify acquaintances of their new number. To introduce cell phone number portability, several schemes will be considered, including the following: (1) Former service providers would automatically transfer calls to new providers if users have a new provider. (2) Callers would be automatically connected to a database, set up individually or jointly by providers, and transferred to the new provider if their call receivers have a new provider. Either way, portability would not affect the current method of making cell phone calls. (Yomiuri)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/29/2003
  Ubiquitous Networking Lab to Debut Multi-Purpose Communications Device
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
  Summary The YRP Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory, which conducts research and development in ubiquitous computing technology, announced on October 24, 2003 that it has developed a new portable communications terminal called the "Ubiquitous Communicator (UC)." That terminal incorporates multi-wireless communication technologies, including wireless LANs and Bluetooth, IC tag reading capability and other functions, into one terminal. The new device will allow users to read data on IC tags attached to items and retrieve information associated with the IC data from the server on the network using a wireless LAN or Bluetooth communications. It is expected that such a product will be released from makers next spring, at the earliest. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  A Decade in the Development of Mobile Communications in Japan
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
  Summary The man who developed the Personal Handyphone System looks back over a decade of mobile developments. (Japan Media Review)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/25/2003
  Japanese Mobile Phone Technology Seen as Essential for Making Pervasive Computing a Reality: IBM VP
Saturday, October 25, 2003
  Summary IBM Corp is promoting the concept of "pervasive computing" -- a computer environment that will allow people to access any data they want from wherever they are. IBM is already working to develop the necessary software and services. But the word "pervasive" is as yet almost unheard of in Japan. So what does it actually mean? Nikkei Communications interviewed Jonathan Prial, vice president of Business Development and Sales, Pervasive Computing Division, and asked him that question, as well as finding out what he thinks "pervasive computing" will do for the Japanese market. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Maruetsu Store Sees Sales Double with IC Tag
Saturday, October 25, 2003
  Summary The IC tag trial that Maruetsu Inc of Japan has been conducting at its supermarket stores has shown that supplying information to customers has a positive effect on sales. In Maruetsu store, a shopper obtains a recipe idea by checking the item containing an IC tag over the reader This trial was implemented jointly by supermarket chain Maruetsu, NTT Data Corp and a major distributor, Marubeni Corp of Japan, at Maruetsu’s Shiomi outlet from October 6. According to Maruetsu, 90 items, such as beef, coffee and soy sauce, are displayed on shelves with IC-chip labels with which shipping places of food products, recipes and other information can be obtained at one of the four original terminals located in the store. Sales of the products concerned have doubled, according to Maruetsu. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/24/2003
  Sony Showcases ’NFC’ Wireless Communication over 10cm
Friday, October 24, 2003
  Summary Sony Corp showcased very short-range communications with an effective range of 10cm at the "ITU WORLD TELECOM 2003" show held in Geneva, Switzerland from October 12-18. Specifically, the company demonstrated how the technology can be applied to ticketless admission to a lecture meeting as well as extraction of additional information from a poster. It is actually based on the Near Field Communications (NFC), a wireless technology developed through collaboration of Sony and Royal Phillips Electronics NV of The Netherlands. NFC offers two-way communications within a 10cm radius using 13.56MHz. It works at three different rates: 106kbps, 212kbps, and 424kbps. "Potentially, it allows for communications up to 848Kbps or 1.6Mbps," said a Sony spokesperson. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/20/2003
  Memory Card Market Expands Thanks to Camera-Equipped Mobile Phones
Monday, October 20, 2003
  Summary Worldwide memory card shipments will exceed 100 million units in 2003 and should continue to increase at a similar or greater speed in the future. The driving force behind this rapid growth is the popularity of digital cameras and camera-equipped mobile phones. Sales of models that support memory cards will reach a total of 100 million units in 2004. Due to a sharp rise in demand, volume efficiencies are driving cost reductions and a 64MB card is now available at approximately 3,000 yen. The lower prices encourage users to buy second or third cards, and this creates further production increases and cost reductions. In 2003, the price declined again. If this trend continues, 512Mb chips will be cheaper than US$3 by the end of 2005, and the sales price of cards will be far below US$10. This will encourage consumers to buy more cards. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/16/2003
  Intel, Sony to bring music, video to cell phones
Thursday, October 16, 2003
  Summary Intel Corp. and Sony Music Entertainment said they would detail plans on Thursday to optimize Sony’s content to run on Intel chips used in cell phones and personal digital assistants. The partnership will provide consumers with PC-quality digital music and video on their cell phones and other handheld devices, said Santa Clara, California-based Intel, the world’s largest chip maker. Intel and Sony Music Entertainment, a New York-based unit of Sony Corp. of Tokyo, also will co-develop future applications for bringing other PC-based multimedia content to mobile phones, according to a statement. Sony provides music and other content that wireless carriers offer to subscribers as personalized services, including the ability to download different ring tones and music videos. This is Intel’s first partnership with a major entertainment company related to cell phones and PDAs. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/14/2003
  Global spread of 3G a decade off, DoCoMo plans new 4G phones
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
  Summary Keiji Tachikawa, head of NTT DoCoMO, said that despite pledges by European and Asian carriers to unveil third generation cellular phones by the end of the year, there was little sign of progress. "A key goal to provide seemless 3G access anywhere in the world would only be achieved when more markets switch on to the service. It took 10 years to attract 1.1 billion subscribers globally to 2G handsets. So I think it will probably take another 10 years before we see a proliferation of 3G services in different markets across the world," he predicted. As for an even more advanced fourth generation cellphone, The firm aims to produce phones with a transmission speed 10-times faster than the already souped-up 3G model, capable of downloading high quality pictures and third dimensional images.However, "it will take another 10 years or so before we see the commersialisation of 4G." (Yahoo! Asia News)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/9/2003
  Tokyo to get worlds first IP mobiles
Thursday, October 9, 2003
  Summary Tokyo-based IP Talk Corp will start providing what it claimed will be the worlds first Internet-protocol mobile telephone services in March. The service allows free calls between subscribers and extremely low rates for calls to fixed-line numbers and overseas. Initially the IP mobile service will be available only within the buildings of those who have subscribed to the service. The basic monthly fee for the service will be 3,980 yen or about $40. Subscribers will have to rent the handsets. Domestic calls between subscribers and fixed-line telephones will be 8 yen per three minutes, compared with 70 yen to 90 yen per three minutes currently charged by regular mobile phone firms. Overseas calls will be only 10 percent of the rate charged by mobile phone firms, IP Talk said. An e-mail service and Web browsing will be available free of charge. (MENAFN.com)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/6/2003
  Firms to set wireless appliance protocol in Japan
Monday, October 6, 2003
  Summary Some 100 Japanese and foreign firms will team up to draft a wireless communications protocol to enable the operation of multiple digital home appliances, such as television sets and DVD players, with a single remote control, a report said. The project would use high-speed wireless Internet technology aiming to bring to market in fiscal 2005 appliances that meet this new standard, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper said. Corporate participants include Japanese electronics giants Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Sharp Corp., NEC Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co. as well as foreign-affiliated firms like Microsoft Co. and IBM Japan Ltd., the report said. (Channel News Asia)  
 
   
  Welcat Unveils Wrist Watch-Type Reader/Writer for 13.56MHz Band Wireless Tags
Monday, October 6, 2003
  Summary Welcat Inc developed a prototype of a small reader/writer product for wireless tags, which can be put around one’s wrist like a wristwatch. The company calls the product a "Wearable RFID Reader/Writer." The outside dimensions of the main body without the band are 51.3mm x 88mm x 26.8mm. The weight is about 95g. The product is operated using a Li-ion secondary battery. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/3/2003
  Motorola, Nintendo Join Forces for Wireless Portable Gaming Device
Friday, October 3, 2003
  Summary Motorola Inc’s Semiconductor Products Sector revealed that it is supplying chipsets to enable a new wireless adapter accessory for use with Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP. The 2.4GHz radio frequency (RF) chipset enables up to five players to play each other wirelessly. It allows mobile game playing up to a distance of 10m. The wireless adapter co-developed by Motorola and Nintendo, with the new Game Boy Advance software "Pokemon FireRed" and "Pokemon LeafGreen," will be launched in Japan as early as January 2004. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/24/2003
  Wireless devices meet television
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
  Summary Several new products from the worlds biggest consumer electronics companies could allow mobile-phone users in the near future to tune into their favorite TV shows, from soap operas to the latest Broncos game. (RCR News)  
 
   
  Wireless Focus: Applications Grow for Wireless Sensors
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
  Summary Microsensors and wireless communication technology have combined to give wireless sensor networks a growing number of applications. The networks have been rigorously tested in a variety of data collection experiments within hostile environments, including water treatment plants, outdoor plant nurseries, the Pacific Ocean coastline, and vineyards. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/22/2003
  Turning Mobile Phone Screens into Speakers
Monday, September 22, 2003
  Summary Authentic Ltd, a subsidiary of NEC Corp of Japan involved in the development of acoustic products, has miniaturized the SoundVu slat speaker system which emits sound by vibrating the front panel of an LCD. The new SoundVu design is a bit larger than two inches in the diagonal and only 5mm thick. The firm’s prior SoundVu product was announced in fall 2002, and used in NEC’s Valuestar FS and T series of desktop personal computers. The model attracted considerable attention on the market with its ability to emit sound from its LCD screen. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/12/2003
  Wireless Watch Japan: DoCoMo Press Conference
Friday, September 12, 2003
  Summary WWJ attended the Otemachi Corporate News Room for a press conference hosted by NTT DoCoMo President and CEO Dr. Keiji Tachikawa. He covered a wide range of topics including; a new carry-over billing plan and upgraded service offerings for FOMA, brisk sales - 2.7 million units - of the recently launched 505 series handsets and the new ’Hearty Style’ campaign package for handicapped users. He also took questions from the floor regarding their current and upcoming 3G activities in China and Taiwan, and offered his personal thoughts on the differing business strategies between DoCoMo and Vodaphone. (JapanCorp.Net)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/10/2003
  NEC to launch advanced routers for 3G networks
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
  Summary Japan’s NEC Corp 6701.T said on Wednesday it had developed advanced data-routing units whose transmission capacity is 10 times larger than conventional ones for high-speed third-generation (3G) mobile phone networks. NEC said the new units, which connect the data portion of the wireless traffic to the Internet, were the world’s first working model based on Advanced-TCA (ATCA), an industry standard for the basic architecture of the next-generation telecom platform. Data traffic is set to grow rapidly in coming years as wireless carriers worldwide are expected to launch data-intensive or "rich" services such as video conferencing. NEC, Japan’s largest telecoms equipment maker, will soon deliver the first unit to NTT DoCoMo Inc for trial. (Reuters)  
 
   
  D2C Launches English E-newsletter Dedicated to Mobile Marketing
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
  Summary D2 Communications (D2C), the mobile ad joint venture formed in June 2000 by NTT DoCoMo, NTT Ad, and ad giant Dentsu, has launched a free monthly e-newsletter dedicated to mobile marketing news from Japan. Targeted at the English-speaking world, the premier issue features fresh information about how mobile phones are used to boost sales of products ranging from canned coffee to camera phones and ring tones, as well as to collect market data to study consumer spending patterns. (MMJ)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/9/2003
  Frequency Shortage Poses Big Problem for Wireless Telecom
Tuesday, September 9, 2003
  Summary While wireless telecommunications rapidly spread, the shortage of available frequencies is emerging as a serious problem. The Telecommunications Council, an advisory body to the telecom minister, reported in late July that mobile phones alone will require more than five times as many frequencies in 10 years as now. With 80 million mobile phones currently in use, frequencies for them are already on the verge of falling short. The expected introduction of super-fast fourth-generation mobile phones, which is entirely based on the Internet, is certain to aggravate the situation. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/5/2003
  Sony Gets Aggressive with Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting-Compliant TV
Friday, September 5, 2003
  Summary Sony will launch a new "Wega" series from October to November 2003 -- liquid-crystal TVs, PDP TVs, and CRT TVs, all embedded with a tuner for digital terrestrial broadcasting. A total of 15 new models are lined up: nine PDP TVs, three liquid-crystal TVs, and three CRT TVs. Sony also unveiled a mobile viewer, the "Mobile AV Viewer MSV-A1," that can replay moving images recorded in a memory stick. Its body is like a folding mobile phone embedded with a 2.5V-type TFT-LCD, and it also has a slot for a memory stick duo as an interface. It has a built-in TV tuner circuit for analog terrestrial broadcasting so that users can watch TV programs outside. Its headphone cable will be used as an antenna. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/3/2003
  J-Phone counts on chocolate to add subscribers
Wednesday, September 3, 2003
  Summary In the increasingly competitive mobile phone sector in Japan, mobile carrier J-Phone is counting on chocolate to sway subscribers in its direction. Morinaga Company Ltd., one of Japan’s leading snack companies, and Namco Trading, a subsidiary of Namco, have released a new game designed to promote a popular Morinaga snack, Choco-vader. The game, titled Kyoro-chan, will appear on J-Phone’s mobile phone handsets. (Gamespot)  
 
   
  Taito, Nokia to Join Hands on Cell Phone Karaoke
Wednesday, September 3, 2003
  Summary Taito Corp, a Japanese game software developer, and Finland’s mobile communications company, Nokia Corp, announced on Aug 28 a plan for joint presentation of a karaoke application to be used on cell phones in Asia. Taito will offer an application using its karaoke data format, "Sequential Display Object Format" (SDOF) for Nokia’s GSM-compatible mobile phone "Nokia 3300." The two firms also will jointly distribute karaoke contents online. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Hitachi Develops RFID Mu-Chip with Embedded Antenna
Wednesday, September 3, 2003
  Summary Hitachi Ltd announced on Sept 2 that it has developed a new version of its RFID (radio frequency identification) u-chip (mu-chip) with an embedded antenna. When using Hitachi’s original u-chip announced in July 2001, one of the world’s smallest RFID ICs measuring 0.4mm x 0.4mm, an external antenna must be attached to the chip to allow external devices to read the 128-bit ID number stored in its ROM (read-only memory). This newly developed version, however, features an internal antenna, enabling chips to employ the energy of incoming electrical waves to wirelessly transmit its ID number to a reader. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Sharp Develops Smallest CCD 1.1 Megapixel Camera Module for Mobile Phones, PDAs
Wednesday, September 3, 2003
  Summary Sharp Corp announced the development of the LZ0P3721 CCD 1.1 megapixel camera module mainly for mobile phones and PDAs. The company claims the product is the smallest (volume: 1.44cc) and the thinnest (thickness: 9.7mm) megapixel camera module in the industry. Sharp will also simultaneously introduce the LZ0P3726 with built-in macro functionality. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/1/2003
  Taito Enriches Screensaver Offering to Mobile Users
Monday, September 1, 2003
  Summary Taito has launched the offering of wild animal screensavers for all mobile users including i-mode, EZWeb and AirH, a PHS service. This screensaver will cost users 300 yen monthly for subscribers of i-mode, for unlimited download as well as use of screensavers. The EZWeb and AirH users are charged 30 yen per download. The available screensavers are highly artistic photographs and paintings by reknown artists. The wild animal and wild life images, in addition to the current line-up of screensavers which include pop and fantasy arts, are aimed to attract users in a senior age segment. (JapanCorp.Net)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/25/2003
  Ripplewood hints at more acquisitions in Japan: sees opportunities in telecoms sector
Monday, August 25, 2003
  Summary US investment fund Ripplewood Holdings, which last week sealed a mammoth $2.2 billion acquisition in Japan, said it would target two or three more buy-outs in the nations telecoms, technology and media sectors over the next couple of years. Jeffrey Hendren, managing director at Ripplewood Holding said the firm has not ruled out a potential buy-out among firms speculated to be up for sale. Those include failed data communication services firm Crosswave Communications and its top shareholder Internet Initiative Japan, as well as KDDI Corps mobile telecoms unit tu-ka and the Japanese unit of Britains Cable and Wireless. (Bangkok Post)  
 
   
  Mobile Phone Communication Module Business Gains Momentum
Monday, August 25, 2003
  Summary Mobile phones are no longer only for communication between humans, but also become a means of communication between devices. By incorporating increasingly smaller communication modules, devices that have had nothing to do with communicating can dramatically turn into a "wireless communication device." A sense of crisis on the part of the telecommunications companies, with their sluggish communications revenue growth and the number of subscribers hitting the peak, is fueling the move toward this new business. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/15/2003
  Hitachi Unit’s Anti-Crime System Uses Cameras, Mobile Phone
Friday, August 15, 2003
  Summary Hitachi Ltd commercial video equipment subsidiary Hitachi Advanced Digital Inc has developed a simple anti-crime system comprising a mobile phone and surveillance cameras. The cameras are equipped to take one shot per second. They are linked to an Internet connection device via cable or wireless LAN (local area network) and through this link send images to the Internet. The images have a resolution of 640 x 480, and pictures can be taken if there is as much light as put out by a small bulb. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/8/2003
  FreeBit Co’s IPv6-Based Remote Access Service Enables E-Mail Access from Mobile Phones
Friday, August 8, 2003
  Summary FreeBit Co, Ltd, an infrastructure supplier of ISPs, has started an experimental service of remote access from a mobile phone to a PC at home to send and receive e-mails. With this remote access, users do not have to forward e-mails delivered to their home-based PC to their mobile phone. NTT DoCoMo’s "Mova 505i" series handsets support the service. With i-mode or a dedicated i-Appli Java program named "BitBasket6 for Mobile," the user first accesses the "Feel6 Farm" site. That access will let the user log onto his/her home PC and then enable the user to receive and send out e-mails. For operation, the PC at home needs to stay online at anytime. The system uses IPv6 technology. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Complaints of Incorrect Telecom Service Charges Rise in Japan: Gov’t Report
Friday, August 8, 2003
  Summary Japan’s Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (MPHPT) on Aug. 1 disclosed complaints/consultation requests it had received from April through June 2003 about communications services. In January through March, there were 186 complaints of the mischarged fees and 121 of xDSL. The number of complaints of incorrect charges increased since then. In some cases, a provider mistakenly charged hundreds of thousands of yen to a subscriber as a fee for a cell phone’s messaging service, which the subscriber actually did not use. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/6/2003
  Kyocera Wireless announces management shake-up
Wednesday, August 6, 2003
  Summary A delayed initial public offering and the resulting moves toward integration with the companys parent in Japan compelled top executives at mobile-phone maker Kyocera Wireless Corp. to resign, the company said. Howard Speaks resigned as Kyoceras chief executive officer and president. He was hired in 2001 to lead the company toward an eventual IPO, a plan the company abandoned due to changes in the economy and market. John Heffner, Kyoceras vice president and chief financial officer, also resigned. He was hired in 2000 to lead the transition effort following Kyoceras purchase of Qualcomm Inc.s phone business. (RCR News)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/5/2003
  Furukawa Electric, Sumitomo Electric Consolidate Wireless Technology Operations
Tuesday, August 5, 2003
  Summary Furukawa Electric Co, Ltd and Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd (SEI) have reached a fundamental agreement to consolidate the two companies’ wireless technology operations and to establish a joint venture company. Details on consolidation other than those mentioned above are still under consideration. The new joint venture company is scheduled to start business in April 2004. Digitalization of terrestrial TV broadcasting in Japan has generated the increased demand for new digital transmission facilities. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  PlayStation to go wireless
Tuesday, August 5, 2003
  Summary Sony Corp. said its new hand-held PlayStation console will be equipped with a wireless network system that allows users within a close area to play games together and download game characters. Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony’s game unit, mapped out technical details of the upcoming PSP hand-held platform, which will compete head-to-head with Nintendo Co. Ltd’s dominant Game Boy Advance hand-held console. (Canada.com)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/4/2003
  Toyota to Strengthen In-Vehicle Network Services
Monday, August 4, 2003
  Summary Toyota Motor Corp announced that it is planning to expand and upgrade its "G-BOOK" information network service for vehicle-mounted terminals. Four G-BOOK compliant car-navigation system products are to be added in August 2003. Until now, "Will CYPHA" was the only vehicle compliant with the service. However, by the end of 2003, it will be raised to 50 models, equivalent to about 80% of all the company’s line-ups. At the same time, new services also will be added, and the company is aiming for acquiring a total of about 200,000 members by the end of 2003. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/31/2003
  Sony NFC-Compliant Wireless Chip Could Debut Before Year End
Thursday, July 31, 2003
  Summary Sony Corp plans to ship engineering samples of a wireless communication chip for Near Field Communication (NFC) based on contactless smart card technologies. The chip is to be made by Royal Philips Electronics NV of The Netherlands, and will be commercialized in the second quarter of 2004. "We hope to make devices equipped with the chip in 2005," Sony said. Sony announced in September 2002 that it was co-developing NFC technology with Philips. The carrier frequency for NFC is 13.56MHz, the same as that for contactless smart cards. NFC operates over distances of only about 20cm and at data rates of 424kbps. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/29/2003
  Mobile satellite broadcasting to start in Japan
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
  Summary A digital satellite broadcasting service to send clear sounds and images to specially designed mobile phones and car navigation systems will begin concurrently in Japan and South Korea next spring as the first of its kind in the world, according to industry officials. On Friday, the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications issued a preliminary license to Tokyo-based Mobile Broadcasting Corp. to launch the service, they said. Mobile Broadcasting, whose shareholders include Toshiba Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and Nippon Television Network Corp., plans to launch a satellite in October and begin full services around next March, according to the officials. (Kyodo)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/25/2003
  Japan Mobile Phone Companies Band Together to Fight Spam
Friday, July 25, 2003
  Summary Japan’s three major mobile phone service providers plan to share with one another information on spammers who send unsolicited e-mail messages. NTT DoCoMo Inc, KDDI Corp’s au service and J-Phone hope to minimize harm to consumers by creating a blacklist of malicious businesses that send spam hoping to lure customers to dating sites or elsewhere. Au, which currently faces the biggest problem, said user complaints rose to over 50,000 in June from under 3,000 in January. It has already begun blocking e-mail from recognized spammers. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/19/2003
  Bandai Unveils Portable Printer with Infrared Port for Cell Phones
Saturday, July 19, 2003
  Summary Bandai Co, Ltd unveiled on July 14 a portable printer that can print photo data transmitted wirelessly from a camera-equipped mobile phone with an infrared port, onto a sheet of paper of which one side is a sticker. The printer is Bandai’s first such portable printer for mobile phones. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/18/2003
  IP Telephone Services for Cell Phones Likely to Start in 2004
Friday, July 18, 2003
  Summary Since April 2003, some IP telephone services for fixed-line telephones have been launched. Meanwhile, those for mobile phones provided via wireless LAN base station are likely to start in the spring of 2004 or thereafter. Reasons for the later-than-expected launch include a delay in obtaining telephone numbers with the prefix of 050 for IP telephone services, a review of the quality of wireless base stations, and difficulties in acquiring agents that will set up base stations. Yozan Inc, a provider of PHS communication services operating in the Tokyo metropolitan area, has postponed the launch of Wireless IP Service, a data communications service planned to be launched on July 1, to April 2004. The company has just established Yozan IP Networks, Inc, a subsidiary specializing in such services, in February 2003. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/8/2003
  Carriers to sue over NTT fee hike
Tuesday, July 8, 2003
  Summary Five telecom carriers are poised to go to court to overturn a telecoms ministry policy that allowed Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) to charge them higher interconnection fees. KDDI Corp., Japan Telecom Co., Poweredcom Inc., Cable & Wireless IDC Inc. and Fusion Communications Corp., which rely on NTTs network to operate their telephone services, plan to announce their legal actions July 17. The smaller carriers therefore oppose the ministrys decision to allow the fee hikes, which observers say will be passed on to consumers. (Asahi)  
 
   
  Carriers to sue over NTT fee hike
Tuesday, July 8, 2003
  Summary Five telecom carriers are poised to go to court to overturn a telecoms ministry policy that allowed Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) to charge them higher interconnection fees. KDDI Corp., Japan Telecom Co., Poweredcom Inc., Cable & Wireless IDC Inc. and Fusion Communications Corp., which rely on NTTfs network to operate their telephone services, plan to announce their legal actions July 17. The interconnection fees have been repeatedly cut since the current regulations took effect in fiscal 1994. All rivals of NTT rely on the telecoms giantfs network for their services, particularly for local connections to subscribers. (Asahi)  
 
   
  Carriers to sue over NTT fee hike
Tuesday, July 8, 2003
  Summary Five telecom carriers are poised to go to court to overturn a telecoms ministry policy that allowed Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) to charge them higher interconnection fees. KDDI Corp., Japan Telecom Co., Poweredcom Inc., Cable & Wireless IDC Inc. and Fusion Communications Corp., which rely on NTTfs network to operate their telephone services, plan to announce their legal actions July 17. The interconnection fees have been repeatedly cut since the current regulations took effect in fiscal 1994. Carriers using the NTT network, such as leading player KDDI, have passed those cuts on to their customers. (Asahi)  
 
   
  Carriers to sue over NTT fee hike
Tuesday, July 8, 2003
  Summary The 5 firms want telecoms ministry to reverse decision on price of using NTTfs network. Five telecom carriers are poised to go to court to overturn a telecoms ministry policy that allowed Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) to charge them higher interconnection fees. KDDI Corp., Japan Telecom Co., Poweredcom Inc., Cable & Wireless IDC Inc. and Fusion Communications Corp., which rely on NTTfs network to operate their telephone services, plan to announce their legal actions July 17. (Asahi)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/1/2003
  Mobile TV, High-Quality TV to Appear in 2005
Tuesday, July 1, 2003
  Summary A mobile television that allows reception of broadcasts anywhere at any time, and a state-of-the-art video system with 4,000 scanning lines attracted a great deal of attention at a recent show in Japan. In reality, the launch of a mobile apparatus for terrestrial digital broadcasting is still up in the air, ever since the MPEG-4 licensing issue emerged. In this exhibition, Sanyo Electric Co, Ltd and KDDI Laboratory Ltd/NHK STRL exhibited their own trial models of mobile broadcast receivers. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/27/2003
  Info Plant: 51.7% of i-mode Users Photo Friends with Camera Phone
Friday, June 27, 2003
  Summary Internet research company Info Plant announced June 24 the results of a survey of 33,430 i-mode Internet-enabled cellphone users (men 35.2%, women 64.8%) on what they take pictures of with a camera phone. Of the respondents, 61.8% use an i-mode phone with a camera function. Of those who have a camera phone, 95.8% use the camera: 35.0% of the users use it for one or two days a week; 27.1% for 2-3 days a week; 15.9% for 3-4 days a week. When asked what they take pictures of, 51.7% said they take pictures of friends, followed by families and relatives (44.5%) and pets (33.4%). Of the camera phone users, 74.7% send the pictures taken with a camera phone to another cellphone by mail, and 66.4% use them as wallpapers. (JapanCorp.Net)  
 
   
  Ubiquitous ID Center Reveals Parts of Standard Specs for Sesame Seed-Sized Tag Chips
Friday, June 27, 2003
  Summary The Ubiquitous ID Center, the electronics industry organization -- led by the TRON Project -- set up to decide on standard technical specifications for wireless tags (known as RFID tags, or radio frequency identification tags), publicly unveiled some of the specs for the first time on June 24. At the same time, it was also revealed that three different types of wireless tag, which have already been technologically certified by the center, would start undergoing working trials this summer. The planned trials will use readers/writers developed by the center. A certification system for makers of reader/writer devices will likely be introduced in the future. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/26/2003
  Sony to sell wireless television
Thursday, June 26, 2003
  Summary Sony Corp, the world’s second-largest consumer-electronics maker, has said it will start sales of a new version of its Airboard wireless television with a new service to make it easier to use the device to browse the Internet. The new service, L-mode, is currently offered by Japan’s largest telephone company, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp, for fixed-lined phones which allow to browse Web pages and receive e-mail from a screen on their home telephone. NTT’s L-mode service does not require a keyboard. Adding L-mode will broaden the appeal of Airboard by simplifying its use, Sony executive, Satoru Maeda said. The new version of Airboard, a tablet-like device combining the functions of a conventional television and a computer would be available in the market by mid-July. (Hindustan Times)  
 
   
  Bluetooth's Next-Generation Version to be Authorized Soon: Bluetooth SIG
Thursday, June 26, 2003
  Summary Promoting standardization of a technology for short-range radio links, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) said it has reached the final stage of drawing up the next release of the specification, called Bluetooth Version 1.2. Version 1.2 is expected to maintain downward compatibility with Version 1.1, the current version, while reinforcing a number of functions, including one to reduce interference with wireless LANs. As the new specification is almost fixed, some vendors such as CSR Ltd of the UK and Zeevo, Inc of the US have already announced LSI chips supporting Version 1.2. The Bluetooth SIG is yet to open the contents of this coming version. However, it has made public some of functions to be incorporated in it. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/25/2003
  IC tags seen replacing bar codes
Wednesday, June 25, 2003
  Summary The Ubiquitous ID Center, headed by Tokyo University Prof. Ken Sakamura, on Monday approved specification standards for IC tags that can replace bar codes for product management and adjustment in payment. By unifying specifications of tiny integrated circuit chips, the center,-in which 180 companies participate, including major electrical machinery and communications firms, expects that IC tags will be used in a wide range of fields other than just as dockets. Because they use wireless transmission for communication, IC tags do not have to be scanned one at a time like bar codes. (Daily Yomiuri)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/23/2003
  Japanese Police to Issue Non-Contact IC Card Driver’s License in FY2004
Monday, June 23, 2003
  Summary Japan’s National Police Agency plans to switch to a non-contact IC card driver’s license from the current one starting in fiscal 2004. The revised Road Traffic Law that went into effect in June 2002 allowed the NPA to record any information on an electromagnetic medium. At the same time, it decided to disclose new specifications for such a license. The main objectives the change are to prevent forgeries of a driver’s license and to improve the efficiency of police practices, an NPA spokesperson said. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/19/2003
  KDDI eyeing suit against gov’t over NTT fee hike
Thursday, June 19, 2003
  Summary KDDI Corp is considering suing the telecom ministry to demand nullification of April’s authorization for Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT) units to hike the interconnection fee they levy on KDDI and other new common carriers, its president said Wednesday. The process of authorization by the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications was "ambiguous," KDDI President Tadashi Onodera said at a press conference. (Kyodo News)  
 
   
  NTT Data Survey Reveals 53% Say ’Wireless Tags Needed’ for Food
Thursday, June 19, 2003
  Summary "A wireless tag with a larger information capacity (than a bar code) is needed," 53.3% of participants in the food industry said in a questionnaire survey conducted by NTT Data Corp with 90 companies in the food industry. Will a radish have a chip on it in the future? This questionnaire was conducted in preparation for the construction of NTT Data’s physical-distribution experiment system in order to determine the needs and views of the food industry toward radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Matsushita Introduces GPS-Equipped Electric Bicycle
Thursday, June 19, 2003
  Summary National Bicycle Industrial Co, Ltd, an affiliate of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, Ltd, announced that it has developed the industry’s first electric bicycle equipped with a global positioning system (GPS) linked to the location-based security service offered by Secom Co, Ltd. The electric bicycle and power-assisted bicycle have become popular in Japan, with growth this year projected to overtake the previous year’s by 25%. But cases of theft are a growing problem, as the electric bicycle is much more expensive than a conventional bicycle. This is a reason for the National Bicycle tie-up with Secom, which is offering a GPS-based security service, Coco-Secom. (NEAsai Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/18/2003
  Japan panel urges diversity in land-mobile rates
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
  Summary A Japanese government panel delivered a potential blow to cellphone operators on Tuesday, after it backed giving price-setting rights for land-to-mobile calls to both fixed-line operators and wireless carriers. Mobile phone operators currently set phone rates for most calls from fixed-line networks to mobile units. But some fixed-line operators have said phone rates for land-to-mobile calls are too high, and that they could offer lower rates if the right to set rates was transfered to them. (Reuters)  
 
   
  Cellphone to locker: `Unlock the door’
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
  Summary Cellphones turn the tumblers of keyless coin lockers. A timely call has opened many a door, but who would have thought coin lockers, too? Keyless coin lockers, operated by an ordinary cellphone, are answering the call at two train stations in the Tokyo metropolitan area. That’s good news for those more apt to lose their keys than their cellphones. And, as an added plus, the rates are cheaper than key-operated lockers, starting at 100 yen for three to six hours. The keyless lockers were developed by the Tokyo-based space-rental firm X-Cube Co., in collaboration with the NTT group. So far there are about 50 such lockers in use at three locations in Tokyo and Shinjuku stations. (Asahi)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/17/2003
  Bandai Networks to Launch Online Game for Mobile Phones
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
  Summary Mobile phone users will be able to play Bandai Networks Co Ltd’s popular "Ragnarok Online" starting June 19. By year-end, the firm aims to sign up 240,000 users, for revenues of 500 million yen, rising to 2 billion yen next fiscal year. "Ragnarok" is one of the most popular online games in Korea, where it has 2.5 million users. Bandai Networks worked with GungHo Online Entertainment Inc to develop the new version. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Japanese Mobile Content Developers Go Abroad with BREW
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
  Summary The Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW) platform makes it simple to use mobile telephone applications in multiple regions, according to mobile phone content developers gathered at the BREW2003 Developers Conference. In many cases localization can be completed by merely changing the language used, and once an application is certified as BREW-compliant, Qualcomm Inc of the US and other firms will help with multi-regional expansion. Recognizing these advantages, mobile phone content and application developers are becoming increasingly excited about BREW applications. In Japan, for example, a number of Korean games already have been localized, and Japanese ring tone technology is being exported, marking the emergence of new businesses. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/16/2003
  Disney dances to tune of 3G ringtone
Monday, June 16, 2003
  Summary Walt Disney, the US entertainment group, is teaming up with Vodafone to offer Disney-branded cartoons, games and music through the world’s largest mobile phones operator. The deal, due to be announced on Monday, aims to exploit growing demand for themed ringtones, picture messaging and movie clips on the latest generation of phones. It follows several months of talks between the two companies. Disney executives hope to emulate the success of mobile content sales in Japan, where the group has won 3.4m subscribers since launching wireless internet services two years ago. (Financial Times)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/15/2003
  Dual-Screen Cell Phone Patent Prompts Offense, Defense
Sunday, June 15, 2003
  Summary On March 14, the "Patent on Mobile Phones with Two Screens" (Patent No. 2408154) came into force. The patent holder is a Nagoya-based venture business called ADC Technology, Inc. Most of the cell phones now on sale have a sub-display on the back, in addition to the main display. There is a possibility of all these fast-selling items violating the newly secured patent. If they are considered to be in violation, all the makers developing and manufacturing those mobile phones will either have to pay license fees to the patent holder or agree to conditions proposed by the patent holder. Otherwise, the makers may face damage suits leading to enormous payments and suffer damage to their corporate images. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/13/2003
  Keitai Log: Keitai in relationships; Loaning your keitai
Friday, June 13, 2003
  Summary In Japan, cell phones are considered a communication tool rather than a business tool among the young. High school students and college students usually communicate most with their boyfriends or girlfriends using their cell phones. If you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, just look into the call history function of your phones, where you will find how much time was spent on your cell phone to communicate with your boyfriend or girlfriend. (Japan Media Review)  
 
   
  King of Japanese TV not Sold on the Web
Friday, June 13, 2003
  Summary One of the major draws of the World Wide Web is breaking news. Nippon Television Network Corporation, Japans No. 1 television network, has created a new attraction: breaking fiction. Television viewers used to have to wait a week between NTVs top-rated evening soap operas to keep up with the antics of their favorite characters. Then, with the explosion of a reliable, no-static cell phone system, the wireless Web descended upon Japan. NTV has found a way to keep obsessed soap opera fans attention every day. The TV writers spin off side-stories that appear only on NTVs wireless Web site. (Japan Media Review)  
 
   
  Survey: Photo Messaging to Drive Mobile Industry
Friday, June 13, 2003
  Summary Mobile phone users are willing to pay for sending photo messages, reinforcing hopes that multimedia messaging services, or MMS, could fuel a new growth phase in mobile telephones, a global survey published on Thursday found. As many as 42 percent of mobile phone users who had heard about photo messaging said they expected to send at least one photo message a week in the future, according to the survey of 5,600 people by management consultants AT Kearney and Britain’s Cambridge University. Companies that would benefit from consumer enthusiasm for photo messaging include Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa 0013.HK , which with partners such as Japanese giant NTT DoCoMo, launched Europe’s first third-generation (3G) mobile services in Britain and Italy this year. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/12/2003
  NTT Develops Ultra-High-Speed Wireless Comm Technology
Thursday, June 12, 2003
  Summary Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp has developed a wireless communications technology that enables ultra-high-speed data transmission almost equivalent to that of fiber-optic networks, company sources said. When a 19 x 19cm antenna is used, the technology allows Internet access and simultaneous receipt/transmission of 10 channels of high-resolution images. The technology offers a transmission speed of 80Mbps, seven times faster than outdoor wireless LAN services used to connect notebook personal computers with the Internet at railroad stations and airports. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/9/2003
  Dwango to Debut 3D-Phonic Surround-Sound Ring Tone Service for Mobile Phones
Monday, June 9, 2003
  Summary Dwango Co, Ltd will launch a ring tone delivery service for mobile phones on June 11, offering melody and voice ring tones in 3D-phonic sound. Dwango has 3 million users for its sites offering ring-tone music. Targeted at mobile phones equipped with two speakers, the ring tone service promises a virtual surround-sound effect in music and voice, just like having 5.1-channel speakers. The surround-sound effect is designed for maximum impact when the user holds the mobile phone, with arm outstretched, up to the face. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Shipments of Digital Broadcast Satellite Reception Systems in Japan Reach 2 Million: JEITA
Monday, June 9, 2003
  Summary The Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA) announced that Japan’s shipments of digital broadcast satellite reception systems (external tuners and TV sets with built-in tuners) has reached 2 million. According to JEITA, the cumulative unit-based shipments from June 2000 (sales launch for TVs with built-in tuners) to April 2003 of TVs with built-in tuners and external tuners were 994,000 and 801,000, respectively. The addition of the shipments of plasma TVs with built-in tuners will bring the total shipments of digital broadcast satellite reception systems to 2,025,000, exceeding the 2-million mark. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/5/2003
  Hanging Up On Wireless Spam
Thursday, June 5, 2003
  Summary By some estimates, as much as 80% of the billion or so messages sent daily to NTT DoCoMo wireless users each day may be unsolicited. The dominant Japanese wireless carrier is now armed with a new law requiring that spam messages have the phrase "unsolicited advertisement" in the subject line. That is helping it to filter out the junk: DoCoMo found that 17% of its users were getting up to five spams a day in May 2002, down from 30% a year earlier. (Forbes)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/4/2003
  New Terminal Tells How Dogs Feel When Owners Are Away
Wednesday, June 4, 2003
  Summary Takara Co, Ltd, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, Ltd and Index Corp announced that they started a test service with a terminal called "Bowlingual" -- a communication tool that tells the owner how a dog is feeling. Takara and Index jointly developed the new device. A wireless microphone embedded in the Bowlingual terminal analyzes dog barks and transmits the results to a dog owner at a distance via a special device (transmitter/receiver) placed inside or outside of the house. The owners can check and see how their pets are doing from anywhere using either a cell phone or the special device. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Cell-phone photos replace Purikura
Wednesday, June 4, 2003
  Summary The wide variety of cell phones equipped with digital cameras provides a form of enjoyment similar to that of playing with "Purikura" machines, which print tiny photo stickers. NEC Mobiling, Ltd.’s Primode enables cell-phone users to print photo stickers from images taken using a cell phone with a built-in camera. Printers that look like huge cell phones have been placed at about 2,000 amusement arcades and shopping malls. A sticker sheet is about the size of a postcard and costs around 300 yen. (Daily Yomiuri)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/3/2003
  Mobile Contents Providers Opposes MEPG-4 Licensing Policy
Tuesday, June 3, 2003
  Summary A patent licensing issue is casting clouds over mobile phone video delivery services, including NTT DoCoMo Inc’s i-motion and KDDI Corp’s ezmovie. Contents providers’ industry groups sent a letter on May 23 to MPEG LA of the US, a company that manages MPEG related patents, warning that they could stop using MPEG-4 Visual technology, if the company persists in the current licensing policy. These industry groups are the Mobile Content Forum (MCF) and the Association of Media in Digital (AMD). At this moment, MPEG-4 Visual is employed for i-motion and ezmovie to compress video contents. MPEG LA has announced its intention to collect royalties, from contents providers, let alone equipment manufacturers. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/22/2003
  Cellphone ring tones drum up 7 billion yen in copyright fees
Thursday, May 22, 2003
  Summary In fiscal 2002 alone, copyright fees paid to songwriters to use their melodies on cellphones in Japan soared to about 7.32 billion yen, nearly double the 3.8 billion yen recorded in fiscal 2001, the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) said Wednesday. ince fiscal 1999, revenue from ring-tone copyright fees has increased more than 20-fold. It is estimated that more than 110 million melodies were downloaded each month in fiscal 2002. An average service provides cellphone users with 15 to 20 tunes a month for between 100 and 300 yen. More than 100 companies act as online music distributors, which pay JASRAC a copyright fee of 5 yen per tune. (Asahi)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/21/2003
  NTT DoCoMo to Launch First Handset in New 505i Series
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
  Summary NTT DoCoMo, Inc. and its eight regional subsidiaries announced today that they will introduce the D505i mobile phone on May 23, 2003. The model is the first in the company’s new 505i series of enhanced-PDC (2G) handsets that incorporate a Flash browser, allowing users to access a broad range of rich content and applications that boast highly fluid animation. Designed especially for users who enjoy i-shot picture messaging, the D505i comes with a high-resolution Super CCD camera that has an effective resolution of 630,000 pixels and built-in flash. A maximum 1.23 mega-pixel resolution is realized when photos are printed out. (NTT DoCoMo)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/15/2003
  Kyocera Releases "ECONONAVIT" Solar Systems Wireless Color LCD Monitor
Thursday, May 15, 2003
  Summary Kyocera Corporation has announced the release of the new "ECONONAVIT" monitor scheduled for June 2 this year. This newly developed monitor enables the owner to wire to check wirelessly the status of the solar power generation systems. Since it can be placed anywhere as an interior in the house, and is easy to see with high visibility, featuring a wide range of contents and user functions. Kyocera will release the "ECONONAVIT" on June 2, to coincide with the release of the new solar power generation system "SAMURAI," which has a three-dimensional appearance harmonizing with the roof and provides an enhanced power generating capacity with an increased number of mounted solar cells. (JapanCorp.Net)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/14/2003
  Fujitsu Asia Extends BroadSoft IP Centrex to Wireless Devices
Wednesday, May 14, 2003
  Summary Singapore-based Fujitsu Asia Pte Ltd (Fujitsu Asia) and BroadSoft Inc. (BroadSoft) today announced an initiative to integrate Fujitsu Asia’s cell phone access products with BroadSoft’s flagship product, BroadWorks. Fujitsu Asia will resell BroadWorks throughout the Asia-Pacific region to enable IP connectivity and access to corporate communication services via any cell phone device. (Hardware Zone)  
 
   
  NTT DoCoMo Sees More Subscribers Boost Income, Profit; Expects to Push FOMA in 2004
Wednesday, May 14, 2003
  Summary NTT DoCoMo Inc disclosed financial results for fiscal year 2002 that showed a boost in income and profit subscribers. On a consolidated accounting basis, the company reported operating income of 4,809.1 billion yen, up 3.2% year-on-year, and pretax profit of 1,043 billion yen, up 9.1% year-on-year. NTT DoCoMo plans to work out on the FOMA’s next-generation services in 2004. W-CDMA, the communication standard for FOMA, includes high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) as a fast packet transmission specification. HSDPA will enable the maximum transmission speed of around 14Mbps (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Fujitsu Laboratories Establishes New Lab to Leverage Broadband, Ubiquitous Technologies
Wednesday, May 14, 2003
  Summary Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Ltd, announced that it has established a new laboratory for broadband and ubiquitous technologies. In ubiquitous technologies, RFID, IC card, mobile terminal, in-home gateway, secure VoIP, wireless LAN, personalization, knowledge sharing are the major areas. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/9/2003
  Latest subscribers in Japan
Friday, May 9, 2003
  Summary NTT DoCoMo’s 3G service, which got off to a dismal start, has finally picked up as well to 421,000 users at the end of April, up sharply from 89,000 a year ago. DoCoMo’s mail rival, KDDI, said it added 705,100 subscribers in April to the 3G wireless communications service it provides via its "au" cellphones, bringing its 3G user base to 7.511 million. The data reflect KDDI’s ongoing efforts to move its 2G CDMAOne subscribers to its 3G CDMA2000 1x service. And Japan’s smallest 3G operator, J-Phone, added 9,700 new 3G subscribers in April to 34,900 in total. (3G Newsroom)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/8/2003
  Furukawa Electric, Sumitomo Electric Consolidate Wireless Technology Operations
Thursday, May 8, 2003
  Summary Furukawa Electric Co, Ltd and Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd (SEI) have reached a fundamental agreement to consolidate the two companies’ wireless technology operations and to establish a joint venture company. Details on consolidation other than those mentioned above are still under consideration. The new joint venture company is scheduled to start business in April 2004. Digitalization of terrestrial TV broadcasting in Japan has generated the increased demand for new digital transmission facilities. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Three Companies Jointly Demonstrate RFID Tags for Booksellers
Thursday, May 8, 2003
  Summary Dai Nippon Printing Co, Ltd, NTT Corp, and Sun Microsystems Inc jointly developed a system that utilizes a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag implanted in books for the publishing industry. It enables booksellers to construct a supply chain management (SCM) system as well as monitor shoppers’ in-store behavior. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/7/2003
  New Technology Enables Wireless Device to Use Various Formats
Wednesday, May 7, 2003
  Summary The Communications Research Laboratory, a government-affiliated research institute, has developed a method that enables a single wireless communications device to use different technologies to transmit data, automatically choosing the most appropriate one for a given situation, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun learned Sunday. Currently, wireless communications devices use one of three basic technologies: cellular telephone, PHS (personal handyphone system) or wireless LAN (local area network). The new technology will enable one terminal to use all three. The institute aims to commercialize the technology in two to three years. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  ’Mobile TV’ to Start MPEG-4 Alternative in 2005
Wednesday, May 7, 2003
  Summary Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK) and commercial TV broadcasting companies have started to study seriously video codec alternatives to MPEG-4. Candidates include the H.264, MPEG-1 and others. The broadcasting industry has almost reached a consensus to realize ubiquitous "Mobile TV," regardless of the kind of codecs on lease in 2005, using available mobile devices. Their policy has been drastically changed, giving up adoption of MPEG-4 as the cornerstone for mobile TV. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/5/2003
  "Can’t-use-outside-Japan" syndrome? Not here
Monday, May 5, 2003
  Summary The "can’t-use-it-outside-Japan" syndrome is something many know: It’s cool technology--from video phones, home robots to high-definition TV--that’s incompatible with standards in the rest of the world. But one Japanese lab will set up a Singapore branch to create the wired motorist, partly because it wants to avoid the in-Japan-only problem. ommunications Research Laboratory (CRL), a Tokyo-based institute, will invest S$3 million (US$1.7 million) in a new Singapore facility to focus on vehicle communications systems and fourth-generation (4G) mobile technology. (CNET Asia)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/1/2003
  Sony Tags BREW for Content
Thursday, May 1, 2003
  Summary Sony Music Entertainment is the first major music company to sign an agreement to publish applications and content for QUALCOMM’s Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless -- or BREW platform. The music giant said its Mobile Products Group plans to offer a variety of applications and services to subscribers of BREW-enabled services. Company top brass said Sony is will use the platform to develop "compelling and innovative wireless music and entertainment services for mobile consumers." (Internet.com)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/25/2003
  Mobile Phones Need Software Update Capability: Bitfone Chairman
Friday, April 25, 2003
  Summary Bitfone Corp of the United States is a venture business that develops and sells an over-the-air software update system for mobile phones, called "mProve." The firm has just finished developing the software and a full system, and is now encouraging cellular phone service providers and handset manufacturers to adopt its update solution. Bitfone has opened an office in Japan in October 2002 and is currently courting Japanese wireless companies. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Tokyo Startup Leverages Mobile Mail
Friday, April 25, 2003
  Summary Nooper.com is an unlikely name for a technology that aims to turbocharge mobile mail. The system lets users specify events - "Noopies" - and then receive notification (as well as content) via keitai; Noopies can be anything - a Mail Checker Noopie alerts you when your corporate account gets a new mail, a Reminder Noopie tells you when rain is more than 40% likely (Remember your kasa!), and a List Noopie keeps you in touch with multiple buddies on a mailing list. The jury’s still out on whether Nooper can succeed in Japan’s roiling mobile market, but if they can succeed here, they can probably succeed anywhere. (WWJ)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/18/2003
  Wireless Adult Services to Ring Up $1B by 2008
Friday, April 18, 2003
  Summary Coming on the heels of a decision by a Japanese court ordering spammers to pay for unsolicited wireless porn messages, is a report from Strategy Analytics on wireless adult entertainment services. Japanese mobile phone carrier, NTT DoCoMo Corp., was awarded 6.57 million yen ($54,420) in March 2003 to cover the cost of unsolicited messages from a Tokyo company that routinely flooded the network with randomly addressed advertisements for pornography or dating services. DoCoMo estimates that more than 80 percent of the 950 million messages sent to its mobile e-mail service each day are unsolicited although much of that is filtered out before it reaches users and the wireless provider claims to have spent more than 4 million yen bouncing the junk e-mail that was sent to non-existent wireless phone numbers. (Internet News)  
 
   
  Bandai, HI announce first 3D games with Vodafone
Friday, April 18, 2003
  Summary Bandai has announced that it is working with HI Corporation, a developer of 3D technology for mobile devices, to provide Vodafone with the first 3D games in the European market. The games use HIs Mascot Capsule 3D engine and have already been available in Japan for some time. Each title will cost between EUR 3 and EUR 7, depending on local market conditions. It is thought the end of April release will coincide with the announcement of new Vodafone Live handsets capable of supporting the 3D technology. In a separate announcement, Bandai and HI said they had completed work on the mobile version of Macromedia's Flash player, which will be included in DoCoMo's new 505i series handsets. (PMN)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/15/2003
  Asahi’s Wireless Magic Act
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
  Summary While most news sites around the world have yet to figure how to coax readers into paying for online news, Japan’s No. 2 newspaper is making $200,000 a year selling subscriptions to its popular wireless Web site. What explains Asahi’s wireless advantage? It could simply be that Asahi has a better handle on what wireless users want. (Japan Media Review)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/10/2003
  Face-Recognition Magic Comes to Mobile
Thursday, April 10, 2003
  Summary Sure, you can access your bank account balance and buy stuff via celly, but what happens if you loose your handset and some bad dude gets your PIN number? And remember: in Japan, tens of thousands of keitais are lost each year. But one thing the baddies (except for certain famous movie serial cannibals) can’t steal is your face - and today we show you an innovative face-recognition system that’s been ported to mobile phones. "Kaopass" works well and demonstrates one possibility for keitai security in the future. (Wireless Watch Japan)  
 
   
  bitWallet: Sony & DoCoMo Make Mobile Money
Thursday, April 10, 2003
  Summary We’ve told you before that the celly is morphing into an e-wallet, and it looks as though it’s going to happen in 2003. bitWallet is a joint venture between Sony, NTT DoCoMo, and a bevy of banks and other interested players all salivating over potential profits. Although there are no details yet on what an e-wallet-enabled keitai will ultimately look like, today’s program shows how contactless smart cards are being used in Japan. (Wireless Watch Japan)  
 
   
  NTT DATA Establishes Venture Subsidiary Offering Mobile Phone Multiparty Services
Thursday, April 10, 2003
  Summary NTT DATA established it’s eighth venture, to be called Casual Communications Corp. Slated to go into business May 1, the new venture will primarily cater to corporate users with an on-demand multiparty (up to 92) communications service (VoiceScrum) that harnesses the features of a multipoint voice control system. (JapanCorp.Net)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/8/2003
  Toyota to Strengthen In-Vehicle Network Services
Tuesday, April 8, 2003
  Summary Toyota Motor Corp announced that it is planning to expand and upgrade its "G-BOOK" information network service for vehicle-mounted terminals. Four G-BOOK compliant car-navigation system products are to be added in August 2003. Until now, "Will CYPHA" was the only vehicle compliant with the service. However, by the end of 2003, it will be raised to 50 models, equivalent to about 80% of all the company’s line-ups. At the same time, new services also will be added, and the company is aiming for acquiring a total of about 200,000 members by the end of 2003. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Furukawa Electric, Sumitomo Electric Consolidate Wireless Technology Operations
Tuesday, April 8, 2003
  Summary Furukawa Electric Co, Ltd and Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd (SEI) have reached a fundamental agreement to consolidate the two companies’ wireless technology operations and to establish a joint venture company. Details on consolidation other than those mentioned above are still under consideration. The new joint venture company is scheduled to start business in April 2004. Digitalization of terrestrial TV broadcasting in Japan has generated the increased demand for new digital transmission facilities. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Toyota to Strengthen In-Vehicle Network Services
Tuesday, April 8, 2003
  Summary Toyota Motor Corp announced that it is planning to expand and upgrade its "G-BOOK" information network service for vehicle-mounted terminals. Until now, "Will CYPHA" was the only vehicle compliant with the service. However, by the end of 2003, it will be raised to 50 models, equivalent to about 80% of all the company’s line-ups. At the same time, new services also will be added, and the company is aiming for acquiring a total of about 200,000 members by the end of 2003. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Cellphones shape behavior patterns of teens in Japan
Tuesday, April 8, 2003
  Summary Imagine how important your cellphone would be if using it were the only way to get together with your friends after school, compare notes about your classes, or keep in touch with your high-school sweetheart. That’s the reality for most of the young people in Japan today, arguably the most wired population in the world with 97 percent cellphone usage reported among Japanese college students and 79 percent among high school students. Although the United States lags behind with only about a third of teenagers using cellphones today, that number is expected to grow to two-thirds by 2005, according to the Yankee Group. (Miami Herald)  
 
   
  Japan posts strong cellphone user growth in March
Tuesday, April 8, 2003
  Summary The number of mobile phone users in Japan grew at the fastest rate in two years in March, an industry body said on Monday, amid continued strong demand for camera-equipped handsets and high-speed third-generation (3G) services. The number of mobile phone users rose by 1.29 million to 75.66 million in March, the largest monthly growth since March 2001, the Telecommunications Carriers Association said. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 4/7/2003
  Fujitsu Labs Announces Contactless Palm Pattern Biometric Authentication System
Monday, April 7, 2003
  Summary Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd developed a contactless biometric authentication system capable of verifying identities by recognizing the pattern of blood veins in the palm. The new technology consists of a device that can read the blood vein patterns in the palm without making physical contact and software that can authenticate an individual’s identity based on these patterns. When users bring their palm close to the sensor device, it captures an image of the blood veins, which appear like dark lines. The software then extracts the vein pattern from the image and compares it with the vein-pattern data stored in the database. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Stop NTTs drive to eliminate pay phones
Monday, April 7, 2003
  Summary Nationwide sales of telephone cards, known as tereka in Japanese, reached 400 million in 1995, but the figure had plunged to 54 million in 2001, according to Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. Over the past few years, sales have continued to fall by 30 percent annually. This is all because of cellular phones. It could be said the immense popularity of cellphones is driving tereka into disuse. In a parallel development, pay phones on street corners are disappearing. (Asahi)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/25/2003
  Making Money: P2P in Japan’s Wireless Space
Tuesday, March 25, 2003
  Summary Each client interacting with the sign can choose to allow an icon representing the owner to be displayed on the screen; the icon can display a message like "looking for partner to attend jazz concert at 7:00PM." If you wish to accept the offer, simply drag your icon down to "mate" with the other. The clients will then be notified how to contact each other and a date can be made on the spot. Unlike the Americans, the Japanese are building highly personal, device-to-device, and socially interactive communication capability into their system from the ground up. (WWJ)  
 
   
  Abuses with mini-cameras tough to curb
Tuesday, March 25, 2003
  Summary Beware the ubiquitous cell phone, because some of those equipped with cameras are in the hands of perverts bent on invading your privacy. Media coverage of arrests in this regard is on the increase, with the focus mainly on men who surreptitiously use a camera phone to photograph up women’s skirts. Once such images are transmitted to cyberspace, the damage becomes impossible to contain. (Japan Times)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/21/2003
  GPS finding stolen cars, but thieves elusive
Friday, March 21, 2003
  Summary A stolen recreation vehicle was found in Toyama, about 250 kilometers from where it was stolen in Yokohama, on March 7 by a major security company using the car’s global positioning system (GPS). However, the Russian driver of the vehicle insisted that he was entrusted with the car by someone he did not know, and Toyoma prefectural police officers could not arrest him on suspicion of theft and transporting stolen goods. (Daily Yomiuri)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/20/2003
  i-mode Users Like Sites for Ring Melody, Wallpaper Data Most: Survey
Thursday, March 20, 2003
  Summary Infoplant Co, Ltd, an Internet research company, said that NTT DoCoMo Incfs i-mode users mostly bookmark and view sites that provide ring melodies and wallpaper images, and least favor mobile banking and trading sites. According to the survey, 95.5% of the respondents bookmark their favorite sites in the "My Menu" section of the i-menu. Among those bookmarked, the most favorite destination sites are ring melody data and wallpaper image data. Such sites are visited very often by 73.1% of the respondents. Second favorite are news sites and weather updates, with 29% saying they visit very often. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Need a bus ticket? Use your cellphone
Thursday, March 20, 2003
  Summary Travelers on some long distant bus routes will be able to pay fares using cellular phones from the end of this month, thanks to a tie-up between Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and bus firms. The electronics giant aims to introduce the ticketless service on about 80 routes operated by 40 firms during fiscal 2003 and hopes to extend it to theater and other ticketing in the future. Customers can make and download reservations on Internet-capable mobile phones and pay by credit card. When boarding, passengers show the driver their phone screens displaying the reservation details and their credit card. (Asahi)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/14/2003
  Keep the change, Japan is saying; use a ’smart card’
Friday, March 14, 2003
  Summary The biggest pothole on the road to a cashless society has always been coins - those pesky pieces of metal needed to buy the little things, from bubble gum to bus tickets. Train-riders in Hong Kong and Paris have been using cards with antennas for several years, but Japan is the largest market yet. Their big selling point is speed. The antenna sends signals to readers at ticket gates, so no card-to-machine contact is needed. The entire transaction takes a fifth of a second, faster than is possible with similar technology introduced by Philips Electronics NV. (IHT)  
 
   
  DoCoMo FOMA P2102V / J-Phone Decoder Video Shots
Friday, March 14, 2003
  Summary Short video snippets of the DoCoMo P2102V and J-Phone's Beckham marketing. No accompanying commentary but a very fun look at Japan's mobile scene. MMJ recommended! (TokyoDV)  
 
   
  Japan’s Generation of Computer Refuseniks
Friday, March 14, 2003
  Summary Most teens and young adults in Japan rarely use computers to surf the World Wide Web. Instead they use cell phones to access a scaled-down wireless Web. The result: A growing computer literacy problem among Japan’s youth. (Japan Media Review)  
 
   
  A New Set of Social Rules for a Newly Wireless Society
Friday, March 14, 2003
  Summary In his new book, Smart Mobs, Howard Rheingold describes mobile phones as heralding "the next social revolution." From street-level Tokyo, it is hard not to agree with Rheingolds proclamations of change. The keitai has become a social necessity in Japan, particularly among the younger set. According to a survey by the Mobile Communications Research Group in November 2001, 64.6 percent of all Japanese owned a mobile phone. Among twentysomethings this number was 89.6 percent, among those enrolled in college, 97.8 percent, and among high school students, 78.8 percent. (Japan Media Review)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/13/2003
  Nooper launches push content delivery system
Thursday, March 13, 2003
  Summary Nooper launched a new push content delivery system for mobile phone users in Japan. Nooper enables the user to subscribe to different kinds of information and functionality called Noopies. A Noopie can be a weather report, a mailing list, a party invitation manager, a short story, a web site watcher, sports results, stock quotes, etc. It is currently available to i-mode, J-Sky and EZweb users in Japan. (Nooper)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/11/2003
  Konica to Print, Deliver Photos Taken by Cell Phone via Net
Tuesday, March 11, 2003
  Summary Konica Corp will in April launch a service that prints pictures taken by camera-equipped cellular phones onto stickers via the Internet, company sources said. The printing will be done at a Konica factory, and the stickers will be delivered to customers via mail or through convenience stores. In the near future, Konica will use its 5,000 unmanned photo-taking boxes nationwide to print such pictures, the sources said. The service, to be provided in cooperation with Bandai Networks, a subsidiary of Bandai Co Ltd, will be offered through a Web site accessible by cell phones. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/9/2003
  Toshiba Tec Develops System to Manage Commodities With Coin-Sized Tag
Sunday, March 9, 2003
  Summary Toshiba Tec Corp and Leading Information Technology Inc have jointly developed a commodity management system for stores employing wireless radio frequency-identification (RFID) tags. Wireless tag with an IC the size of 1mm x 1mm The system of wireless tags enables batch reading and remote reading, and therefore streamlines inventory control of commodities drastically from conventional systems employing bar codes. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/7/2003
  Swerve 3D Applications to Japanese Wireless Marketplace
Friday, March 7, 2003
  Summary Disco Corporation and Wirebee Inc announced that they have signed a major exclusive licensing and distribution agreement with Superscape plc. Under the terms of the agreement, Disco and Wirebee will jointly promote Superscape’s 3D Swerve enabling technology for mobile phones and PDAs to the Japanese marketplace. (3G)  
 
   
  U.S. Set for Mobile Game Invasion
Friday, March 7, 2003
  Summary New York. San Francisco. Chicago. Boston. Pick any major city in the United States and most likely you’ll spot dozens of yammering passersby with cell phones glued to their ears. But you’re not likely to see teens, much less men and women in business suits, peering at their phones’ screens punching buttons madly as they play mobile games. It’s a different story in major cities in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Japan -- the biggest mobile wireless markets in the world, with the greatest percentages of cell-phone users. Not only do school-age children play mobile games, but businesspeople also admit they play them on the sly during board meetings. (Wired News)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 3/5/2003
  Toppan Printing and Handango in Mobile Content Alliance
Wednesday, March 5, 2003
  Summary Toppan Printing Co Ltd is entering the next-generation wireless phone software distribution business through a partnership with a US firm. The Japanese company has acquired domestic sales rights to US content wholesaler Handango Inc.'s entire collection of software. The US firm owns some 20,000 types of software made by content creators in 78 countries, of which 1,200 come with operating instructions in Japanese and 400 of those can be displayed in Japanese. Around 800 of Handango's software titles are written in the Java programming language and can be used without change on next-generation mobile phones. There are 500 titles compatible with Microsoft Corp's mobile handset operating system and Symbian Ltdfs operating system. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/16/2003
  Japan mobile phone subscriptions up 0.97 pct in Dec
Thursday, January 16, 2003
  Summary The number of mobile phone subscriptions in Japan rose by 0.97 percent in December, a slightly faster pace than in November, as new handsets with a camera function persuaded more people to sign up. The new third generation (3G) service of J-Phone Corp, Japan’s third-largest wireless carrier and a unit of Britain’s Vodafone Group, won 1,200 users in less than two weeks after its December 20 debut despite a limited supply of handsets. KDDI Corp’s "au" service, Japan’s second-largest, saw a hefty 20 percent jump in subscribers to its 3G network, which lets users send each other video clips, although many were simply upgrading from slower services. (Reuters)  
 
   
  Tokyo Analyst: 2003 Wireless Outlook
Thursday, January 16, 2003
  Summary Camera phone penetration is increasing. With the newest handsets - particularly in DoCoMo’s case - the packet downloads have just surged. So you’ve got much higher packet usage - two to three times higher now on the camera phones," says CSFB sr. telecoms analyst Mark Berman. Watch our 2003 kick-off program as we pick the brain of one of Tokyo’s most respected industry watchers on what to expect in ’03. DoCoMo, KDDI, J-Phone, ARPU, data trends, and multimedia: these are a few of our favorite things! (Wireless Watch Japan)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/14/2003
  Futuristic Network Technologies Begin to Emerge
Tuesday, January 14, 2003
  Summary Research into leading-edge network technologies is well underway at a number of Japanese institutions, including universities, research institutes, and private companies. Microwave power transmission and UWB, are among one of the most interesting being explored. If microwaves carrying electric power can be beamed uniformly over the earth, they could be used as a power supply for mobile devices such as cell phones and PDAs. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Japanese order burgers wirelessly at McDonald’s
Tuesday, January 14, 2003
  Summary Armed with electronic notepads, staff at McDonald’s restaurants in Japan will start taking orders from customers as they queue, to shorten the waiting time and boost sales, the fast food chain said recently. People standing in line or at drive-ins will soon be able to ask for their burgers and fries via the Wireless Order Taker System, a portable computer with a liquid crystal display monitor. The electronic system will be deployed this month at 190 of a total 3,892 outlets in Japan, and by December 2005, the firm hopes it will be implemented universally. (Techzone)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/10/2003
  Japanese government mulls fixing fixed-to-mobile charges
Friday, January 10, 2003
  Summary The Japanese Telecom Ministry launched a discussion regarding introducing the "carrier pre-fixed system" known as "Myline service" for calls from fixed-line phones to mobile phones. In Japan, charges for calls from fixed lines to mobile phones traditionally have been fixed by mobile carriers. When the carrier pre-fixed system was introduced for Japan’s fixed-line business, fixed-line charges were significantly lowered due to competition among carriers. (Global Wireless News)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/9/2003
  Microsoft Seeks Foothold In Cellphone OS Mkt
Thursday, January 9, 2003
  Summary Microsoft Corp. is counting on its latest "Smartphone" software to gain a sizable foothold for the company in the growth market of next-generation mobile phones. The "Smartphone" operating system, which allows mobile phone owners to tap Microsoftfs user-friendly Windows applications, should win the hearts of gadget-crazy consumers in Japan and abroad, said Derek Brown, the director of Microsoftfs Mobile Devices Division. Nevertheless, Symbian has convinced more mobile phone makers to join its cause, with U.K.fs Sendo Holdings PLC cutting ties with Microsoft in favor of its OS last November and Japanfs Fujitsu Ltd. producing a Symbian OS third-generation cellphone for Japanfs mobile phone giant NTT DoCoMo Inc. (Dow Jones)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/8/2003
  In 2003, Will People Stop Thinking NTT?
Wednesday, January 8, 2003
  Summary Growth in the use of mobile phones has been keeping the NTT Group buoyant for the past few years. However, the market is approaching saturation, with more than six out of every 10 people now owning a mobile handset, so continuing strong growth in the mobile sector cannot be taken for granted. Third generation (3G) mobile phones, which were expected to spur demand for more data services, have been struggling to win favor with the buying public, where the single exception is KDDIfs CDMA2000 service, which was developed with the need to keep it compatible with existing services and infrastructure firmly in mind. It is unlikely that consumers will start recognizing the new 3G services offered by NTT DoCoMo Inc. and J-Phone Co., Ltd. as valid successors to their existing services until the summer, or later, when the 3G service areas are expanded. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Japan hesitates to embrace EMS providers
Wednesday, January 8, 2003
  Summary Twelve months ago, Japan was on the verge of opening its doors to the contract manufacturing community, with analysts projecting a windfall for those EMS providers able to secure an early foothold. Yet, while Japan’s electronics manufacturers have undertaken a tentative excursion into the EMS sector, the slew of multibillion-dollar outsourcing pacts that many envisioned a year ago has yet to materialise. (CMPnetAsia)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/6/2003
  Mobile Media International seeks Interns in the UK
Monday, January 6, 2003
  Summary Mobile Media International is looking for interns interested in testing new mobile entertainment services in the UK, such as ring tones, java games and screensavers. Candidates should be based in the UK with access to mobile Internet-enabled phones from either Orange, T-mobile, Vodafone, or o2. (MMJ)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/2/2003
  J-Phone, NTT DoCoMo 3G Users Have Video Phone Compatibility
Thursday, January 2, 2003
  Summary Users of the third-generation (3G) mobile phone services by J-Phone Co., Ltd. and NTT DoCoMo Inc. can use each other’s video phone function, it was learned.On Dec. 20, J-Phone began sales of new cell phone models, the "V-N701" by NEC Corp., featuring a video phone function as the first handset model for the new VGS service at some of the J-Phone direct shops and branch offices. NTT DoCoMo is currently carrying four models with a video phone function for its FOMA 3G mobile phone service: "P2101V" by Matsushita Communication Industrial Co., Ltd.; "D2101V" by Mitsubishi Electric Corp.; "SH2101V" by Sharp Corp.; and "T2101V" by Toshiba Corp. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 1/1/2003
  Toppan Printing Teams up with Two RFID Tag Vendors
Wednesday, January 1, 2003
  Summary Toppan Printing announced has reached agreements with NEC’s in-house venture, Telemidic, and the wireless technology company, AMPLET, to codevelop next-generation RFID tags and reader/writers, and the exclusive manufacture and marketing of the tags. Toppan Printing will begin producing and selling an RFID tag and a low-power, small, multifrequency reader/writer in commercial quantities in spring 2003. Toppan Printing predicts that the RFID market will grow from 23.5 billion yen ($195.8 mil) in fiscal 2002, to 50 billion yen ($416.7 mil) in fiscal 2003, and 300 billion yen ($2.50 bil) in fiscal 2005. The company is aiming to win a 30% share of the growing market. (JapanCorp.net)  
 
   
  Humanoid robots: companions or just costly toys?
Wednesday, January 1, 2003
  Summary While robots for household use remain potentially years away, some companies are seeing their robot projects taking off by focusing on business uses. Major security company Sohgo Security Services Co. said it is receiving a growing number of inquiries for its guard robot released in April. With an onboard camera, its human peers can survey areas via monitors, and the wheel-driven machine can travel on different floors by controlling elevators via a wireless LAN. (Japan Times)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/31/2002
  Global Chip Sales Growth Slows in Nov.
Tuesday, December 31, 2002
  Summary Growth in global chip sales slowed to 1.3 percent in November from October, well below average growth for the month, the semiconductor industry said on Monday, and investors are bracing for even weaker trading ahead. Excluding Japan, chip sales in the Asia Pacific region -- where most chips are manufactured -- rose 1.3 percent in November from October to $4.62 billion, slightly above the 1 percent growth in October. (Reuters)  
 
   
  Curbing Net dating sites
Tuesday, December 31, 2002
  Summary Clamp down hard on the Johns, not the Janes. Juvenile prostitution scandals stemming from online dating sites are rapidly increasing, and the National Police Agency (NPA) and NTT DoCoMo Inc. have responded by submitting proposals on how such activity could be regulated. (Asahi)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/30/2002
  Mobile firms to limit New Year use
Monday, December 30, 2002
  Summary To prevent New Year well wishers from overwhelming mobile phone networks, carriers will limit calls and e-mail from late on New Yearfs eve to early Jan. 1. While a surge in New Year mobile calls has caused problems in the past, the carriers especially fear a network breakdown this year due to the increased popularity of transmitting e-mail packed with graphic and video data. In past years, the usage peak has lasted from about 20 minutes before midnight to 20 minutes after. One of eight calls made by NTT DoCoMo Inc. subscribers, for example, will connect successfully. The preventive measures will begin shortly before midnight and last for about two hours. DoCoMo will limit calls for an hour around midnight and e-mail for two hours. KDDI Corp. will connect only one in five calls made by users of its au service. But J-Phone Co. will only block three in four calls, giving its customers the best chance of getting through. (Asahi.com)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/26/2002
  Japan’s Brother sings its way to record profits
Thursday, December 26, 2002
  Summary Yoshihiro Yasui has quietly stitched together a remarkable turnaround at Brother, transforming it from a dour producer of typewriters and sewing machines to one of the world’s top makers of office equipment. XING, which provides funky ringing tones for mobile phones plus a karaoke service, is still in its infancy, but it shows how far Brother has come since the two Yasui brothers -- the current boss’s uncless. XING boasts over six million users through NTT DoCoMo Inc’s popular i-mode service, making it Japan’s biggest entertainment portal site for mobiles. "Our mobile contents business is becoming a real profit driver this year," said Yasui. Brother is hoping that i-mode users in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands -- all of which got the service this year -- will join the chorus. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/24/2002
  Put Japan In Your Plan
Tuesday, December 24, 2002
  Summary Investing in U.S. stocks this year has been disappointing at best. But did you ever think you might have done better in Japan? So far this year, Japan’s second-largest telecom company, KDDI Corporation, has gained 55 percent. Such results have been surprising, to say the least. "Japan has done less badly than the U.S. this year - and that is a major, major event," said David Bowers, chief global investment strategist for Merrill Lynch. "Who would have thought, at the beginning of this year, that the Japanese stock market would outperform that of the U.S.?" (NYPost)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/20/2002
  Industry Group Established for RFID Tag Microchips
Friday, December 20, 2002
  Summary A new organization called the "Ubiquitous ID Center" has been established with a view to standardize technology for systems using wireless tags, also known as radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. Ken Sakamura (photo), professor, Interfaculty Initiative in Information studies, Graduate School of the University of Tokyo, heads the new center. It has as its main members NEC Corp., Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., and Hitachi Ltd. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  ’Nancy’ Aims to Become De Facto Standard for Video Data
Friday, December 20, 2002
  Summary Office Noa Inc. is the venture firm that developed "Nancy," a video data compression technology ideal for small devices. Nancy, which is employed in Sharp Corp.’s range of handheld Zaurus PDAs and in the Movie Sha-Mail service offered by J-Phone Co., Ltd., is attracting a lot of attention. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/17/2002
  Aplix updates JBlend for MIDP 2.0
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
  Summary Aplix, provider of the JBlend platform, has announced it is shipping a new version updated to support MIDP 2.0 to its ’early access’ customers. JBlend is used by several Japanese manufacturers and has shipped on some 12m devices, including the new Sharp GX10, flagship of Vodafone’s Live! service. (PMN.co.uk)  
 
   
  Mforma, Index in strategic alliance
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
  Summary Mforma, the mobile content provider which acquired rival nGame in September 2002, has announced a partnership with leading Japanese developer Index. The two companies will work to combine their content libraries and offer complimentary products to each others customers. Mforma and Index claim 60 operator customers. The partners will also share distribution licenses for branded content, enabling them to offer operators access to content provided by Paramount, Hallmark and Sony Pictures. (PMN.co.uk)  
 
   
  Dentsu, Toyota Tie Up to Distribute Ads to Terminals in Cars
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
  Summary Dentsu Inc. will begin joint operations with Toyota Motor Corp. in the coming fiscal year in the distribution of advertising to communications terminals installed in automobiles. The companies will develop advertising for use with on-board terminals compatible with Toyota’s G-Book information transmission services for automobiles. Test operation has already begun. Five companies, including Japan Energy Corp., McDonald’s Holdings Co., Ltd. and Three F Co., Ltd. are participating. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Wireless to Mars and 3G vs. PHS Speed Test
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
  Summary "They have high-speed network links back to planet Earth. The architecture diagram of Mars Rover looks just like the architecture diagram of any ol’ Earth-based, end-to-end enterprise app. And they’ve got this problem that the network link is very slow... it has high latency." Well of course. It covers a hundred million kilometers. Join us for WWJ’s special year-end program! (Wireless Watch Japan)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/16/2002
  Mobile Devices Enter Thinness Battle
Monday, December 16, 2002
  Summary The thinness of mobile devices is starting to catch consumers’ hearts. In the field of digital cameras and cell phones, many thin-style devices came out in the fall and winter of 2002, and these models occupy the top ranks in the best-seller charts. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/12/2002
  Japan’s Mobile Software Companies Expand Overseas
Thursday, December 12, 2002
  Summary This fall has seen a round of press announcements and new deals inked between Japanese mobile software companies and foreign wireless players, indicating a growing trend of traditionally domestic-focused companies heading overseas for sales and development. The Japanese partners’ technology falls into the mobile content, applications, or services categories, and these companies appear to have struck deals on the strength of experience earned at home since the start of Japan’s wireless Internet in 1999. (Japancorp.net)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/3/2002
  Mobile Marketing: Corporate Plans Don’t Make Sense
Tuesday, December 3, 2002
  Summary "Business mouths are watering at the opportunity for location-based marketing," says professor Philip Sidel of the International University of Japan. But it ain’t necessarily so, and Sidel states: "We believe that previous authors have adopted a much too simple framework for ’contextual marketing’." His exhaustive research offers surprising results to those who would sell via cell. (Wireless Watch Japan)  
 
   
  Cybird Launches ’Star Wars’ Web Site for Mobile Phones
Tuesday, December 3, 2002
  Summary Cybird Co., Ltd. announced that it has set up a Web site for distributing images related to the "Star Wars" series of science fiction films. The firm has acquired exclusive rights from Lucasfilm Ltd. to distribute the images to mobile phones in Japan. The site, Star Wars Mobile, has about 30 images from the films, including shots of characters such as Yoda, Anakin Skywalker and C-3PO, with plans to add 50 more within the year and 85 a month starting next year. (Asia Biztech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 12/2/2002
  Asia: Biggest Growth Is Yet to Come
Monday, December 2, 2002
  Summary Strong economic growth, coupled with greater consumer spending power, saw a positive growth in telecommunication services in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a new report by International Telecommunication Union. ITU Asia-Pacific Telecommunication Indicators, released by ITU to coincide with ITU Telecom Asia 2002, reports that as a global player the Asia-Pacific region distinguishes itself not only in size of its telecommunication market and growth in teledensity but also in technology deployment, and the innovative and flexible nature of its policy models. In 2001, the region emerged as the world’s largest telecommunication market, having added more than one new telephone user every second for the last decade. (Light Reading)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/29/2002
  Fixed-Line Carriers Can Set Rate for Fixed-to-Mobile Calls
Friday, November 29, 2002
  Summary Japan’s Minister of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (MPHPT) handed down its final decision on Nov. 22 concerning the right to set the rate for calls from fixed line to mobile phones. Heisei Denden Co., Ltd., a start-up, fixed-line carrier that plans to offer a fixed-to-mobile phone service at a rate lower than the standard level, had been negotiating for the right with a group of four mobile carriers, including NTT DoCoMo, which holds such rights as a matter of established practice. NTT DoCoMo Inc. and NTT Corp., which is the holding company of the NTT group, issued comments on this decision, saying it was regrettable that the ministry did not accept their claims. (Asia BizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/27/2002
  Cybird chief honored by Time magazine
Wednesday, November 27, 2002
  Summary Time magazine has picked Kazutomo Robert Hori, president and chief executive officer of Cybird Co., a mobile Internet-content provider in Tokyo, as one of the magazine’s 15 "Global Influentials" for 2002. Hori’s "revolutionary idea -- to charge subscription fees to cell phone users for online content -- helped hatch Japan’s mobile-Internet industry," said the Asian edition of the U.S. magazine, published Monday. He founded Cybird in 1998. The company now provides wireless content to users in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Cybird subscribers have jumped 55 percent to 7.3 million in the past six months. (Japan Times)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/22/2002
  Japan to examine mobile phone risk
Friday, November 22, 2002
  Summary Japan’s top four mobile phone companies, responding to growing concerns about mobile phone use on health, said on Thursday they had agreed to team up to study the possible biological effects of exposure to radio waves. Last year an official at a World Health Organisation said a link between mobile phone use and cancer could not be dismissed without further research. The firms -- market leader NTT DoCoMo Inc, J-Phone Corp, KDDI Corp and Tu-ka Cellular Tokyo Inc -- said that as a first step they would collaborate on a study to examine the effects of radio waves both at the cell and genetic levels. (ZDNet)  
 
   
  Yamaha, NEC back Linux start-up
Friday, November 22, 2002
  Summary MontaVista Software, a company specializing in use of Linux in embedded computing devices, has won an investment from Yahama and sold its software for use in a new video-recording computer. NEC has picked MontaVista’s Linux Professional Edition operating system for use in its AX10 home server, the company said Wednesday. The AX10 is designed to record video from television onto its hard drive. It can also be used to connect multiple PCs to each other as well as to consumer-electronics devices. The AX-10 comes with a remote control and also can be controlled from afar over a cell phone network with an NTT DoCoMo I-mode phone. (CNET)  
 
   
  Moving to 4G Wireless
Friday, November 22, 2002
  Summary In Japan, even cats and dogs will participate in mobile chic, according to NTT DoCoMo president and chief executive officer Keiji Tachikawa. To spur development for mobile devices and services, the company that birthed the multi-media mobile experience known as ’i-mode’ believes that anything moving -- planes, trains, automobiles, people or pets -- is fair game for expanding the communications market. And in a country that created the robotic dog -- Aibo -- it doesn’t seem so far-fetched that man’s best friend, if lost, would be found using a GPS device that tracks an RF chip implanted in its collar. ’The potential demand for mobile services is enormous if services could applied to objects rather than people,’ Tachikawa said. (3G.co.uk)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/17/2002
  Fujitsu/NMS Streaming Live Video Server for Mobile
Sunday, November 17, 2002
  Summary You can watch streaming video on cellys in Japan, and it isn’t often that tech providers flip back the cover to show how it works. In October, NTT DoCoMo launched their V-Live service on 3G, powered by Fujitsu and US-based NMS Communications. We show the details behind the magic, then drop in on Gartner Japan to get the skinny on the business of mobile streaming. It’s still early days, but this stuff really works! (Wireless Watch Japan)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/11/2002
  Japan cellphone market posts smallest ever rise
Monday, November 11, 2002
  Summary Japan’s saturated mobile phone market grew at its slowest pace on record in October, leaving the big three mobile firms to fight over a shrinking number of new subscribers. A telecom industry group said on Friday that mobile phone subscribers grew by 363,900 to 72,444,900 in October -- the smallest monthly increase since the group began compiling the monthly data in January 1996. The rise was just 65 percent of that seen in the same month a year ago. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/7/2002
  Mobile-Phone Suppliers Court China, Developing Countries
Thursday, November 7, 2002
  Summary Nov. 6, 2002. A group of the world’s leading mobile-equipment suppliers have agreed to limit the licensing fees they levy on third-generation wireless technology in a bid to persuade China and other developing countries to adopt the 3G standard being deployed in Europe, Thursday’s Wall Street Journal reported. It is critically important to Nokia and Ericsson, in particular, that the European version of 3G, known as WCDMA, or wideband code division multiple access, is widely deployed. "Ericsson and Nokia can afford to throw away some licensing revenues," said Mark Paxman, a wireless specialist with the PA Consulting Group in the U.K. "But they need (WCDMA) to succeed at almost any cost." (Dow Jones)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 11/2/2002
  Omron, Mobilecast Team Up in Open Telematics Portal Service
Saturday, November 2, 2002
  Summary Nov. 1, 2002. Omron Corp. and Mobilecast Telematics Inc. announced that they agreed to jointly develop a "telematics portal service."This comprises a package service of an in-vehicle information server and content distribution for those devices. Omron and Mobilecast plan to provide the packages to automobile makers and car navigation makers. According to the announcement of Oct. 22, this is different from in-vehicle network services from automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/29/2002
  NEC evaluating Canesta technology
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
  Summary Canesta Inc, has disclosed that NEC Corporation is evaluating Canesta’s electronic perception technology for applications in NEC’s broad product line. Initially, NEC will focus on using the Canesta Keyboard Perception Chipset, which implements the technology, in mobile and wireless devices. Electronic perception technology is the first low-cost, practical technology to enable everyday machines and computer devices to ’see’ by tracking nearby objects in three-dimensions in real time. Canesta’s electronic perception technology was launched last spring. Kazuhiko Kobayashi, Company Deputy President, NEC Solutions says, "In particular, it will be a key technology in making a ’Ubiquitous Computing’ environment a reality. This will mean that people will be able to use computers and access the Internet anytime, anywhere." (PMN)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/28/2002
  Philips, Mitsubishi, Others Promote Low-Cost, Low-Power ’ZigBee’ Wireless Standard
Monday, October 28, 2002
  Summary Invensys plc. of the United Kingdom, Mitsubishi Electric Corp. of Japan, Motorola Inc. of the United States, and Philips Semiconductors of the Netherlands announced they will work together to promote the ZigBee Alliance, an association to develop "ZigBee," a next-generation wireless communications standard. ZigBee is a standard for wireless connectivity that requires low power consumption and provides a transmission distance of tens of meters while keeping the data transmission speed at a low rate of 250kbps (maximum). This will be used for interior lighting control, air-conditioning control, gas meter reading, and other applications in which a high transmission speed is not required. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  Ehime/Center develops GPS cell phone tracking system
Monday, October 28, 2002
  Summary An industrial research center in Ehime Prefecture has developed a communication system in which people with cell phones will be able to detect the location of other cell phone users and designated global positioning system terminals. GPS-equipped mobile phones that can only determine where the user is located already are on the market. However, this will be the first system in Japan that allows users to check other people’s locations and direction of movement. The new system is expected to aid families, institutions and offices taking care of small children and elderly people who tend to wander, as well as help police chase suspects. (Daily Yomiuri)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/24/2002
  Bell begins to toll for one-ring scammers
Thursday, October 24, 2002
  Summary Major mobile phone companies, while not exactly rolling out the heavy artillery, are taking the battle to the perpetrators of so-called wan-giri, or one-ring, phone calls. The government is also considering joining the fray, armed with proposed legislation to regulate the scam, which involves companies-typically from the pornography industry-indiscriminately making calls to cell phones in rapid succession, then hanging up as soon as the service’s number has been recorded on the receiver’s phone. Mobile phone users who call back can face huge bills for ``using’’ the pornographic services if they fail to hang up quickly enough. (Asahi)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/23/2002
  Global mobile PC sales to outpace desktops - Intel
Wednesday, October 23, 2002
  Summary Intel Corp, the world’s number one chipmaker, said the global demand for mobile PCs such as laptops and notebooks will soon outpace that of desktops, with Japan and South Korea leading the change in Asia. Melissa McVicker, Intel’s Asia Pacific regional manager, said in some countries sales of mobile personal computers outnumbered sales of traditional desktop PCs, as customers sought convenience and smaller devices. "Countries like Japan and Korea have about 50 percent of their PC purchases in mobile PCs...and there are a few others in Asia that are moving up quickly." On Monday, California-based Intel said it would invest $150 million in companies developing high-speed wireless technology for PCs -- an area of growth it sees as crucial to accelerating revenue and profit in the coming years. (Reuters)  
 
   
  Cell Phones, Car Navigation Systems and More at WPC EXPO
Wednesday, October 23, 2002
  Summary "WPC EXPO 2002," which kicked off Oct. 16, showed how the event changed from a conventional "Personal Computer Exhibition" into a "Comprehensive Digital Display."Fujitsu Ltd. also had a massive display of items with the keyword, "home network." It showcased for reference a wireless-type display called the "Windows Powered Smart Display" that shows information stored in family computers. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/22/2002
  Global Lessons from Mobile Computing in Japan II
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
  Summary Some people have concluded that lessons from Japan’s weird, mutant keitai market -- with a single dominant carrier and mobs of cell-phone-obsessed gadgety commuters -- just don’t apply in normal places like North America and Europe. The inventor of Java says, "I think those people are deluding themselves. They don’t appreciate the extent to which people in North America [also] find that technological devices actually make a difference." (Wireless Watch Japan)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/21/2002
  Office Noa, Mitsui To Export Cell Phone Software
Monday, October 21, 2002
  Summary Tokyo software house Office Noa Inc. will team up with Mitsui & Co. to sell its system to transmit video and e-mail to foreign cell phone companies, sources familiar with the deal told The Nihon Keizai Shimbun’s Sunday edition. The partners have already struck a deal with a major Thai cell phone firm and intend to win more business in other Asian countries before launching a sales offensive in Europe. The system uses a video compression format called Nancy and is used in the J-Phone Group’s e-mail service with video. Nancy can compress short video messages lasting five seconds, voice and text messages into 15 kilobytes, before transmitting the data to another cell phone user. (Nikkei)  
 
   
  Matsushita Kotobuki Offers Storage for ’Nancy Codec’ Videos
Monday, October 21, 2002
  Summary Matsushita Kotobuki Electronics Industries Co., Ltd. is ready to start a service to store moving images taken by mobile-phone cameras on Web servers. In Japan, the company already has been providing a service to store still pictures on a server on the Web. Matsushita Kotobuki predicts the needs for the video storage service will increase. Adopting the "Nancy Codec" video data coding system originally developed by Office Noa Inc., Matsushita Kotobuki plans to start operations first in the Chinese cell-phone market. The Nancy Codec technology is due to be officially introduced to China Mobile Communications Corp., the largest mobile carrier in China. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
  NTT Develops 10Gbps Wireless System
Monday, October 21, 2002
  Summary NTT Science and Core Technology Laboratory Group has developed a wireless communications system using the 120GHz band. The system is capable of transmitting data at speeds of up to 10Gbps. There are many potential uses for such a high-speed wireless technology, such as for 10Gbps wireless Ethernet links or for radio links between different buildings where a high volume of data has to be sent to and fro. NTT also used optical communications technology to make the 120GHz system possible. At "NTT R&D Forum 2002," the system was shown transmitting non-compressed HDTV-quality (1.5Gbps) video data. In the laboratory, a 10m range for the system has been confirmed, but NTT is expecting to try and extend the range to 100m. (NEAsia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/15/2002
  NTT Data Tests Wireless IM Technology in Baseball Stadium
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
  Summary NTT Data Corp. recently conducted an experiment of its wireless instant messaging (IM) technology using mobile phones among spectators at a baseball stadium. The experiment was held during the professional baseball game between the Yokohama BayStars and the Yakult Swallows at Yokohama Stadium on Oct. 12. In the experimental wireless IM service, participants were provided with, for example, real-time information on the dugouts. Also, participants could predict which player would make the first hit of the game and get prizes, such as premium gifts and BayStars-brand products autographed by the team’s players. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
  Global Lessons from Mobile Computing in Japan
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
  Summary Java founder James Gosling points out that NTT DoCoMo has let anyone drop software into the network and get paid. But North American carriers don’t appear to have taken the hint. "[They] have this attitude that their networks need to be closed. Personally, I don’t buy it. They’re being very, very short-sighted." (Wireless Watch Japan)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/11/2002
  Fujitsu Laboratories Develops Mobile Phone-Controlled Robot
Friday, October 11, 2002
  Summary Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. has developed "MARON-1," a robot for home use that can be operated away from home with a mobile phone. Fujitsu Laboratories said it is the first commercialization of a mobile phone-operated robot for the home. MARON-1 is to be released at a price range of 150,000 yen to 200,000 yen in one year. It is intended to work as a robot that supports the daily life of a family, including surveillance of unattended rooms and operations of household electric appliances. It can shoot images and send them to a mobile phone with digital cameras embedded in its eyes in order to monitor unattended rooms and detect any intruders from outside. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/10/2002
  The Other i-modes
Thursday, October 10, 2002
  Summary Fifteen million happy non-DoCoMo users can’t all be wrong. The endless media coverage of Japan’s dominant wireless carrier, NTT DoCoMo, is not unjustified. The operator’s numbers are certainly spectacular, and DoCoMo leads the wireless market here with 36 million mobile subscribers (59 percent of the market, as of March 31), 23.2 million of which use DoCoMo’s wildly popular i-mode wireless Internet service (as of May 7), accounting for some 63 percent of all Japanese mobile surfers. The casual observer could be forgiven for concluding that wireless in Japan equates to DoCoMo and little else. But i-mode is not the only wireless service, and DoCoMo is not the only carrier. In fact, competitors J-Phone, KDDI, DDI Pocket, and Astel are racking up some pretty impressive numbers with zero help from DoCoMo, thank you very much. (Japan Inc.)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/9/2002
  NTT DoCoMo Leads Sep Net Cellphone Subscriber Additions
Wednesday, October 9, 2002
  Summary NTT DoCoMo Inc. acquired the most new cellphone subscribers in September, adding a net 239,000 users, according to a report from the Telecommunications Carriers Association. DoCoMo also had the largest share of net additions to Japan’s cellphone subscriber market in the month, grabbing a 52.1% share. KDDI Corp.’s "au" cellphone unit was in second place with a 26.7% share of net additions, or 122,600 new subscribers. Japan Telecom Holdings Co.’s J-Phone unit had a 21.8% share, or 100,200 new subscribers. (Dow Jones)  
 
   
  Remote controlled robot the ultimate home help
Wednesday, October 9, 2002
  Summary Japanese computing giant Fujitsu has announced the development of a multi-tasking robot for the home which can be controlled via mobile phone. The robot, named the Maron-1, is equipped with camera, remote control, surveillance equipment, telephone and timer. As such, Fujitsu predicts the robot might be used as a security guard for empty offices overnight or for observing patients in hospitals. Owners will be able to stay in touch with their robot via their mobile phone. At first only available to NTT DoCoMo customers, the Maron-1 will relay live footage from its camera to the screen of video-enabled phones. (Silicon.com)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/7/2002
  NEC to launch IP phone service in Dec
Monday, October 7, 2002
  Summary Japanese electronics giant NEC Corp is set to launch a low-cost Internet Protocol telephone service in December, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) said. Telecommunications carriers such as Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) group firms and KDDI Corp have already announced plans to start IP phone services, but this is the first time a Japanese electronics maker has done so. Company sources were quoted as saying the service would allow users to place calls anywhere in Japan for a standard rate of 8 yen to 9 yen (65 to 74 cents) for three minutes. Users will be able to access the service by simply attaching an adapter to ordinary phone terminals. NEC’s Internet phone service allows members of its Biglobe Net access service to make calls with a microphone attached to a personal computer, the Nikkei added. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 10/4/2002
  Japan’s Telecom Ministry Considers UWB Technology
Friday, October 4, 2002
  Summary The Information and Communication Technology Sub-Council submitted its findings on ultra wideband (UWB) in a report to Japan’s Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry. UWB is a new super-high-speed short-range wireless technology. If wireless frequencies are made available for UWB, says the report, then it should become possible for data to be transmitted at speeds of up to 100Mbps over distances of around ten meters. High-speed transmissions of video images are also possible using digital consumer appliances. (NE Asia Online)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/30/2002
  A billion cellphones? Deductive reasoning says not a chance
Monday, September 30, 2002
  Summary Japan is cited as a wireless utopia. With a large and wealthy population, always eager to buy new expensive phones and pay for services and features, it was the poster-child for every Nokia and Ericsson marketing executive. Not only would Japan provide a great early market for new products, but they were a leading indicator of global demand. It was, in fact, by looking at Japanese and Nordic cellphone adoption rates that we had estimates of cellphone unit sales that looked like the slopes of Mount Fuji. Some of the more chipper (and possibly drug-addled) wireless analysts suggested that unit shipments could reach one billion per year by 2006. Don’t those numbers seem a little high to you? (National Post)  
 
   
  Mobile Madness at the Fall Tokyo Game Show
Monday, September 30, 2002
  Summary We have lots of Java screen savers," said Taito Corporation at the DoCoMo booth; Seoul-based game maker GameVIL comes ashore to leverage made-in-Korea BREW expertise (KTF’s BREW allows 200KB downloads -- the standard for KDDI to beat?); and advice on creating successful Java services from PCCW: "Prepare a good environment for the developers." Daniel had a splitting headache, but this program rocks! (Wireless Watch Japan)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/25/2002
  Cellular Phones May Replace Wallets
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
  Summary Nowadays, a mobile phone and a wallet are items that most people carry, but in the near future the two may be integrated into a cellular phone handset. IYBank Co. Ltd., a unit of retailer Ito Yokado Co., Ltd., plans to provide the "Mobile Cash Card" (a tentative name) service by using a cellular phone instead of a cash card. Mobile Cash Card is a service that enables customers to use an IYBank ATM with NTT DoCoMo Inc.’s i-mode mobile phone "504i" series by loading the cash card data onto the cell phone. Customers push their password after transmitting the cash card data to an ATM through the infrared communication function. Then, they can settle their account in the same way as they do with a conventional cash card. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/20/2002
  Pioneer to Unveil New Car Navigation System in Mid-November
Friday, September 20, 2002
  Summary Pioneer Corp. announced plans to roll out in mid-November a car navigation system equipped with built-in communications functions that will enable it to download information like map updates from remote servers. The unit will employ KDDI Corp.’s CDMA2000 1x third-generation mobile phone service to send and receive data. In addition to updating the nationwide map data included with the system, users can also elect to receive information from local content providers on restaurants and movie theaters in their area. Pioneer plans to offer system packages that include the hardware and three years of basic data communications service for 36 monthly payments of 3,980 yen each plus six payments of 15,000 yen (US$122.80) each. The company targets production of 100,000 systems a year. (Asia Pulse)  
 
   
  Japan Expected to Help Promote IPv6: Microsoft VP Khaki
Friday, September 20, 2002
  Summary Microsoft Corp. is intent on strengthening the communication capabilities of its operating systems, a top executive said. Windows Messenger, for example, which provides voice over IP (VoIP) functionality, and a wireless LAN driver are incorporated in Windows XP and Windows CE.NET. One of the key applications of broadband is presence functionality. "Presence" is a feature that tells another computer what type of information device you can currently access and what you are currently doing. In the future, it should also be possible for presence information to be exchanged not only between computers, but among multiple devices including cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/19/2002
  GPS, Infrared Communications Added to Web Sites for Mobile Phones
Thursday, September 19, 2002
  Summary Since the second half of 2001, contents developers of cellular phone services have embarked on new types of Web sites for cell phones -- those that fully use GPS location information, infrared communications and voice. The most notable examples are Web sites taking advantage of new cell phone capabilities such as GPS and infrared radiation. In April 2002, for example, a new service to manage the behavior of employees on the road was introduced. The service was then followed by new mobile phone models with an infrared data communication capability to be used for membership certification by a rental video shop or as a remote controller by a karaoke shop. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/18/2002
  Sony to Develop Digital Cameras with ’FeliCa’ Wireless Comm
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
  Summary Sony Corp. plans to implement "FeliCa" non-contact IC card technology used in products such as "Suica," the IC railway/commuter ticket by East Japan Railway Co., in digital cameras and personal computers for use as a wireless communication interface. Choku Imazato, the alliance manager of Business Development Department, FeliCa Division, said, "We hope to have it commercialized around 2004." The communication speed of FeliCa is 211kbps at the moment, but theoretically it can communicate at 6Mbps, 30 times faster than the actual speed. So the company plans to embed FeliCa into PCs, digital cameras, and MP3 players, for example, and enable them to transfer image and voice data between different devices just by placing them close to each other. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/17/2002
  Japan, Cos To Develop Ultra Wideband System
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
  Summary The Ministry of Telecommunications plans to develop jointly with Sony Corp., Sharp Corp. and other companies a home-use ultra wideband (UWB) system that will enable large-capacity, wireless communications between personal computers and audiovisual equipment, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported. The ministry aims to come up with a commercially viable system in one to two years. The system, which can transmit a 10-minute video clip in about 10 seconds, can be used to network digital home appliances at home, the sources noted. The energy-efficient UWB system uses a frequency band of 1GHz or more. Though it can cover only a 10-meter radius, it transmits data over 10 times faster than a wireless local area network. The frequency band for the system overlaps that for existing wireless communications, but the system wont jam other types of wireless communications due to its low electricity consumption. (Nikkei)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/12/2002
  In Japan, phones make mischief
Thursday, September 12, 2002
  Summary Europe may be anticipating the arrival of the camera-equipped cell phone that lets people swap snapshots over the mobile network, but in Japan, photo-phone use has shown a nasty underbelly. As vast numbers of people become equipped with the ability to take shots anytime, anywhere, even anonymously, some people have used their photo phones for mischievous or even criminal intentions. The most widely reported misuse so far: surreptitious shooting up women’s skirts in such places as train stations. In one recent case, the perpetrator reportedly confessed to the police when he was arrested: "It was so easy to do it with a phone, so I did it light-heartedly." In the August issue of Radio Life, an edgy technology magazine, a feature explores which of the five latest camera phone models are suitable for the voyeuristic user. (International Herald Tribune)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/11/2002
  Keitai Sales: How Japanese and American Customers Differ
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
  Summary There’s been endless yakking about cultural differences between Japanese and US keitai users. Which features appeal to which culture? Is wireless Internet important for Americans? Those Japanese will pay for data, won’t they? Yada yada yada... Wireless Watch Japan gets to the heart of the matter with a visit to Cellular Plaza Mims, a unique cell phone shop serving large numbers of true-blue Americans here in Japan. (Wireless Watch Japan)  
 
   
  Number allocation to stir Japan IP phone demand
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
  Summary The planned allocation in Japan of telephone numbers to Internet protocol (IP) phones later this year is set to stir demand for the nascent technology, squeezing profits at conventional phone companies, analysts say. The Telecommunications Ministry is set to start taking telecoms carriers’ applications for IP phone numbers from late September with the aim of allocating them by the year-end, enabling users to receive calls from regular phones. "The impact will be substantial. It (the number allocation) will give IP phones a chance to become a real alternative to the current fixed-line phones," said Tsunehiro Tosa, senior researcher at Yano Research Institute. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/10/2002
  Sony, Philips to Define NFC: New Short-Range Wireless Tech
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
  Summary Sony Corp. and Philips Electronics announced their strategic cooperation to develop a specification for a new near field radio-frequency communication technology to be applied to digital consumer devices such as mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs) or others incorporating an NFC interface. The new wireless communication technology, called "Near Field Communication (NFC)," will operate at 13.56MHz, commonly used for wireless tags or contactless smart cards. Sony and Philips have already made their own technologies available in the contacless smart card business sector, called "Felica" and "Mifare," respectively. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/9/2002
  Short-Distance Wireless Communications Technology Bursts onto Market
Monday, September 9, 2002
  Summary Among the number of short-distance wireless technologies, IrDA is now the most accentuated in its penetration of the market. NTT DoCoMo sold about 1.5 million units of the 504i Series for two months since its sales launch. This momentum, if sustained, would lead to a prevalence of almost 10 million IrDA-based handsets within a year at a stretch. NTT DoCoMo plans to make this IrDA platform widely open to the public, so as to make the technology expand applications at one burst. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/6/2002
  Sony, Philips Develop Bluetooth-Like Tech
Friday, September 6, 2002
  Summary Sony and Philips have agreed to jointly work on "Near-Field Communication", a potential competitor to Bluetooth in the short-range personal area network (PAN) market. Wireless NFC technology will operate at 13.56 MHz and transmit data up to 212 Kbit/s, according to the two companies, at a distance of up to 20 centimeters. The technology is "fully compliant" with both Philips’ Mifare and the Sony FeliCa contactless smart card technologies. The first NFC products will be in place by 2004, a Sony spokesman said. (Extreme Tech)  
 
   
  Sony Sheds Light on Fully-Networked PlayStation 3
Friday, September 6, 2002
  Summary Sony, which has continued to paint convergence as the grail of the consumer electronics industry, has shed a bit of light on the future PlayStation 3 game console, a fully-networked device that could be capable of delivering as much processing power as a supercomputer by dividing tasks among networked machines. The game console is likely to hit the market in 2005. Sony unveiled a joint project with Philips Electronics to develop ultra short-range radio technology, similar to Bluetooth, which will allow electronics devices to communicate wirelessly. The PlayStation 3 is also likely to incorporate the CoCoon technology, under which Sony plans to equip televisions, PCs, game consoles and mobile devices with large hard drives, making them capable of digitally storing and playing back movies and music. (Internet.com)  
 
   
  More Companies Use E-mail via Mobile Phones for Campaigns
Friday, September 6, 2002
  Summary A common way to answer gift offering campaigns is to write your name, address and answers to questions on a post card and mail the card, but e-mail is also gaining momentum in this application. Currently, the e-mail capability of mobile phones is increasingly employed in such applications instead of post cards in Japan. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/5/2002
  Toyota, Honda to Compete in IT-Equipped Cars with Internet
Thursday, September 5, 2002
  Summary Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. will provide information services for drivers through the Internet, beginning this autumn. Toyota announced on Aug. 28 that it will initiate an information service called "G-BOOK," in which music, electronic-commerce and other contents are distributed to car-navigation systems, using the third-generation (3G) mobile-phone network (CDMA2000 1x standard) of KDDI Corp. Honda followed suit by revealing on Aug. 29 its "InterNavi Premium Club" service, in which it will distribute nationwide traffic information, news and other contents by connecting the mobile phone or PHS to the car-navigation systems. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 9/3/2002
  Honda Announces Interactive Information Network Service
Tuesday, September 3, 2002
  Summary Honda Motors will launch an interactive information network service in Japan this fall, the platform of which is comprised of a new voice-activated car navigation system with a wireless telecommunications technology. The new service, dubbed InterNavi Premium Club, will be commercialized with the release of new Accord models and offered free of charge for three year -- from the date of the car’s initial registration until the first mandatory vehicle inspection. Honda plans by 2004 to implement on most of its models, except mini-cars, the new system that will enable the new service. (JapanCorp.net)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/30/2002
  MMAC Sets Up UWB Work Group, Aiming to Set ARIB Standard
Friday, August 30, 2002
  Summary The Multimedia Mobile Access Communications Systems Promotion Council (MMAC) has established a new working group that will try to decide on standards for systems using ultra-wideband (UWB) wireless technology. MMACs working group is the first industry organization in Japan taking a serious look at UWB. UWB technology allows data to be transmitted over an extremely wide bandwidth of several GHz. And unlike conventional wireless technologies, UWB uses no carrier wave. Instead, it transmits in pulses that last only a few nanoseconds. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/29/2002
  Toyota Develops G-BOOK Information Network
Thursday, August 29, 2002
  Summary Toyota Motor Corp. has completed development of G-BOOK-a subscription information network designed to orderly and efficiently link people, cars and society anywhere, anytime. From October 1, G-BOOK will open its introduction site and limited services for PCs, PDAs and mobile phones. A new Toyota vehicle model featuring an on-board G-BOOK terminal will roll out later this fall. It is primarily aimed at providing interactive information services via vehicle-mounted wireless communication terminals. In the future, this new system will also make it possible to control home appliances and home security systems from onefs vehicle. (JapanCorp.net)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/28/2002
  Heisei Denden to Ask FTC to Examine Possible Monopoly of Operators
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
  Summary Heisei Denden Co., Ltd. will file a complaint with the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) in early September against mobile phone companies, claiming that the firms are violating the Anti-Monopoly Law by unilaterally setting the rate for calls from fixed phones to mobile phones, a Heisei Denden source disclosed recently. There is a widely-accepted custom in the telecommunications industry that the mobile phone companies set the rate for calls from fixed phones to mobile phones. "The business custom in which service providers cannot set the rate of their service would be against the Anti-Monopoly Law. Although we do not have any knowledge of the details of this case at the moment, the process of setting the rate for the fixed-to-mobile phone calls by the mobile phone companies may be contrary to the law," said an FTC official in a recent interview with Nikkei Communications. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
  Telecom Ministry to Name First Qualified User for IPv6
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
  Summary The Telecommunications Bureau of the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (MPHPT) said it has nominated the first qualified user under the tax support program for the next-generation Internet protocol version 6 (IPv6) promotion released April 1, 2002. The qualified party is Mitsubishi Electric Information Network by Digital Technology (MIND), which provides an Internet connection service called "MIND Internet." The ministry’s IPv6 support program will offer tax benefits for those telecom companies that introduce IPv6-ready routers on or after April 1, 2002. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/27/2002
  In Japan, cellphones used for surfing Web
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
  Summary ffDo you know what this is?ff my brother asked me. His voice was hushed. I leaned over to peek. Youfd have thought hefd found the Hope Diamond the way he cupped his hands. No, we were staring at a tiny pink cellphone, slightly scuffed. Not any cellphone, mind you, but a legendary Japanese i-mode phone with wireless Internet access. I came away impressed. But if mMode succeeds here, it may have to evolve differently from its i-mode forebear. As we say in the States, ``You ainft in Yokohama anymore.ff Knight Ridder News Service / The Miami Herald)  
 
   
  Japan mobiles seen likely target of computer viruses
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
  Summary Japanese mobile phone users have already had to contend with spam mail and technical glitches, but that could be nothing compared to the headaches they might get when computer hackers turn their attention to the wireless world. So far, no serious virus attacks have been reported in Japan, or anywhere else, but security firms in the sector say cellphones could become a target as they turn into sophisticated, high-tech devices like PCs, allowing users to send emails, surf the Internet and even shop online. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/18/2002
  Net phoning a hit in Japan
Sunday, August 18, 2002
  Summary For years, the high cost of phone calls was the biggest obstacle to Internet growth. These days, that curse is proving to be a bit of a blessing. As always-on broadband Internet service becomes more available, towering tariffs for traditional voice calls are encouraging a technology that has yet to make much headway with consumers elsewhere: voice over Internet. More than 300,000 people have signed up for the service from BB Technologies Corp., a subsidiary of the Tokyo-based Internet company Softbank Corp. That is easily more than three times the estimated U.S. consumer market. (IHT)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/16/2002
  Pia, NTT Com to Form Joint Company for Electronic Ticketing
Friday, August 16, 2002
  Summary Pia Corp. a leading ticket distributor company in Japan, and NTT Communications Corp. will set up a company called Pia Digital Lifeline Corp., which will develop and manage electronic tickets or electronic coupon services for mobile phones or IC cards. The new company will offer a full range of electronic ticket services from ticket reservations, settlement, and payments to admissions using a mobile phone or an IC card as well as electronic coupon services that issue electronic discount restaurant coupons for those registered for events or concerts. They will conduct a test for the electronic ticket service via i-mode mobile phones of NTT DoCoMo Inc. at the 2002 Tokyo International Film Festival starting from Oct. 26. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/13/2002
  PluggedIn: Camera-Phones Double as Photo Albums
Tuesday, August 13, 2002
  Summary If you sit down to lunch at a Tokyo restaurant and a business associate offers to show you pictures of her toddler, chances are she’ll reach not for an envelope of photo prints, but for a mobile phone with a built-in camera. Camera-phones may still be a novelty in Europe and are just starting to hit U.S. stores in time to be widely available for the big end-of-year holiday selling season. But in Japan, mobile phone companies have already ushered in their second full generation of products, many with features more resembling a portable photo album than a phone. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/12/2002
  Japan to let more firms offer mobile svcs
Monday, August 12, 2002
  Summary Japan’s Telecommunications Ministry plans to allow software and Internet service providers (ISPs) to launch mobile phone Net services in Japan from autumn 2003, according to daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun. Currently, only companies that have been assigned bandwidth by the government are allowed to operate a mobile phone network. The ministry will hammer out specifics regarding the plan during the current fiscal year ending in March. (Reuters)  
 
   
  Japan’s Telecom Ministry to Promote Net Home
Monday, August 12, 2002
  Summary Japan’s Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications has worked out a fundamental direction for Internet policy in order to further expand the market for Internet-enabled digital home electric appliances and mobile phones. Two focal points have been identified: promotion of the use of the next-generation Internet protocol version 6 (IPv6) and promotion of content distribution. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/11/2002
  Faith Buys France’s Digiplug For 1st European Unit
Sunday, August 11, 2002
  Summary Faith Inc., which provides downloadable mobile phone ringer melodies, announced Friday that it has purchased Digiplug SA, a Paris firm in the same business. Established in 1998, Digiplug is Faith’s first European subsidiary. Faith paid 20 million euros, or about 2.3 billion yen, for the 39-employee company. Through Digiplug, Faith will be able to develop operations in the European market for mobile phone ringer melodies. Ring tone operations in Europe are in a growth phase. Digiplug is expected to record sales of 2.3 billion yen for the fiscal year through December 2003 -- 3.7 times the year-earlier result. (Nikkei)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/9/2002
  Japan Govt to Drop Licence Requirements for Radio-Wave Cards
Friday, August 9, 2002
  Summary The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications plans in early September to do away with the requirement that firms that issue noncontact smart cards get a radio-wave license. The ministry hopes the move will promote use of smart cards and make it easier for companies, especially small firms, to issue the cards. The ministry has also decided to allocate certain bands of radio waves for wireless internet communications in order to prevent electronic interference from microwave ovens and other equipment. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/8/2002
  Japan’s Digital Content Market Increases 7.3 Pct. in 2001
Thursday, August 8, 2002
  Summary Japan’s market for digital content for 2001 expanded 7.3 percent from the previous year to 1,682.8 billion yen, according to an estimate made by the Digital Content Association of Japan (DCAJ). What sustained the growth of the market was video content, including DVD and content for mobile phones such as ring melodies for incoming calls and stand-by screens. Sales of content for mobile phones showed significant year-on-year growth, increasing by 184 percent to 115.4 billion yen. DCAJ estimates the digital content for mobile phones market in Japan for 2002, increasing 44.9 percent to 167.3 billion yen, over the previous year.(AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
  ’We Will Establish an Asian Standard for Wireless Business,’
Thursday, August 8, 2002
  Summary With the success of the mobile phone content-distribution market in Japan, Japanese firms have begun to spread their business into foreign markets. In July 2002, Kyocera Communication Systems Co., Ltd. (KCCS) started a mobile phone content-distribution business in Southeast Asia. Although the contents-distribution business for mobile phones in Japan has grown up to a market worth several hundreds of billions of yen, there is no guarantee that it also will be successful in Southeast Asian countries. An AsiaBizTech interview about the strategy of KCAP to Hiroshi Kitamura, senior managing director and senior general manager of KCCS. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
  Camera Phones Trim Japan Cellphone Shipment Slide
Thursday, August 8, 2002
  Summary Domestic shipments of Japanese mobile phones fell for a 13th straight month in June as mobile phone makers struggled to sell into a saturated market, but brisk demand for camera-phones narrowed the year-on-year decline. Handset shipments fell 6.5 percent from a year earlier to 4.09 million units, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA) said on Thursday. That marked an improvement from a 28.1 percent decline in May, helped by the hottest telecom trend since the rise of the mobile Internet -- photo phones. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/7/2002
  Japanese reunion service chooses LightSurf
Wednesday, August 7, 2002
  Summary Yubitoma, a Japanese reunion service, will use LightSurf’s eSwitch technology to deliver optimised images to mobile devices. Keitai YUBITOMA! will enable people in Japan to search out school friends and old acquaintances from their mobile handsets. It has been operational as a traditional web-site for some time, attracting around 2m users. LightSurf’s image transaction platform will allow the service to deliver pictures dynamically optimised for over 200 handsets on the DoCoMo, J-Phone and KDDI networks. (PMN.co.uk)  
 
   
  DoCoMo keeps top spot in Japan user growth in July
Wednesday, August 7, 2002
  Summary Japan’s top wireless carrier, NTT DoCoMo Inc secured the top spot in user growth in July for the second month in a row as a series of new camera phones lured users, industry data showed on Wednesday. But DoCoMo’s struggle in recruiting subscribers for its strategically important third-generation (3G) services continued, with such users totalling 127,400 at the end of July, less than 10 percent of its target of 1.38 million users by March. (Reuters)  
 
   
  IBM Japan’s Tokyo Research Lab Demonstrates Bluetooth Watch
Wednesday, August 7, 2002
  Summary IBM Japan Ltd.’s Tokyo Research Laboratory conducted a demonstration at a Tokyo seminar showing that as a wristwatch embedded with Bluetooth technology is brought close to a PC, the proximity will be detected. "Few demonstrations have been made in which Bluetooth was used for communication and for measuring distance information," said an official at IBM’s Tokyo Research Laboratory. The demonstration was conducted featuring "WatchPad," the Linux-type wristwatch. The IBM lab and Citizen Watch Co., Ltd. are cooperating to develop the wristwatch. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
  Japan Anger Rising at Telephone Scam Artists
Wednesday, August 7, 2002
  Summary Nasty names and more are being thrown at a new breed of telephone scammer that has been shocking polite Japanese society, snarling up networks and generally taking advantage of the nation’s love affair with mobile phones. After several major disruptions to networks in recent weeks, irritation at the increasingly common nuisance is mounting and telephone firms are making moves to cut the perpetrators off. (Reuters)  
 
   
  Matsushita Electronic Components Debuts Panel-Shaped Speaker
Wednesday, August 7, 2002
  Summary Matsushita Electronic Components and Matsushita Electronic Industrial Co., Ltd. have introduced panel-shaped speakers for PDAs.  Unconventionally, a panel to emit sound can be made from a thin film. When a panel is made from a film, even if the film touches some part, a change of sound could be averted since films are pliable and other parts would vibrate. Also, while the current mobile phones generate the received sound through little sound holes, the sound-receiving area can be extended to the whole screen using an LCD protection panel in this technology. Furthermore, as sound holes in a speaker will no longer be needed, dust- or water-proofing measures will not be necessary. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/6/2002
  Four Cellular Carriers Petition To Change Frequencies
Tuesday, August 6, 2002
  Summary NTT DoCoMo, KDDI, J-Phone, and TU-KA Cellular Tokyo petitioned the Minister of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications concerning the measures proposed by the government for changing analog frequencies in order to commercialize terrestrial digital broadcast service. The ministry announced July 19 that it now estimates the cost of adapting analog frequencies to commercial terrestrial digital broadcasting will be about 180 billion yen ($1.50 bil), which will be paid by the government by using radio usage fees as the source of revenue. (JapanCorp.Net)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/4/2002
  TI Ships Audio Power Amplifier Suitable for 3G Mobile Phones
Sunday, August 4, 2002
  Summary Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) of the United States announced volume shipments of a 1.1W mono filter-free class-D audio power amplifier, called TPA2005D1, for mobile phones and PDAs. Mobile phones with audio speakers now require such functions as personalized ringing bells, alarms and hands-free features. Thus, demands for power-efficient audio amplifier have been growing. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/2/2002
  NTT Comm to Launch Fixed-Rate PHS Data Services in October
Friday, August 2, 2002
  Summary NTT Communications Corp. plans to launch flat-rate PHS data communications services in October. Being a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), NTT Communications will be using DDI Pocket Inc.’s PHS network infrastructure. Data communications cards are provided under NTT Comm.’s own brand. Japan Communications Inc.’s b-mobile and Kyocera Communication Systems’s (KCCS’s) KWINS are also MVNOs using DDI Pocket’s network. They provide cheaper price plans than DDI Pocket’s own plan for Air H" flat-rate PHS data communications services (9,300 yen/month). (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 8/1/2002
  Mitsubishi’s Mobile Authentication System for Live Concerts
Thursday, August 1, 2002
  Summary Mitsubishi Corp. introduced "Mobile Symbol," its proprietary personal authentication system using a mobile phone, at the live concert of Rip Slyme, a Japanese musician group on July 26. It is capable of authentication by scanning two-dimensional bar codes displayed on the LCD screen of a mobile phone, using a special bar-code reader. This system is useful for preventing illegal copies or forgery of tickets. Those who wanted to attend the concert accessed a Web site for application from their Internet-capable mobile phone, following the instructions on the album. For those who were granted admission, an electronic bar code was sent to their phone instead of a ticket. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/29/2002
  Conversational content may create new revenue opportunities
Monday, July 29, 2002
  Summary Conversational content, Forrester Research asserts, explains why one content service flops while another becomes a hit. It takes the example of Japan where 4.4m consumers use J-phone’s sha-mail service to take pictures with their mobile phones and send them to friends, family, colleagues, or customers - enabling them to communicate through content they create themselves. Forrester believes that these services will proliferate in three waves: 1) An explosion of services exploiting social communication; 2) a series of self-expressive services; and 3) a trailing group of functional services - will gain traction after 2004. (Europemedia.net)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/26/2002
  We have lift-off! The solar broadband airplane
Friday, July 26, 2002
  Summary By 2005, people could be receiving mobile phone services, broadband connections and even digital TV from solar-powered airplanes. This week, US company SkyTower, a subsidiary of AeroVironment, had successfully performed a series of tests in Hawaii of its new technology, a communications airplane called Pathfinder-Plus. Working with NASA and the Japanese Ministry of Telecommunications, SkyTower said it had launched the plane, which climbed to 65,000 feet above Kauai, Hawaii, and transmitted several hours of 3G mobile voice, data and video service to the ground, where it was received on an NTT DoCoMo 3G handset. Data was transmitted at 384 kbps during the test. (The Register)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/25/2002
  Low-flying satellites provide 3G, broadband, HDTV
Thursday, July 25, 2002
  Summary SkyTower, whose unmanned aerial vehicle, called the Pathfinder Plus, made a startling demonstration recently. In cooperation with Japan’s Ministry of Telecommunications, SkyTower flew to 65,000 feet, maintained a geostationary position, and provided broadband signal to a city. SkyTower successfully provided a 24 Mbps connection using 1 watt of power with the Pathfinder Plus. Off-the-shelf NTT DoCoMo handsets were tested, and demonstrated video telephony. Wireless modems on laptops were tested at 384 Mbps speeds as well. The Pathfinder Plus also provided the world’s first digital high definition television (HDTV) broadcast transmission from the stratosphere. (Geek.com)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/23/2002
  Fuji Photo Film Develops Wireless Digital Camera
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
  Summary Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. has developed a digital camera equipped with Bluetooth. Pictures taken by a digital camera can be transmitted by radio to a computer or mobile telephone. The digital camera also can be remote-controlled by a computer or mobile telephone. Fujifilm demonstrated sending commands from a PC to the digital camera to take pictures every 30 seconds. The camera can also be connected with a mobile phone by dial-up connection, and pictures can be exchanged between digital cameras, whose wireless transmitting distance is said to be 20-30m. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
  LightSurf connects Japanese picture messaging networks
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
  Summary LightSurf, an imaging infrastructure company, has announced that its technology will be at the heart of KDDI’s inter-network picture messaging system. KDDI’s Team Factory service will enable KDDI subscribers to share digital photographs taken using the increasing number of camera phones with subscribers on the two other networks in Japan, NTT DoCoMo and J-Phone. KDDI subscribers can take a photograph and instantly notify their friends on any network by sending a text message which provides access to the image. (PMN.co.uk)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/18/2002
  Wireless gaming is big business
Thursday, July 18, 2002
  Summary New research suggests there are already 157 million wireless gamers worldwide. Datamonitor estimate that figure will treble to reach 500 million by 2006. They predict that will generate $17.5 billion in wireless gaming revenues. The research shows that Asia-Pacific currently has an 87% share of mobile gaming revenues. Japan accounts for the largest national population with an estimated 39 million gamers. (Ananova)  
 
   
  Qualcomm to Demo First Japan BREW System
Thursday, July 18, 2002
  Summary Qualcomm Japan Inc. will show an experimental demonstration of content distribution for mobile phones that leverage the Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW) technology, the first such demo in Japan. The trial will include 10 Japanese and foreign content distribution providers, will be conducted at Expo Comm Wirelss Japan 2002. In Japan, KDDI Corp. is planning to launch such a service for its "au" mobile phone service in the spring of 2003. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
  Bluetooth Connects Win Laptops and Phones
Thursday, July 18, 2002
  Summary Socket Communications Inc. is shipping a Windows notebook version of its Bluetooth Connection Kit for Nokia Bluetooth mobile phone customers. The Kit, which also works with Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones from Ericsson, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo and Sony, creates a cable-free connection using the phone as a modem, even when the phone is tucked away in a purse, backpack or briefcase. Multiple language support is included for English, German, French and Japanese. (AllNetDevices)  
 
   
  Mobile Game Market to Reach US$9.3 Billion by 2008
Thursday, July 18, 2002
  Summary The mobile game industry generated revenue totaling US$436.4 million in 2001 and will grow steadily to US$9.34 billion in 2008, according to a recent study by Frost & Sullivan. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/17/2002
  Camera Phones Conquer Japan, Take Aim at the World
Wednesday, July 17, 2002
  Summary In late 2000, when J-Phone launched the world’s first camera-equipped cellphones that could snap photos and send them wirelessly via e-mail, it set off Japan’s hottest telecoms trend since the rise of the mobile Internet. "Whether or not a handset has a camera attached is a major factor in purchasing decisions," said Hitoshi Hayakawa, analyst at ING. "Choosing camera phones over non-camera phones is becoming the leading trend in the industry." Miniature cameras are among the latest additions, and Japan’s photo-phone shipments are expected to nearly quadruple in the business year to next March to 23 million. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/15/2002
  NTT Com, Hitachi, Microsoft to Jointly Promote IPv6
Monday, July 15, 2002
  Summary NTT Communications, Hitachi, and Microsoft Japan will collaborate to promote use of next-generation Internet protocol IPv6 in order to pave the way for the development of ubiquitous communications environments. The partners will collaborate by focusing on three issues: the ability to use location-independent seamless communications services, peer-to-peer communications capability, and development of easy-to-configure highly-secure communications networks. (JapanCorp.Net)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/10/2002
  Japan Cellphone Subscriber Base +0.7% on Month in June
Wednesday, July 10, 2002
  Summary Japan’s cellphone market expanded 0.7% on month to 70.71 million subscribers in June reflecting steady but slow growth in one of the world’s largest mobile phone markets. In the mobile Internet services market, DoCoMo’s i-mode maintained its dominance with an increase of 505,000 to 33.49 million subscribers in June. Its net additions represented a 54.2% share of total net additions in the month. KDDI’s "EZweb" service attracted 256,800 new customers, giving it 10.51 million subscribers in all. KDDI’s net additions accounted for a 27.6% share in the market’s growth in the month. J-Phone’s "J-sky" service saw its new subscribers increase by 169,800 to 10.645 million, equivalent to a 18.2% share of the months new subscriptions. (Dow Jones)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/8/2002
  ANA to Launch Wireless Convenience Store Payment System
Monday, July 8, 2002
  Summary Next spring, All Nippon Airways (ANA) will introduce a new service that enables customers to pay for plane tickets at convenience stores using their mobile phones. The customer first connects to the airline’s wireless website, which displays a bar code after the customer inputs information including his or her reservation code. The customer receives a receipt after paying at the register, and there is no fee. He or she can receive the ticket by inputting codes into an automatic check-in machine at the airport. This service will be launched at outlets in the Sunkus and Circle K chains. (AsiaPulse/Nikkei)  
 
   
  DoCoMo regains top spot for mobile user growth in June
Monday, July 8, 2002
  Summary NTT DoCoMo regained the top spot in June for the number of new mobile phone subscribers in Japan after an offensive with new camera phones and other advanced handsets. In May, it fell behind rival KDDI Corp and J-Phone Corp in subscriber growth. But it returned to the top spot last month after releasing its first camera-capable handsets and the feature-packed 504 series, whose data transmission speed is three times faster than previous models. DoCoMo saw its customer numbers grow by 267,000 in June, compared to 131,400 new subscribers for KDDI’s "au" service. J-Phone, which is operated by Japan Telecom Co Ltd and its parent Vodafone Group, gained 124,100 new users. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/4/2002
  HI Aims for Improved Business Model with BREW Technology
Thursday, July 4, 2002
  Summary HI Corp. is developing Mascot Capsule Engine/Micro3D Edition, the 3D polygon graphic engine for BREW-compliant cellular phone handsets. "With our previous business model, we’ve been receiving license fees only from handset makers for the graphic engine as middleware," says Kazuo Kawabata, president of HI. With the BREW environment, the company can get license fees from developers as well. "This means that our revenue increases as more consumers buy the content and quite attractive to graphic engine developers like us," says Kawabata. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/3/2002
  Japanese Gov’t Says Japan Leads World in Mobile Internet
Wednesday, July 3, 2002
  Summary Japan leads the world in making the most of mobile phone technology, according to a government report released Tuesday. Though more advanced in digital telecom technology, Japan is second in terms of sheer numbers of Net users compared to the United States, with 55.9 million Japanese regularly surfing. Also, Japan ranks third in the world in having broadband Internet access with 3.9 million users, even though the number of people using broadband has more than quadrupled over the past twelve months, according to the government report. (Nando Times)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 7/2/2002
  Japan and the United States worlds apart on wireless
Tuesday, July 2, 2002
  Summary Japan’s use of wireless phones has frequently been dismissed as superficial fun, a phenomenon driven by teenage girls, Hello Kitty screensavers and an endless variety of ring tones. This commercial, however, tugs at something universal: the desire to be there when you can’t. Fundamentally, it could be argued, these wireless services improve the Japanese quality of life. (Seattle Times)  
 
   
  Internet Multifeed launches IPv6 exchange in Tokyo
Tuesday, July 2, 2002
  Summary Japanese Internet content distributor Internet Multifeed has begun a trial service of its new Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) Internet exchange point in Tokyo, Japan. IPv6 is a next-generation version of the IP system that forms the basic framework of communication on the Internet. It offers several advantages over the current IPv4, including a larger address space and better security. The access point, JPNAP6, began a trial service in June with connections to the networks of Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ) and NTT affiliates Open Computer Network (OCN) and NTT/Verio. (CW360)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/26/2002
  Magnetic wood promises wireless isolation
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
  Summary Scientists are using wood shields to foil noisy mobile phone users in theatres and restaurants. Engineers at Japan’s Iwate University coated wooden shields with minute magnetic particles. They claim the material absorbs 97% of microwave signals broadcast on standard phone frequencies. Research leader Hideo Oka says he chose wood because it’s cheap and can be seamlessly incorporated into interior design. (Ananova)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/25/2002
  Japan plans in-car satellite communications service
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
  Summary A consortium of Japanese electronics companies has drawn up plans for a satellite communications and navigation network for vehicles. The network would allow cars to send and video and voice data at high speed, and would make it possible to determine a vehicle’s location to within 10 centimetres. Electronics and automobile companies including Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Toshiba, NEC are reportedly cooperating on a plan to launch the new satellite service for vehicles. (NewScientist.com)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/24/2002
  One in Six Japanese Employees Lost Notebook PC, Mobile
Monday, June 24, 2002
  Summary Gartner Japan has found that 13.3 percent of company employees, or one in ten, have lost a mobile phone in 2001. Top management have a higher risk of leaking important corporate secrets than general employees, with 21.1 percent of the top management people such as company presidents and directors having lost company hardware. As for the rate of finding the lost items, 45.8 percent of mobile phones were found and returned. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/20/2002
  Look for Japan to narrow gap in IT race
Thursday, June 20, 2002
  Summary Can Japan catch up with the United States in information technology? The mere suggestion sounds preposterous. Yet we should recall that not too long ago the U.S. and Japan were both declaring Japan’s victory in the high-technology supremacy. We know what happened next: The U.S. mounted a comeback. Could Japan possibly turn the tables once again? In this sense, NTT’s mobile subsidiary, DoCoMo, presents a fascinating case study. (Japan Times)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/19/2002
  Plazmic to Develops Mobile Content Tool
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
  Summary Plazmic KK, a software platform solution company for mobile content providers, is distributing a free content creation software tool for NTT DoCoMo Inc.’s 503i or later series mobile phones. The software suit includes authoring tool environments, Beatware e-Picture Plazmic Edition and Plazmic Workshop Start, which enable users to easily create content for mobile phones like animated pictures, and Plazmic Media Engine, a mobile media rendering software that displays dynamic content on mobile devices. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/17/2002
  Hitachi, Taiyo Yuden to Promote Mobile Devices with Muchip
Monday, June 17, 2002
  Summary Hitachi and Taiyo Yuden Co., plan to start delivery of a platform to develop mobile devices that are equipped with a wireless tag (RFID tag) in addition to Bluetooth for short-range wireless communication. Their aim is to promote the development of mobile devices with a wireless tag called "Muchip" developed by Hitachi, and a Bluetooth transmitter/receiver. They expect such mobile devices to be widely used as terminals in handling commodities in distribution channels and to be used in developing cell phone terminals. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
  Studio Bullterrier, Others Launch Video Messaging Service
Monday, June 17, 2002
  Summary Studio Bullterrier Co., Seiko Instruments and Quad Elements Co., jointly started a video message distribution service, "AniCaJP," for mobile phones. When users want to send a video message, they send the data from their PC to the Web site. The data is then adjusted to be made suitable for being played with a cell phone terminal. At the same time, an e-mail is sent to the addressed person from the Web site to notify him/her to check the video message. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/14/2002
  Fujitsu may start wireless data service
Friday, June 14, 2002
  Summary Japan’s Fujitsu is considering starting mobile data services for business use by leasing bulk capacity from a telecoms carrier to tap into a potentially lucrative corporate mobile market. Fujitsu may offer such services to corporate users via DDI Pocket the network of a unit of Japan’s number-two telecom carrier, KDDI. As the mobile market for consumers is nearing saturation, mobile operators are targetting corporate users, a relatively untapped and potentially high-margin segment. (Reuters)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/13/2002
  Qualcomm Launches BREW2.0
Thursday, June 13, 2002
  Summary Qualcomm Inc. introduced a new version of Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW), BREW2.0. BREW is the company’s open, standard applications execution platform for wireless devices and is used by Japanese operator KDDI. Most of the BREW-enabled phone handsets currently sold in Korea, Japan and the United States are based on version 1.1. The new version 2.0 will be the first major enhancement. The software development kit (SDK) for BREW2.0 is available from Qualcomm’s Web site. The firm expects that BREW2.0-enabled mobile phones will be marketed around the end of 2002 or early 2003. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
  Mitsubishi Electric Hints on Creating 3D Image Content
Thursday, June 13, 2002
  Summary Mitsubishi Electric Corp. said it will offer information on how to create 3D i-Appli contents for the NTT DoCoMo’s D504i i-mode phones. The company is planning to reveal a way of programming 3D graphic images by using its Z3D Graphics Engine processor through its Web site. The engine will allow programmers to create 3D contents as readily as they do with 3D software for PCs. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/10/2002
  Scramble for World Cup Tickets Jam Phone Lines
Monday, June 10, 2002
  Summary JAWOC, Japan’s organizing committee for the World Cup, has admitted it is unable to come up with measures to prevent phones being jammed when people ring up to buy match tickets. JAWOC will accept calls to buy tickets for games the following day, but expects demand to be so high that phone lines will be jammed and nobody will be able to get through. "We think the problem is that people who haven’t realized tickets are sold out continue calling up." a JAWOC spokesman said. NTT DoCoMo Inc., one of Japan’s largest mobile phone company, says users should expect jams Sunday onward. (Mainichi Shimbun)  
 
   
  IBM Japan Offers Software to Remote-Control PCs Using Mobile
Monday, June 10, 2002
  Summary IBM Japan Ltd. launched a server software product called "Desktop On-Call Gateway Version 1.0" for remote control of PCs on networks using mobile phones. By showing certain part of screens from a PC on a cell phone’s display users can remotely control it with dial buttons. The software has functions to allow users to check PC screens from mobile phones (i-mode, EZweb, and J-Sky) as well as to remotely control PCs/PDAs. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
  Rakuten eyes full shopping via mobiles
Monday, June 10, 2002
  Summary Rakuten Inc., operator of Japan’s largest Internet shopping site, Rakuten Ichiba, plans to make its full online shopping service available on mobile phones by the end of the year. Currently, Rakuten has contracts with about 480 online shops to offer a total of about 20,000 items on mobile phones, but when the new system is launched, mobile phone users will be able to choose from about 1 million items offered by around 5,500 shops if the full online shopping service is made available. Rakuten started the service for mobile phones in September 2000. In May, trading volume on Rakuten Ichiba via mobile phones was 10 times greater than a year before. (Japan Times)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/7/2002
  Qualcomm to Make Efforts to Boost Asia’s Mobile Industry
Friday, June 7, 2002
  Summary Currently, the number of CDMA2000-based mobile-phone users totals nine million, while the number of the subscribers to the W-CDMA-based NTT DoCoMo FOMA service totals 100,000. In Asia, KFT launched the commercial service based on Qualcomm’s BREW platform in November 2001. The service is very popular in Korea, and the number of subscribers it already has exceeded 650,000. According to the company, ARPUs rose by 65 percent compared with that of its second-generation service. Japan-based KDDI Corp. released a new device in which the BREW applications are pre-installed in March and is focusing on the connectivity between BREW and the position location system. Its new handset using Qualcomm’s gpsOne technology is reportedly selling well. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/6/2002
  Japan’s Telecom Market: Mobile Telecom Grows
Thursday, June 6, 2002
  Summary Closing of accounts for 2001 have been complied by leading telecommunications operators. The telecommunications industry has seen a trend of rapid growth in the mobile communications market and a reduction in the fixed communications market for several years. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
  Pioneer Debuts Location-Information ASP for GPS Mobile Phone
Thursday, June 6, 2002
  Summary Pioneer Corp. announced the full start of an ASP service that displays the current location on a Web page by using a mobile phone with a GPS function. The service is provided through the map information site called NAVI-P.COM . This service targets the use by companies needing to confirm locations of their sales staff or corporate vehicles. The monthly fee will be 500 yen for one mobile phone and 5,000 yen for one PC using the ASP. The service is available only on GPS mobile phones of "au" provided by KDDI Corp. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
  Japan Ministry To Launch ’Ubiquitous Network’
Thursday, June 6, 2002
  Summary The Posts and Telecommunications Ministry will start a joint public-private project to develop a "ubiquitous network," which enables use of the Internet and digital broadcasting everywhere from airports/railway stations to workplaces and homes, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported. The ministry will establish an organization called "Ubiquitous Networking Forum" to develop the network. By fiscal 2005, the forum aims to develop an information terminal capable of simultaneously receiving wireless Internet, terrestrial digital broadcasting and PHS. The forum will also develop high-speed communications technology more than 1,000 times faster than the current one. The ministry predicts that the ubiquitous network will develop over Y80 trillion worth of new markets by 2010, including online shopping, music and game software distribution and related equipment. (Dow Jones)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/5/2002
  BREW takes root in US, Korea and Japan
Wednesday, June 5, 2002
  Summary Analysts think a new technology known as the BREW platform will help stir up the wireless market by providing for more entertaining games. The platform, developed and launched by Qualcomm Inc. a year ago, lays a software foundation that makes it easy for carriers to build game portfolios. The package also makes for flexible billing - customers can pay by the download, pay to play, or get monthly subscriptions. (Associated Press)  
 
   
  Hitachi to launch Internet appliance with mobile capability
Wednesday, June 5, 2002
  Summary Hitachi launched on a new model of the "FLORA-ie 55mi," a Linux-enabled Internet appliance. It features Java/Windows applications, which can be operated through customization, in addition to ongoing Linux applications. With a LCD panel employing a pen (or stylus) interaction technology, the new model is designed for business use, for example, as an information terminal at a station or a hotel. It allows for change in specifications (such as software, wireless LAN functions, and memory capacity) to match user’s needs.(AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 6/4/2002
  Gov’t to Revise Telecom Biz Law to Abolish Classifications
Tuesday, June 4, 2002
  Summary Japan’s Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications confirmed its policy to embark on a drastic revision of the Telecommunications Business Law at the next session of the ordinary Diet (Parliament) in 2003. The move is aimed at abolishing classifications of Type-I and Type-II telecommunications carriers based on whether or not the carriers have their own communications facilities. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
  ’Mobile Video’ Changing Industry Outlook
Tuesday, June 4, 2002
  Summary A new type of video medium has arrived on the scene. "Mobile video" services -- those designed for mobile phones and other portable devices like personal digital assistants (PDAs), and which allow users to both watch and record/distribute video data -- are set to change the face of the "video" industry. Mobile video is beginning to turn the tables. It is the first video medium that is centered on the viewer rather than the producer/distributor. And it is likely to revolutionize the way the whole video industry works. (AsiaBizTech)  
 
   
GENERAL News of 5/31/2002
  Alpine Unveils Car Navigation System Linked to Mobile
Friday, May 31, 2002
  Summary Alpine Electronics unveiled a car navigation system with an HDD co-developed with Aisin AW Co. The navigation systems allows a user to search and mark a destination by a mobile phone or PC, and then register it with a schedule to Alpine’s dedicated Web site. On the appointed date, the user receives a "notice e-mail" via a mobile phone, and the car navigation system retrieves infor