Friday, December 22, 2006
Paris Hilton recruited for Motorola's publicity splurge
Well it appears DoCoMo and Motorola are hedging their bets just in case Mr Beckham doesn't shift enough RAZRs. According to today's news they've drafted in Paris Hilton to lend a hand. On top of that, they’ve got a “Moto Bus” patrolling the streets of Harajuku adding to the buzz.
It's Motorola's first real foray into the Japanese handset market so it seems they're leaving no expense spared in creating a good first impression. It seems to be having some effect – the black M702iS was DoCoMo’s second biggest seller last week and it was only launched on Thursday. But it’s not all good news as the Silver and Pink versions didn’t even make the top 20.
I just hope the handsets can match the hype… I’ve already seen blogs like this one which laments the handsets “fatal flaw” (the fact it can’t read QR codes). Still, the M702iG launches today and that can read QR codes, so perhaps that will fare better…
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Sanyo let consumers get creative with their phones
Today Sanyo announced a photo competition for its mobile customers. The competition itself is of little interest (the best picture wins some holiday vouchers), but it introduced be to “Pasha-Moji” – an interesting feature of recent Sanyo phones that allows you to decorate your photos with handmade designs.
“Print Club” stickers are hugely popular with Japanese youth - many teens carry a Print Club book filled with pictures of their friends and trading the stickers is a social activity.
Most handsets in Japan have a collection of icons and decorations you can use to recreate the Print Club experience with your cameraphone. Sanyo’s Pasha-Moji takes the customisation theme a bit further and allows you to design hand-drawn decorations for your photos.
First, you take a picture of your subject. Next you draw your decorations in black ink on white paper and take a picture of that. You can then recolour, resize and reposition your handmade decorations to your heart’s content and your work of art is complete.
Friday, December 15, 2006
The Mobile Payments Café: Barclays Oyser Card - ePaymentNews
Can Beckham sell the RAZR in Japan?
Apparently Motorola is using Japanese schoolgirl favourite David Beckham to promote the recent launch of the RAZR (or M702iS as it's known there) in Japan.
Hopefully the Beckham factor will be enough to persuade Japanese consumers to part with their hard-earned cash for what is essentially a 2-year old phone with the slight oversight that its camera cannot read QR codes (pretty much a must-have feature these days!) ;)
DoCoMo to broadcast rocket launch
Tomorrow, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is planning the ninth launch of their H-IIA rocket carrying an engineering test satellite. The local DoCoMo branch have announced that they will be relaying the launch live using FOMA’s 3G video call service.
All being well, the launch should be shown live at 3:32pm local time.
Japanese site caters for English speakers' craving for Kirk voice ringtones
The Japanese mobile internet can be a confusing place for foreigners, what with all the crazy mobile services such as lbs hello kitty, koala-biscuit themed mobile communities, games with makeup-wielding superheros and the like. Luckily au and Axel Mark have launched a mobile site specifically targeted to English speakers living in Japan – “American Direct”.
Instead of translated Japanese content, “American Direct” has everything English speakers want from a mobile site which, in their opinion is ringtones from Destiny’s Child and Hollywood soundtracks and voice ringtones from Star Trek’s William Shatner and major league baseball players. I think they’re onto something here – if a mobile site doesn’t contain Beyoncé and Captain Kirk, I’m just not interested ;)
The site has standard and premium subscription options at 315 yen (£1.50) and 525 yen (£2.50) per month respectively.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Order takeaway over mobile TV
Falling advertising revenue is a problem facing TV stations all around the world. Chukyo TV in Japan is hoping to use mobile TV to develop new business models tap into new revenue streams.
Chukyo TV is teaming up with Yumenomatchi – a company running online and mobile fast food delivery services to allow consumers to order food via mobile TV. As mobile TV in Japan uses the Oneseg digital terrestrial broadcast system, the service exploits the possibility to send data as part of the TV signal.
There aren’t any real differences between the mobile TV and mobile internet versions of the service, but anyone from the UK who is familiar with the M&S “food porn” ads will bear witness to TV’s power to make you hungry. You will be able to order your takeaway sushi directly from phone from the 18th of December in selected regions in Japan.
Only in Japan #1
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Mobile community gains 100,000 members in 3 days!
The mobile community news just keeps rolling in from Japan. Back at the end of November, I posted about EZGree – the mobile version of the PC community site Gree which has 25.3 million members in Japan. EZGree got 100,000 mobile signups in the space of a week.
Gree is the third largest PC-based community in Japan with around 400,000 members. The largest is Mixi with 5.2 million members. Mixi has been running a mobile version of its site for a while, but as of the 4th December it improved the mobile version and for the first time allowed members to join from their mobile. In three days, the site recorded 100,000 mobile signups.
Whereas registration for EZGree is free for all, Mixi operates a strict invite-only policy, which makes this number even more remarkable.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Weird and wonderful prototypes at ITU Telecom World
This week is the ITU Telecom World 2006 Asiaworld-Expo in Hong Kong. Several Japanese companies have descended on the event and have been showing off some pretty fancy prototypes.
NEC has a ‘back-to-front clamshell’ on display. Named the ‘Latticekey Interface’, when closed the handset’s keyboard and main display both face outwards.
NEC is also showing off a small handset with no keyboard – only a touch screen.
Not to be done by NEC, Mitsubishi has been letting visitors try a phone which is equipped with two touch screens.
Images © Impress Watch