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NTT Docomo to give discounted Int’l Roaming

International roaming used to be a novelty when it was enabled a few years back. It used to be pretty expensive and it is still today to have a phone package that roams worldwide. NTT Docomo is giving a discount on their Videophone/packet International Roaming service, which means you can have video calls internationally for a significantly reduced price!

TOKYO, JAPAN, June 21, 2007 — NTT DoCoMo, Inc. and its eight regional subsidiaries today announced that they will offer WORLD WING™ international roaming subscribers a 20% discount on videophone and packet communications over the networks of Conexus Mobile Alliance partners from July 1 to September 30, 2007.

This will be DoCoMo’s first discount plan for roaming services. Other alliance members are also launching roaming discount plans for their respective customers in Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

The discount applies to all outgoing videophone calls, regardless of destination, but not to incoming videophone calls. Videophone services are not yet available in India and Macau at this time.

The discount does not apply to the minimum packet-communications fee of 50 yen for the first 50 packets.

The Conexus Mobile Alliance was formed in April 2006 to mutually enhance international roaming services not only in its members’ respective countries/territories, but the broader Asia-Pacific region as well. The current members are Far EasTone Telecommunications Co., Ltd. (Taiwan); Hutchison Essar Limited (India); Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Limited (Hong Kong and Macau); KT Freetel Co., Ltd. (South Korea); PT Indosat Tbk (Indonesia); Smart Communications, Inc.(Philippines); StarHub Ltd (Singapore); and NTT DoCoMo, Inc. (Japan). Backed by the strength of the alliance, DoCoMo will continue to develop services that offer customers increased convenience and flexibility for international roaming.


Posted by The Expedited Writer in Keitai News, NTT DoCoMo, Services | No Comments »


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JHP Rentals – renting a cellphone in Japan

If you’re going to be in Japan for a long business trip, it’s probably not as cost effective to get a NEW phone with a new plan all together, which is why i think the services offered b by Japan Handy Phone (JHP) is a pretty good one. You can rent your own cellphone with a suitable while you stay in Japan so you will always be connected to your business, family and friends.

Their rates goes according to the different plans you pick and the amount of time you need the phone for. So prices range from 3000Yen to 21,000 Yen. Just pick.

Check out their website here…

Posted by The Expedited Writer in Keitai, Services | No Comments »


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Disney Japan Goes Wireless

Walt Disney Japan is stepping into the mobile world with a social network. They made the announcement for the public launch of Wonder Days, a cartoon that’s of Disney’s production. The announcement made is in Japanese only though.

Click on this link to see the video of the Social Network that Disney has to offer HERE.

Posted by The Expedited Writer in Keitai, Keitai News, Services | 1 Comment »


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Mobile Novels

I remember about 10 years ago, word was getting out on how Japan was getting into electronic books. They looked like PDAs – which I guess they were – and were designed to be held and operated one-handed while the other hand gripped onto ropes and rails while commuting to work. Since then though, mobile phone have exploded in popularity. It’s highly unusual to not have a mobile or keitai, especially if you live in the major cities.

The increased use of mobile phoes is also said to be related to the downfall of manga in Japan. Shounen Jump, the manga magazine with the highest circulation, sells about a quarter now of what it used to sell 10 years ago. Manga companies are trying to wrench some of that readership back by making mobile phone manga. That hasn’t quite hit off yet. But in the meantime, there’s mobile novels.

Mobile novels are usually between 200-500 pages, and when you consider that there’s about 500 Japanese caracters per day, that’s a lot of characters to plug into your keitai. Lisa Katayama at Wired, however, met one that claims she can type into her mobile phone faster than she can type at a keyboard.

These authors are usually anonymous but can sell thousands of copies of their novels. I don’t think it’s something the authors will be able to live off anytime soon, but with the rise in popularity of mobile novels, new technology is set to be released that will allow for picture and sound integration. Did you hear that? That was the sound of hundreds of pornographers salivating at the prospect of yet another medium to invade.


Read Lisa’s article on the mobile novel phenomenon here.

Posted by Chidade in Keitai, Services | No Comments »


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English Disaster Information on Mobiles in Fukuoka

I’ve been told that Fukuoka is the best city to live in Japan. I can’t judge, since I’ve only spent one night there, but I do like this recent move by Fukuoka city government:

Fukuoka Prefecture will start providing disaster information in English to residents with foreign nationalities via cell phone emails while informing their families abroad of their safety also through email, prefectural government officials said Thursday (from Japan Today).

The amount of English mobile content in Japan is very, very limited. I only know of Vodafone Live being provided in English, and even then, it’s not all the links and categories. If you want to download ringtones, games or pictures, you’ll need Japanese knowledge. It’s very frustrating.

Anyone out there know of other English mobile content services in Japan? Leave a comment!

Posted by Chidade in Services, Vodafone/Softbank | No Comments »


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China and Japan to get together and develop 4G

China and Japan have decided to develop together the next generation of mobile telephony, 4G. It does make sense since Japan was the first country to launch 3G, and China has the largest mobile market in the world. They said they “expect to sign an agreement regarding co-operation in research and development, with a view to creating a standard to be used worldwide”. Fine, but where is South Korea? Anyone knows??

According to the AFP, Samsung, which is one of the key members of the 4G Forum — a vendor coalition conducting 4G R&D — said recently that “he spectrum of R&D could be almost anything, given that the technical specifics of 4G have yet to be firmed up”. They added that “currently, the debate is around the uses for 4G. We will then base the technical specifications around those uses”, he said. So basically, it is Japan, China, and Samsung? Sorry I just don’t get it…

Anyway, it’s today that the agreement should be signed in Tokyo between state representatives.


Posted by Yves in Keitai, Services | No Comments »


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The Meaning of Keitai

Over on the Japan Media Review website, Kenji Kohiyama, Professor at the Graduate School of Media and Governance at Keio University, examines the “Meaning” and the “Future” of Keitai. Author of the book Keitai, he seeks to understand the culture of mobile phones in Japan, their multimedia use and their societal impact. Not really “fun” per se, but an interesting read if you are into mobile phones and Japan (otherwise why would you be reading this anyway?).

The keitai (mobile phone) is like a toy box with lots of different media stuffed inside where one can pull out the one of your choice as if from a magician’s hat.

In this book I hope to look at the meaning of these and their interest they bring and to gain some understanding on these issues. For this reason, I will take up each of the various media that are in a keitai, the very thing that our country is leading the world in promoting, and investigate their purpose and potential.

The Meaning of Keitai
The Future of Keitai


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PR -

FOMA® users will be able to exchange text, images, video and music, while mova® users will be able to exchange text, as well as receive, but not send, images and video. Outgoing messages will be converted to MMS format, and incoming messages to i-mode.

And ofcourse, as difficult as it is to send an international SMS, MMS are similar –

Senders must enter the country code, telephone number and The charge is 100 yen for a message under 30 KB and 200 yen for a message of 30 KB or more, plus packet charges based on the file size. Recipients only need to pay packet charges.

So it’s not hugely expensive, but you won’t want to be sending any 4 Megapixel D901iS pictures from it ^^;;

Posted by Deluxe in NTT DoCoMo, Services | No Comments »


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QR codes are so 2004. Get ready for ColorCode

Earlier this week, I went to Mobile Monday where I saw a presentation of a new (well, at least in Japan) technology, and even if heard on that topic before, I must admit it was pretty impressive. The technology is called ColorCode and the company behind it is ColorZip. Originally developped in South Korea, it has started there earlier than in Japan and it is apparently successful and gets encouraging results so far. Japan is next. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see Europe and the US following very soon.

QR codes are so 2004. Get ready for ColorCodeA brief history first. Everyone knows about “1D” barcodes. Black and white lines easily scanned and containing a small string of information. But because those codes were only capable of storing a maximum of approximately 20 digits, Denso Wave Incorporated came up with QR codes, which is pretty much the same thing but with squares instead of lines, and that’s how the codes became 2-dimensional.QR codes are so 2004. Get ready for ColorCodeOn the right is a QR code that contains the URL of this website. It is nicer, contains more information in a smaller space, but it is still limited in content capacity because the more info you cram into the code, the smaller the points get, which will affect the readability by the scanner. The size limit is pretty comfortable, over 7,000 characters if it is digits only, half that for alphanumeric content. But still, it’s limited.

QR codes are so 2004. Get ready for ColorCodeTo remove this limitation in size, comes the next generation of code, where the information is not in the barcode itself anymore, but on a remote server accessible through the code. In other words, you scan a code with your mobile phone, it connects to a server and downloads information, then presents it to you. The little code on the left could “contain” an URL, a ringtone, or an mp3 for instance.

The code contains much less information because all it needs is something similar to a domain name (or a keyword). The content on the server can therefore be much bigger, and does not need to be text anymore! ColorCode will allow you to download anything and everything, from text to music, to video, to drinks in vending machines.

And because the code contains less information, the squares are bigger, and therefore readable from further away, and faster. In fact, Colorzip announced we will start seeing this technology being used on TV (shopping channels I guess) as early as this summer.

And if you think it would be overkill for situations when a simple QR code would just do, one of the beauty of being color based is that the code is not dependant of the shape of the squares. This means “size and shape can be customized, even in the shape of a QR code, therefore allowing you to get the best of both worlds. In effect, in instance where ColorCode does not replace QR code, it will simply incorporate it and become the next standard. See samples below, and expect to see a lot of these codes very soon.

QR codes are so 2004. Get ready for ColorCode

(Note: Neither 3Yen nor me personally are affiliated with ColorZip. We might cover it in an advertorial somewhere on the network later on, but this article was written because I believe this technology is very cool and opens many opportunities.)

Posted by Yves in Services | 6 Comments »


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College uses mobile phones to monitor attendance

Aomori University has started using mobile phones in what it calls a system to thwart attendance record cheats, reports the Mainichi Daily News.

Students attending classes must use a mobile phone to e-mail a college administrators’s site a number their teacher will show them as the lesson begins.
Administrators then randomly select five to 10 students who have claimed attendance and send them a reply.
Those receiving the reply must stand up and give their name in the classroom. The random selection aims to prevent students from helping absentee pals skirt the attendance requirement.

Found on Engadget, via Smartmobs

Posted by Yves in Services | No Comments »


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