WW-137 -- Simple Stylish Phones Tapping into New Market Segments

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J@pan Inc presents the Wireless Watch Newsletter:

W I R E L E S S W A T C H

Commentary on Japan's Wireless World
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Wireless Watch Newsletter
Issue No. 137
Sunday December 12, 2004
TOKYO

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CONTENTS

@@ Viewpoint: Simple Stylish Phones Tapping into New Market Segments

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@@ Viewpoint: Simple Stylish Phones Tapping into New Market Segments

Over the past months we have seen an interesting trend in the Japanese
handset market: the introduction of simple, stylish and cheap
phones.

The most interesting device, from TU-KA, targets the elderly
market, a rapidly growing segment in a graying Japan. The
'TU-KA S' is only voice enabled -- no sexy features like e-mail, games,
Web browsing, or camera -- not even a small black-and white screen.
This no-nonsense Kyocera-made device features large buttons.
The user pushes the green button and then enters the number, and
presses the red button to finish the call. This simple functionality
reminds us of the wireless home phone. Battery-life
of this phone is 840 hours -- more than a month. TU-KA promotes the
2G-phone with the slogan 'no manual needed.'

There is a demand for these kinds of simple phones -- the 'TU-KA S'
is currently out-selling all other phones from Japan's smallest
carrier. The 'TU-KA S' was one 85-year-old man's first mobile phone.
"It is easy to make a call with this phone," he said. "The only thing
I miss is the small screen that shows the number I dial, just like
at home."

With only 85 million mobile subscriptions in a country of 127 million
people, there is still room for growth. Thus TU-KA made a smart move
in introducing this simple device. Its next version might be a little
more advanced through addition of extra functions, as recent user surveys
show the need for short-dial keys and an address book.

DoCoMo has also introduced simpler second-generation phones as it tries
to tap yet-undiscovered segments. The premini-series features miniature
69-gram phones that still offer i-mode and mail functionality. Last week
Panasonic's ProSolid model entered the market -- a slim
second-generation phone without a camera or Felica's mobile wallet
chip. These models are cheaper than the advanced multimedia
FOMA 901i-series.

More cute models will follow from DoCoMo: a stylish pink-colored model
for the stylish young woman. The cover of this phone is
soft and comes in pink and blue. A dual portable music
device/mobile camera-phone will be unveiled this week. Music can be
downloaded from a PC through the USB-port using special 'Beat Jam'
software. The music can be stored on a 64MB memory stick that is good
for a maximum of two hours of music.

Over the next weeks we will cover the latest moves in 3G from Vodafone,
KDDI and DoCoMo -- stay tuned.

-- Arjen van Blokland

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STAFF
Written by Arjen van Blokland; Edited by Burritt Sabin
(editors@japaninc.com)

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