News Bites

Back to Contents of Issue: August 2000

Cell Phone and Other Miscellany

  • NTT DoCoMo aims to forge global alliances with content providers. As part of its plan to expand its wireless and multimedia business worldwide, the company is considering taking equity stakes in mainly US companies of up to 50 percent or so and providing or acquiring business models. Among the assets it is considering providing are its i-mode expertise and its ring melodies and character-related services. Because of the nature of the content business, NTT DoCoMo is keen on taking large equity stakes that give it substantial control over management.

  • Pro Tect has developed a system for using wireless phones to pay for vending machine purchases. The company plans to work with wireless-phone service providers and beverage producers to commercialize the system this fall. Vending machines will be equipped with special control devices. Users access a payment system center with their wireless phones and enter their PIN number and the ID number of the vending machine. The user then connects the wireless phone to the vending machine to verify identification, and selects a product from the machine. The purchase is added to the user's wireless phone bill.

  • The Association of Musical Electronics Industries plans to draft MIDI guidelines by the fall that it will then push wireless phone makers and music producers to adopt. AMEI has established a Mobile MIDI Working Group to draft the guidelines. Currently, there are various MIDI formats for tunes that play when wireless phones ring, and the creation of a unified standard is expected to simplify content development.

  • NTT Communications plans to provide a service for sending faxes to email inboxes. Slated to begin within the year, the new service, dubbed F Mail, will use the NTT IP (Internet protocol) network to connect facsimile machines with PCs and other email terminals to enable interactive communication. The handwritten text to be faxed will be converted to an image file and sent as an email attachment.

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