Wireless Lights Up -- Table

Back to Contents of Issue: November 2000

by Daniel Scuka


Recently, the wireless industry's big players have been zeroing in on Japan, drawn by the booming usage in mobile phones, and especially mobile Internet access services. Here's a sampling of initiatives announced in the past few months:

Player(s)DetailsJ@pan Inc Rating
DoCoMo, Mitsui, and othersNew joint venture Location Agent Inc. to offer position-locating services using PHS and GPS satellites. No date announced.Good move. Location-based services are expected to heat up; many new cars already come equipped with GPS navigation systems. Great way to track little Akachan or doggie.
IntelNew mobile phone strategy for Japan announced at Intel Developer Forum 2000 Fall Japan. Smart. Intel has also opened the Japan Competence Center to support R&D for mobile applications. You can't tell us they don't want to boost sales of their StrongARM mobile processor.
Sanwa BankOnline securities trading service for EZWeb started September 1999. Ho-Hum Trend Follower. Nomura, Daiwa, Nikko, DLJdirect, and others already offer same on i-mode. How far can a commuting salaryman's portfolio drop before the next station?
IBM Japan, various PHS carriersReleased wireless IBM Workpad (Palm III clone) in July. Unfathomably, sold only to corporate clients -- too bad for retail surfers! This is a nice unit too; 32 Kbps and two megs of RAM. Oh well.
Palm Computing, DoCoMoPalm to offer wireless-enabled PDA starting in 2001. Bears watching. First retail PDA with integrated wireless to compete against cellphones. For once, the Japanese import a cool gadget.
Walt Disney Internet GroupCharacter, music, and Disney info services for i-mode started in August. Kitsch, cute, or just late? Subway ads command "Click on Mickey's ears." Comes two years after i-mode first talked to Disney.
Sony, DoCoMoWill launch entertainment sites accessible from both i-mode and PS2 terminals this year.Wow. Initially character-oriented, but music, film, and game content to come in 2001.
BroadVision, H&Q, Access Co., ItochuNew joint venture B-Mobile to deliver B2B m-commerce with an Asian flavor.All B2B, all the time. Browser-based fulfillment, inventorying, and order tracking via keitai and PDA using BroadVision's One-to-One Enterprise tech platform. B2B finally comes to the small screen.
RecruitIts "Mobile One-One Navigator" ASP business targeting bargain-hunting wireless Web users started in June. We're underwhelmed. Recruit expects the service to be used by retailers hoping to notify users of scheduled bargains. We've seen better ideas from five-person startups with one-fifth the budget.
CitiGroup, NEC, KDDITrusted third-party payment settlement system to start in December. Trés cool. Use your cellphone to make on and offline purchases at participating merchants. This should disintermediate a few Web dinosaurs.
Astel mobile carrier groupNew Mozio Net access service for its 957,900 PHS subscribers by end of 2000. More microbrowser sales for Access! But DoCoMo is signing up this many subscribers every couple of weeks. Still, you've got to admire the spunk.
Hitachi, SanyoPushing Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) to adopt their UDAC-MB technology for mobile download protection. SDMI = RIAA? Music will be mobile's killer app. We'll bless anything that respects artists' rights while busting the major labels' stultifying control.

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