3G Phones in Japan Get Even More Interesting

Twenty four hours is a long time in the Japanese mobile phone market, vividly demonstrated by the three interesting developments I’m going to outline below.

Firstly, KDDI, the second largest mobile operator in Japan will be distributing the new Casio W21CA handset with Opera as its default web browser – this makes Opera the first full web browser to be deployed on the 3G CDMA network in Japan.

Toshio Maki, the vice president and general manager of KDDI’s Service and Product Planning Divisionsaid in a statement:”With a market eager to experience evolved mobile communications, a crucial part of that experience will be how impressively users can browse the Internet and how rich Web content will be. Opera is the ideal mobile Web application to browse the full Web because of its speed, usability, and unique SSR [Small-Screen Rendering] technology, Opera is the best browser to utilize the high-speed access capabilities of the 3G CDMA network.”

Secondly, KDDI are about to launch a new music distribution service whilst introducing new phones that have enough memory to make them genuinely useful as music players. The new music store will launch with about 10,000 tracks, though we’ve not been able to confirm how much a download will cost.

The service will launch at the end of November, and will coincide with new phones from Toshiba, Sanyo and Hitachi. With 40mb of memory, the new Sanyo W22SA will be able to store about 100 minutes of J-Pop with around nine hours of playback.

Lastly, if you’re worried about your phone’s battery life now that it’s your video camera, music player, games console, TV and, errr, phone – then KDDI is hoping to introduce fuel-cell based batteries in the near future, with a prototype expected this year. Conventional batteries are just not up to the sort of energy drain required for all the new 3G services that network providers and phone manufacturers are hoping to seel to customers. The fuel cells are methanol-based and are charged by attaching methanol cartridges. Expect a sudden increase in tramps asking for 10p to make a phone call.



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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?