Five-inch handset unlikely to be released elsewhere
HTC is soon to release a long-awaited phone-tablet, with the initial launch taking place in Japan. The HTC J Butterfly, a previously rumored phablet set to compete with the Samsung Galaxy Note line, has a five-inch HD Super LCD 3 display, capable of a 1920x1080 resolution, and a density of 440 pixels per inch.
KDDI, Softbank outlets hit
Thieves in Osaka, Japan managed to steal 191 iPhone 5s in the early hours before the phone's launch today, the Wall Street Journal reports. Police say that three stores across the city were hit; the first incident happened at one of carrier KDDI's au stores in the suburb of Ibaraki. Local residents called the police shortly before 3AM, saying that three men were skulking around the outlet. 33 iPhones were taken, and neither the men nor the phones have been found.
KDDI Smart TV Box will run on Android 4.0, connect to cloud service
Japanese hardware maker KDDI announced this week it will begin consumer testing of a new Smart TV Box this summer. The device will run on Android 4.0 and connect to HDTVs and enable sharing of content between Android smartphones and tablets. Other details are scarce, though some form of web access is more than likely.
Apple gets absolute lead in Japan phones
Apple now has the top-selling cellphone of any kind in Japan, IDC Japan determined late Thursday. The iPhone 4S launch helped Apple claim 26.6 percent of all cellphone shipments in the country this fall. It may have been the first non-Japanese company to top local ranks, ending a longstanding emphasis on local makers.
SoftBank profit drops through iPhone discounts
SoftBank on Thursday said its fall quarter profit was cut in half from a year ago owed to demand for, and competition over, the iPhone 4S. It made the equivalent of $430.8 million in profit versus $858.8 million in late 2010. The company had spent nearly $393.4 million in promos to prevent customers from jumping to KDDI now that it was an iPhone provider, a feat which president Masayoshi Son said turned out wasn't necessary.
Phone touts oversized number keys
KDDI and Okinawa Cellular have announced a new series of designer phones for the Japanese market. The Infobar C02, manufactured by Sharp, comes in three distinct color schemes and incorporates a numeric pad with over-sized keys. The display is an unusually tall, 3.2-inch, 480x854 LCD.
KDDI gives optimistic outlook because of Apple
Second-largest Japanese carrier KDDI showed an immediate effect from its getting the iPhone 4S Thursday after it upped its outlook for 2012. It now expects to get 2.6 percent more revenue in 2012 than it did before owing to becoming one of Apple's latest official carriers. Although its profit dipped 17 percent in the fall to the equivalent of $697.1 million, it saw its data revenue go up 8.2 points, mostly as customers switched from their conventionally Japanese basic feature phones to smartphones.
Bundled KDDI au app ads without much choice
Japanese carrier KDDI has underscored some of the problems of Android by pushing ads into Android itself, customers have found for themselves. A bundled, unremovable app for the company's own app store, au one Market, pushes ads into the notification bar whether or not the app is running, Asiajin said. While there appears to be an opt-out clause, one subscriber reports that it's downplayed and has seen it appear twice with app updates.
KDDI Labs and Kyocera make vibration-based phone
Japan's KDDI Labs and Kyocera used a booth at the back of CES to demonstrate a surprisingly clever audio technology in the US for the first time. Badged as a speakerless smartphone, it vibrates the audio canal to transmit any audio through the entire body of the device it's playing from. We could listen from the top, bottom, or even the back of the prototype Android phone the group had on show, and it was reasonably loud and clear even in a noisy CES show floor environment.
Sprint, KDDI showing good results, analyst says
BMO Capital Markets' Keith Bachman this week raised his price target for Apple stock from $455 to $460. The analyst now sees Apple shipping 29.5 million phones in the December quarter, with the potential of hitting 32 million. An earlier estimate called for just 28 million units.
Form consortium to coordinate efforts
Japan's three largest wireless carriers are uniting to ensure NFC standards compatibility. NTT DoCoMo, KDDI, and SoftBank are establishing the Japan Mobile NFC Consortium to coordinate the adoption of multiple international standards for NFC technologies used in their mobile devices and services. By doing so, the three hope to be able to offer lower-cost NFC services to both Japanese residents ans international visitors.
iPhone 3GS shipments hint strong seller
In spite of being over two years old, the iPhone 3GS is still poised to ship in large numbers in the next half-year if rumors from the supply chain are accurate. Estimates from contacts for Digitimes have two million of the phone shipping in the fall. Another 1.4 million to 1.6 million would ship in early 2012, they heard.
Paper says NTT DoCoMo in talks with Apple
NTT DoCoMo may have given clues to Apple making LTE a staple of its next iPad an iPhone. A claim in Japan's Nikkei asserts that the carrier is hoping to carry a 4G iPad by the summer and a matching iPhone by the fall. Apple chief Tim Cook had supposedly had NTT DoCoMo VPs Kiyoyuki Tsujimura and Takashi Yamada visit Apple's campus to successfully make a "basic agreement" and had been hashing out details such as minimum shipment volumes.
GfK shows iPhone users 84pc likely to return
iPhone users are still very likely to remain loyal to the platform even with stepped up competition, GfK determined in a new study. Scanning the US, Brazil, China, Japan, and the largest five countries in Europe, it found that 84 percent of those who'd bought into Apple's ecosystem planned to buy another iPhone with their next upgrade. Only 60 percent of Android users anticipated the same, suggesting that a small but significant number would jump ship.
iPhone trend may be reversing Sprint decline
Both Sprint and Verizon are seeing strong iPhone sales, says Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu, citing checks. Sprint has allegedly begun reversing a tide of subscriber loss to AT&T and Verizon, which was caused by simply not having the iPhone as an option until October 14th. The carrier may also be attracting people thanks to offering the only unlimited iPhone data plans in the US.
Strategy Analyics says Samsung takes clear lead
Samsung pulled ahead of Apple by a wide margin to become the top smartphone maker during the summer, Strategy Analytics said. Getting numbers that Samsung itself wouldn't directly supply, the research firm understood Samsung had shipped 27.8 million smartphones. Apple's dip to 17.07 million units in the run-up to the iPhone 4S knocked it down to second place after briefly claiming the top this spring.
Softbank sales system goes down for three hours
(Updated with new AT&T complaints) Both US carrier AT&T and Japan's Softbank have been coping with some serious activation and sales system problems related to the iPhone 4S, reports say. AT&T's activations servers are said to be overloaded, sometimes taking 5 to 15 minutes or longer to complete the process for each phone. Activation is required to begin using an iPhone on a cellular network.
Pegatron said getting more orders for iPhone 4S
Concerns that Pegatron might have lost iPhone orders due to demand might have been premature, Taiwan's Commercial Times claimed Wednesday. The contract maker at one point had been said making just 10 million across its entire production run but was now once again slated to make 15 million. About two million to 2.5 million of those would be made in the fall.
iPhone 4S preorders open worldwide
On cue, the online Apple Store and numerous carriers including AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon have begun taking online preorders for the iPhone 4S. The picks include carrier-locked models as well as the full-price but unlocked GSM versions for those who want to switch carriers or avoid early cancellation fees.
KDDI aggressive on iPhone 4S prices
Japanese carrier KDDI on Friday local time became one of the first out of the gate to detail its full iPhone 4S launch plans. Its discounts on the Apple smartphone are steep and give the 16GB model away for free on a two-year contract for 4,980 yen ($65) a month with unlimited data. The 32GB version is also steeply discounted and costs 10,320 yen ($135) on similar terms, while the 64GB version will cost 20,640 yen ($269).
Apple adds 2nd Japanese carrier with FCC filing
Apple quietly slipped through two key moves in sync with the iPhone 4S on Tuesday. Moving far faster than rumors, it planned to bring the new iPhone to KDDI on the same October 14 release day as SoftBank. The move both ends SoftBank's three-year exclusive on the iPhone in Japan and is the first known CDMA iPhone outside of the US.
Almost entire lineup waterproof
Japanese carrier KDDI has announced its winter lineup for the last quarter of 2012. The second largest wireless provider in Japan will be offering six Android phones, two feature phones and a new tablet. In a unique touch, most of these phones offer waterproof protection.
KDDI to become second Japanese iPhone carrier
KDDI will soon end SoftBank's lock as the only Japanese iPhone carrier, sources claimed late Wednesday. The new provider would open up to sales of the iPhone 5 under its Au service sometime early 2012, the Nikkei said. It could theoretically start earlier, but it would need more time to prepare.
iPhone 5 to be unveiled Oct 4 with Cook keynoting
Apple has narrowed down its iPhone 5 introduction event to October 4, insiders detailed Wednesday. The event is understood by AllThingsD to presage the release of the new device within "a few weeks" of the appearance, most likely in the first half of October. Contacts have also had Tim Cook presiding over the event, marking the first event Cook will oversee since Steve Jobs resigned as CEO.
Toshiba-Fujitsu IS12T ships early
KDDI confirmed talk an early ship date and moved up the launch of the Toshiba-Fujitsu IS12T to a month earlier. The very first Windows Phone 7 Mango phone should be in Japan on August 25. It's expected to sit at about $253 on contract.
iPhone 5 CDMA and GSM turns up in app tracking
Repeated references to a dual-mode iPhone 5 were borne out late Monday after a developer mentioned that it had been showing up in app logs. A small batch of users have been tracked while running two carriers. One of those seen by TechCrunch attached itself to both AT&T and Verizon, which wouldn't be possible on the current models.
Windows Phone Mango may come in August with IS12T
The first Windows Phone 7 Mango device, Toshiba-Fujitsu's IS12T, may arrive earlier even than what Microsoft has suggested. Both a KDDI Au listing and retail shop sightings (pictured) have the IS12T being ready on August 25, as much as a month ahead of schedule. In addition to spotting the phone's details, Nanapho in a follow-up has also shown that it might cost a steep 73,500 yen ($960) off-contract after tax, although it may dip down to $253 on regular terms.
Softbank net income soars in Q2 through Apple
Japanese carrier Softbank posted strong results (PDF) that it could credit largely to Apple. Its profit jumped from the equivalent of $250 million a year ago to $1.22 billion this year. Much of this came through a shift to smartphones, which on Softbank are led by the iPhone.
Toshiba-Fujitsu IS12T to be first Mango phone
Toshiba-Fujitsu held a special event in Tokyo in the evening that gave it the distinction of being the first with a Windows Phone 7 Mango device. The IS12T is a close cousin of the Regza phone but has the unique touch of being waterproof and dust-resistant to IPX5 and IPX8 levels. It also packs one of the most powerful cameras of any phone with a 13.2-megapixel sensor.
comScore shows Android doubling sales in half year
Android is holding on to its place as the most popular platform in Japan, comScore determined on Thursday. Google's platform more than doubled its user base in the country between December and March to hit 4.6 million devices, overtaking the iPhone in the process. Apple also saw its base go up but budged by just over 100,000 phones to reach 3.9 million.
KDDI, Kyocera show multi-layer haptic prototype
At the currently ongoing Wireless Japan show, major wireless provider KDDI showed off a prototype handset that uses multiple layers for haptic touch feedback. The so-called New Haptic Smartphone uses display technology from Kyocera, maker of smartphones such as the Echo. The prototype uses feedback for two haptic layers, but Kyocera assures the public its technology can support seven layers all over a screen's surface.
Designer phone will be available in July.
KDDI has introduced the Infobar A01, the first smart phone in the Infobar series to run Android 2.3 OS. Unique to the A01, the interface to the Android OS is tiles rather than buttons. Packaged under KDDI's iida brand and manufactured by Sharp, the A01 comes with a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, a 3.7-inch screen (960×540), an eight Megapixel camera, and NFC eWallet.
SoftBank rises in Q1 2011 through iPhone sales
SoftBank on Monday posted banner results that it directly credited to the iPhone and iPad. A rise in smartphones, led mostly by Apple on the Japanese carrier, was a "huge factor" in pumping profit for the early winter to $588.4 million. The figure was over 25 times larger than a year ago, although SoftBank was quick to note that dropping its 2G network cut into its profits a year ago.
DCM A-Fund giving 100m cash to Android services
Venture capitalists at DCM on Thursday unveiled an Android equivalent to the well-known iFund. A-Fund will give startups and other companies a total pool of $100 million to support apps, hardware, and services for Android. The funding will get help from Japanese carrier KDDI, local social network GREE, and Tencent, the founder of Chinese portal QQ.
Sprint Android users get carrier billing
Official Android developer Eric Chu just announced that Sprint subscribers will soon get the ability to be bill their Android Market app purchases directly to their provider. This feature is already in use by T-Mobile and AT&T in the US, as well as SoftBank, KDDI and NTT DoCoMo in Japan. Sprint users will see the option roll out in all regions over the next few days.
SK Telecom confirms iPhone 4 due March 16
SK Telecom on Tuesday confirmed earlier tips and said it would carry the iPhone 4 on March 16. The Korean carrier will be just the second with an iPhone in the country. Its deal ends KT's technical exclusive for the iPhone, which was dictated mostly by its use of GSM.
Motorola Xoom due in Germany, Japan this April
On its translated web page, T-Mobile Germany has revealed that it will have the exclusive rights to sell the Motorola Xoom Android 3.0 tablet for 90 days starting at the end of April. Also, Japanese carrier KDDI will offer the same device at or near the same time, Akihabara reported on Monday. The Japanese Xooms will not have 3G radios onboard, however, making do only with Wi-Fi.
SK Telecom may get CDMA iPhone 4 too
SK Telecom could get the CDMA iPhone 4 next month in what could be a significant shift in the Korean cellphone industry, according to claims from the field. The largest Korean carrier is supposedly in "final stage" talks with Apple to have the phone in March. The deal is claimed by Yonhap's contact to be "going smoothly" and all but certain to happen on time.
Device now 12 percent of all Japanese cellphones
The iPhone has had an "extraordinary" reception in Asia, "on par with the US some cases," according to analysts Toni Sacconaghi and Sanford Bernstein of Bernstein Research. The pair point to recent IDC data in particular, which indicates that the iPhone now forms 12 percent of all Japanese cellphone sales, not just smartphones. Given momentum and plans to open 20 more Chinese Apple Stores in 2011, it's inevitable that the iPhone will come to more Asian carriers, Sacconaghi argues.
Leak has CDMA iPhone beyond Verizon
The CDMA iPhone should reach beyond the Verizon model in the States to land at some of the most important Asian carriers, part suppliers may have revealed. Noting that only Foxconn-made models would go to Verizon, the insiders added that Apple's new contractor Pegatron would be making the new version for additional carriers in China, Japan and South Korea. The Digitimes claim didn't say when these countries would get the new model.
iPhone Q1 production at 21m with CDMA factored in
Apple is optimistic for not just its Verizon iPhone plans in early 2011 but for its regular GSM iPhones as well, part suppliers claimed on Monday. The company reportedly plans to ship five to six million CDMA iPhones between January and March, but has also increased its production of regular iPhones from 13 million to 15 million, giving it as much as 21 million shipments. The CDMA version also wouldn't be exclusive to Verizon as Digitimes has put it shipping in the US and Asia-Pacific.
iPhone now fifth in all Japanese phone sales
The iPhone is now the fifth best-selling phone brand in the entire Japanese market, IDC Japan found on Wednesday. Owed mostly to the iPhone 4 launch and shipping 1.06 million phones, Apple climbed from seventh place in the first half of the year to 12.2 percent between July and September. It had never been above 10 percent in the past, the study said.
Sony Ericsson X10 hits iPhone in Japan sales
Sony Ericsson Android-based phones like the Xperia X10 have had a rare impact on Apple's share of smartphones in Japan, the country's MM Research Institute said today. The iPhone still had a comfortable lead at 60 percent of all smartphones in the first half of 2010, but it fell a point from a year ago where Sony Ericsson rose to 21 percent. Sharp was a distant third with 6.3 percent while Toshiba and Taiwan's HTC were tied at 4.5 percent.
CDMA iPhone 4 may need SIM for Japan and Korea
The appearance of what's claimed to be a CDMA iPhone prototype has raised the possibility that it might be a dual-mode CDMA/GSM phone. We've heard rumors to the contrary, however, and Electronista has reason to believe that Apple's handset is indeed CDMA-only. Read on to learn the relatively simple explanation and how Apple may sell the CDMA iPhone outside of the US.
KDDI to bring out redesigned Galaxy Tab in Japan
Japanese phone maker KDDI has just introduced a redesigned and rebranded version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Called the SMT-i9100, it still runs on Android 2.2 and uses a seven-inch, 1024x600 multi-input touchscreen. The functional changes include a loss of the front-facing camera, and the rear-mounted one is reduced to 2-megapixels from 3-megapixels. The two 1W speakers are carried over, but battery life is rated at a low two hours of use or 12 hours of standby.
Stunning see-through design, high-powered specs
Japanese handset maker KDDI has launched a new range of mobile phones under its designer label iida, headlined by its new X-RAY. The bold clam shell design was created by Tokujin Yoshioka and features a see-through case with the PC board and integrated circuits clearly visible. With the 7x102 LED scrolling external display giving the impression that the phone is somewhat retro-futuristic, it is in fact built on the latest mobile phone underpinnings.
Sharp shows IS03 with Android 2.1, Retina Display
Sharp has just introduced its first Android phone with unusually high-end hardware specs. The IS03 will launch for AU KDDI in Japan, and sports an iPhone 4-matching 3.5-inch, 960x640-pixel touchscreen. It's unclear if the panel is the same as Apple's, but it represents the densest ever display on a regularly sized, non-Apple handset.
Fujitsu to release Android smartphone in 2011?
Fujitsu is reportedly working on its first Android-powered smartphone, say sources from Japan. The device is rumored to become available at NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest provider. The phone may be based on the company's F1100 handset with a slide-out keypad and should hit the market in 2011.
Softbank outgrows NTT DoCoMo, KDDI in June
Softbank today beat out fellow Japanese carriers again today by adding the most new subscribers in the country. It credited the launch of the iPhone 4 for helping it add 229,500 new subscribers in June. While larger, NTT DoCoMo only added 164,600 subscribers, and the second-place KDDI Au network added just 61,300 new customers.
NEC Casio Mobile to sell phones in the US?
The mobile merger that is NEC, Hitachi and Casio unveiled aggressive expansion plans this week. The resulting company, now called NEC Casio Mobile Communications, plans to ship 12 million handsets in 2012, which represents an increase of 60 percent compared to all phones shipped by the three individual companies in 2009. This expansion may reach the US, with reports suggesting NEC Casio Mobile looking to tie in with Verizon and AT&T.