T-Mobile isn’t the only carrier that’s been hurt by not having the iPhone. Reuters reports that NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest wireless carrier, saw a net loss of almost 41,000 subscribers over the last month and the iPhone is taking blame as the primary culprit. NTT DoCoMo said that last month’s subscriber loss was the first it had seen in over five years and Reuters says this happened because “users switched to Softbank Corp and KDDI Corp to grab an Apple (AAPL) iPhone 5 supplied in Japan by the two smaller carriers.” Softbank’s subscribers in November grew by nearly 302,000 while KDDI’s grew by 228,000, Reuters notes.
NTT DoCoMo, Samsung, Fujitsu, Fujitsu Semiconductor, NEC and Panasonic announced plans on Tuesday to establish a joint venture in which the firms hope to work together to create LTE and LTE Advanced products. The fabless JV will specifically focus on the development of “feature-rich, small-size, low-power-consumption semiconductor products equipped with modem functionality” for LTE and LTE Advanced networks. Products developed by the companies will be sold globally. NTT DoCoMo will invest $5.8 million in the joint venture but it is unclear how much of an ownership stake it will have, or how much the other five companies plan to invest. They hope to have the partnership fully established by March of next year. NTT DoCoMo’s press release follows after the break. More →
NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and SoftBank have created the “Japan Mobile NFC Consortium,” which will help the three carriers coordinate and adopt an international NFC standard. Currently, all three operators offer an NFC service dubbed Osaifu-Keitai (wallet phone) which uses a contactless-IC smartcard that’s called FeliCa. Unfortunately, the technology doesn’t work overseas where other carriers use Type A or Type B NFC standards, which means Osaifu-Ketai won’t function properly for NTT DoCoMo, KDDI or SoftBank customers hoping to use their phones for mobile payments overseas. The three carriers hope they can work with handset makers and vendors to encourage the adoption of Type A and Type B NFC standards. The consortium also aims to “create an environment in Japan where service providers can offer efficient, low-cost NFC services based on common standards and rules adopted by the three mobile operators.” The full press release follows after the break. More →
Apple is prepping new sixth-generation iPhone and third-generation iPad models with embedded 4G LTE connectivity that will launch next year according to a recent report. Japanese news organization Nikkei Business on Wednesday stated that an iPad 3 with LTE is currently slated to launch on NTT DoCoMo some time during the summer next year, and an LTE-enabled iPhone 5 will launch later in the fall. Apple CEO Tim Cook is said to have met with NTT DoCoMo president Kiyoyuki Tsujimura and VP Takashi Yamada earlier this month to work out the details of the arrangement, and the companies have reportedly reached agreeable terms. NTT DoCoMo did not immediately respond to a request for comment. More →
Samsung and Google will take the wraps off of the Galaxy Nexus at 10:00 p.m. EST during a press conference in Hong Kong, and NTT DoCoMo already revealed on Twitter that it will be one of the first carriers to offer the Android Ice Cream Sandwich-powered phone in November. BGR exclusively confirmed the Galaxy Nexus will be equipped with a 4.65-inch 1280 x 720-pixel Super AMOLED HD display, a TI OMAP 4460 dual-core Cortex A9 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, support for NFC and a 5-megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p HD video. The Galaxy Nexus will be a Verizon Wireless exclusive in the United States. BGR will be covering the news at it breaks this evening, so stay tuned for more. More →
Sony announced on Wednesday that its next-generation portable gaming console, the PlayStation Vita, will launch in Japan on December 17th. Sony also said it has teamed up with Japan-based wireless carrier NTT DoCoMo to provide 3G connectivity on the device. 20 hours of 3G service is priced at $13 while 100 hours will set customers back $65. The system will launch in tandem with Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Square Enix promised to port Final Fantasy X as well. Sony expects to begin taking pre-orders for the Vita on October 15th and said the first 500 units sold will come bundled with 100 hours of free 3G connectivity. We had hands-on time with the Vita during E3 in June. It is expected to launch in the U.S. next year for $249.99 and AT&T will provide stateside 3G connectivity. More →
NTT DoCoMo, Fujitsu, NEC and Panasonic are discussing a joint venture with Samsung that could be created as early as next year, Reuters reported recently. The companies will develop new smartphone baseband chips in an attempt to compete directly with Qualcomm, which currently has an 80% grip on the baseband chip industry. NTT DoCoMo will be the majority owner in the Japan-based joint venture and the total investment is expected to be about $390 million. The joint venture will help each firm cut down procurement costs. Samsung has considered using the new chips in its future family of GALAXY-branded handsets, but the group will also sell the new chips to other smartphone manufacturers. NTT DoCoMo, Fujitsu, NEC, Panasonic and Samsung have not yet announced formal plans for the venture. More →
Sharp just entered the 3D smartphone market, joining both LG and HTC, with the introduction of its Android 2.3 powered Aquos SH-12C. The smartphone made its debut in Japan and comes equipped with a 1.4GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 processor, a 4.2-inch qHD glasses-free 3D display, an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 3D video, and 512MB of RAM. The Sharp Aquos SH-12C will land on Japan’s NTT DoCoMo network on May 20th, although pricing details were not disclosed. Hit the jump for another image of the phone. More →
Long the champion for Rural wireless carriers, the Rural Cellular Association has again championed the cause of unlocking handsets by pointing to the recent “We’re going SIM-Free” announcement by NTT DoCoMo. The Rural Cellular association took its case to the FCC in a letter that praises NTT DoCoMo’s pro-consumer decision to unlock its handsets and urges the FCC to encourage US-based wireless carriers to take similar steps. The RCA has been pushing this initiative for over two years to no avail; with the FCC a year into its investigation of carrier exclusivity and its effect on consumer choice in the US, perhaps the time is now for this proposal to fall on some non-deaf ears?
[Via Information Week] More →
Several Japanese newspapers are reporting that Fujitsu is working on an Android smartphone. This first Android offering from the Japanese electronics giant is expected to land next year with NTT DoCoMo and will be the first smartphone in Fujitsu’s handset lineup. Details on the device are sparse but with the future merger of Fujitsu’s mobile division with Toshiba’s mobile business unit, we can conjure up images of an Android handset that takes the high-end features of the Toshiba TG01 and mixes it with the innovative, separable design of the F-04B. Sounds like a match made in heaven, no?
[Via Mobile Crunch]
In an interview with the Nikkei Business Daily, NTT DoCoMo’s president Ryuji Yamada revealed that Japans’s largest wireless carrier may go SIM-Free in 2011. The move would allow customers to easily switch to and from NTT DoCoMo by merely swapping out a SIM. With its quality network, and soon-to-be unlocked handsets, NTT DoCoMo is hoping to snag customers from rival Softbank which has a slight competitive advantage over its larger rival by being the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in Japan. The Nikkei responded favorably to this news with shares of NTT DoCoMo up a moderate 1.68% at the writing of this post. More →
Remember the white BlackBerry Bold that launched on AT&T last month after we scooped it in August? Looks like our Japanese brethren will be able to sport one on their hip, too. Starting December 3rd, NTT DoCoMo will make the blanco version of the BlackBerry Bold available to the Japanese public. Consider us big thinkers but we’re pretty sure this will do incredibly well over in Japan. More →
It’s always a lot of fun for us — and hopefully for you, the readers — any time we can run wild with pictures, news, and even reviews of an unannounced handset. Today, however, RIM spoiled our fun and formally announced the BlackBerry Bold 9700. Things like carriers, release dates and pricing have been withheld for the time being, but RIM has made a statement saying that we should all expect to see the BlackBerry 9700 go on sale “around the world beginning in November.” Spec wise, nothing has changed since our pre-release review, but just in case some of you forgot or weren’t paying a whole lot of attention, here’s a quick refresher on the critical specs:
- BlackBerry OS 5.0
- 624MHz CPU
- 256MB flash memory and support for microSD cards up to 32GB
- Quad-band UMTS/HSDPA (800/850/1900/2100 MHz) or tri-band UMTS/HSDPA (900/1700/2100 MHz)
- Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g with UMA support (carrier dependent)
- 2.44″ HVGA+ display
- 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash
- Optical trackpad
- Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP/AVCRP
- 1500 mAh battery
- 6 hours of talk time and 17 days of standby (3G)
- 109mm x 60mm x 14.1mm, 122g
In short, this is the BlackBerry device of your dreams. We’re expecting pretty much every single major GSM carrier on the planet to pick up the 9700 sooner or later, so we’ll be sure to keep the updates coming. As always, high res pics and a few other odds and ends are available after the jump.
UPDATE: AT&T, Rogers and T-Mobile have announced they will be carrying the Bold 9700 in the weeks ahead. AT&T and T-Mobile’s 9700 will go for $199.99 after a $100 MIR on 2-year deals while Rogers will be asking for $299.99 on a 3-year contract with a monthly minimum voice and data plan of $45. Bell and TELUS have yet to come forward with pricing but have confirmed they will be carrying the device.