Category Archives: Mobility

Amazon Kindle Comes to Japan

The long wait is over, the Kindle has finally arrived in Japan.
Or has it?

Kindle in Japan - 06

As soon as I heard that a new Kindle model with an international roaming would be avail, my pre-order went in. I've been an avid eBook user since my Rocket eBook many moons ago. As a heavy traveler, the ability to carry a library around with me is a must have.
Since that first book I have used Sony and iRex readers of varying sizes and capabilities, but the Kindle has always taunted me with the holy grail of mobile readers: wireless updates.

Well, I have had my new Kindle2 International Edition now for over 24 hours, so I guess it's time to see how it matches up.

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What’s in an “s”? My first look at the iPhone 3Gs

iPhone 3Gs Launch events in Japan.
iPhone 3Gs Get! - 01

I think I might be sick. Mentally, you know?

Did I need a new iPhone 3Gs? Nope.

Did I need to stay up all night to wait in line to get one? Definitely not.

Was there a problem with my old iPhone 3G? Not really.

Do I have so much money I need to just throw it away? No way.

So that leaves me with the fact that I have a problem.

oh well. On with the review 🙂

So obviously I stayed up last Friday night at the all-night Softbank iPhone 3Gs launch event/party. To be honest, I had a pretty good time. Got to spend time with some good friends and meet lots of interesting people. I got to participate in a totally geek centered event that boosts my ego (always nice to know for sure that you are NOT the geekiest person in the room). Enjoyed the presentations, and even managed to win some cool stuff. And of course, I finished things off by taking my brand new iPhone 3Gs home with me.

Since I was mostly asleep when I first posted about this event, I'd like to start over and detail the events of the evening.

I started off my iPhone Night by first stopping by the Softbank store in Omotesando. I got there around 4PM and quickly ran in to reserve my iPhone. Had waffled for several days on the decision, but finally broke down and decided to go for it. Here are the things that led me to my decision.

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iPhone 3Gs launches in Japan. I lose sleep.

Today marks the official launch of the iPhone 3Gs in Japan.

A bit later than the US launch, but still close enough that I don't feel too left out. Still, my schedule these days conspires to bring me to my knees. After a full day of meetings, I popped up to check the line at Omotesando for the Launch Party event sposored by Nobi and Denso. What did I find when I got here but Free pokening and hugs!

At the iPhone 3Gs line in Omotesando

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Review: iPhone 3.0 OS – Jump the gun edition

The time has come. On the 17th of June we get the next version of the iPhone OS. But thanks to the MobileinJapan community, I was able to get my hands on the OS a bit early. So here is a preview of the new iPhone 3.0 OS, running on an iPhone 3G on Softbank Japans 3G network. This is the full version of 3.0, but there are a few features like push and MMS that we are waiting for the network to activate.

iPhone 3.0 - 01
This review is also cross-posted to MobileinJapan here.

In a Nutshell:
The long wait is over. OS 3.0 brings a lot of overdue functionality to the iPhone and a few neat tricks to boot. Still this is nothing like the bump from 1.0 to 2.0. In fact, the overall feel to the phone is exactly the same. Only a few small graphical changes give away the upgrade at first glance. Also, I don’t credit for push apps since this was promised as part of the 2.0 upgrade. I still haven’t seen how that works, but will try it out as soon as the apps hit the store. I do see why the new hardware has a faster processor though as I felt that the interface is a bit sluggish since the upgrade. I asked a few other people to try out my phone though and they say that it feels the same, so I guess no definite call there yet.

Batteries not included:
So what is not in the upgrade? Obviously, hardware related features are out. No new 3MP autofocus camera. No macro lens. no digital compass, no Nike+iPod integration. Additionally there are really no new features. Most of the changes that are available to iPhone 3G owners are merely enhancements and upgrades to existing functionality. In typical fashion, for new features, you gotta show the dough. So this means no video recording, no voice control, no turn based navigation in Maps, And of course there is the didyourcarrierscrewya feature, tethering. in Softbanks case the answer is an expected “Not a chance you freeloading bum.” No tethering in Japan. Finally, while Softbank has promised to turn on MMS support on the 17th, it’s not on now so I wasn’t able to test it out.
So that’s what is not inside. What did we get then?

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Cellphone Explosion! Softbank and DoCoMo announce summer 2009 models

Big day for cellphone announcements. Between the DoCoMo and Softbank, we are looking at 37 new models that will be released this summer.

Here's a teaser.

From Softbank

sbm0mm.jpg

Here are the DoCoMo newbies.

dcm09sm-style.jpg dcm09sm-prime.jpg  dcm09sm-smart.jpg pro.jpg

Yes, 37 is a lot. But really around 30 of them are basically the same as the previous line. There are a few notable exceptions/omissions.

One of the most interesting phones out this batch is the 936SH from Softbank. It adds a solar charging panel to the face of the phone that can be used to charge the battery. It's really one of those "it's about time" features, but worth taking a look at.

936SH_blues.jpg

For DoCoMo's first interesting model we have the N06A. A rather drab lookinc phone, but underneath a big suprise. The phone can act as a wi-fi router sharing out a high speed HSDPA cellphone connection. Sure, your monthly bill goes up into the stratosphere, and there are all sorts of restrictions but seriously. Good show!

n06a-sv01s.jpg

And yes, the first official Android phone is coming out in Japan via the DoCoMo HT02S. I still think the use of the Magic platform just shows how slow DoCoMo is at adopting new ideas and how little they are committed to their success.

ht02s.jpg

Much more interesting, and yet at the same time absolutely not is the T01A from DoCoMo. A very sexy design to say the least, this is to me the most appealing new smartphone in this batch. Except of course Windows Mobile. Nevemind. Moving along.

t01a-bk01s.jpg

The Softbank 933SH will have a 10mp digital camera beating out the 8.1 MP camera that seems to be standard fare this year.

SB933SH_blacks.jpg

Docomo if finally coming out with more waterproof phones! This is really a must have feature, and I am glad to see more models with it. This time we have the F08A, the P10A, the SH05A,

f08a-pp01s.jpg p10a-gd02s.jpg sh05a-bk01s.jpg

The Softbank 931N add wi-fi and a WVGA touchscreen for your browsing pleasure.

For those who like following the earthquakes in Japan, the Softbank 831N is the first phone to incorporate the new Earthquake notification system (basically a special band of SMS) from Softbank.

831n_pink2s.jpg

Emporio Armani has a cellphone in Japan now. and nobody cares.

830sc_01s.jpg

And Finally, a Lenovo Netbook with built in 3G module out from Softbank. This customized S10 netbook would be a lot more interesting is Softbank would hurry up and get a reasonable unlimited data plan!

lenovo1s.jpg

Now we are still waiting for the AU announcement. But I honestly am not expecting much there. I'll write more about some of the more interesting models when I have had a chance to do more research. Till then, enjoy!