Category Archives: Japan: Tech

News and stories related to Japanese technology or technology in Japan

Getting an iPhone 4S in Japan: SoftBank or au-KDDI… or?

iPhone 4s - SoftBank or auThe iPhone landscape has changed somewhat over the last few days. Finally now we have a choice other than SoftBank if we want to own an iPhone. For some of us the fact that we needed at least 24 months remaning on our visa to sign up for their 2 year contract was the killer. For others it was the rumors of poor network coverage or just the desire to wait until the spec was a little closer to the Android phones. If you haven’t got an iPhone yet, it is easier now. But which provider is the best deal? Softbank or au by KDDI?

The short answer boils down to two key factors. If your decision is purely driven by money, the answer is Softbank. But, if you are a heavy user or you just hate waiting for web pages to pop up then I hate to say it but you should probably be going with au. Below I’ll walk you through some of the other differences and throw in another option to include, and help you come to your own verdict.

The price issue is simple. With au, it costs you an extra 500 yen each month on your “all you can chew data” set. Depending on a the model you choose it might also cost you more to purchase the iPhone itself through au. If you are transferring to au from another carrier and satisfied with the most basic iPhone (16GB) you will end up with Continue reading Getting an iPhone 4S in Japan: SoftBank or au-KDDI… or?

Double Byte “Internationalized Domain Names”: A Superficial Alternative (Part 2)

Japanese IDNs - How they really workThis is part two of our writeup and perspective on IDNs, especially double byte Japanese domain names. See Part One (where we went into some detail of explaining the history of the technology surrounding IDNs) before reading on. Without going into too much more history or spurting out much more technical jargon, lets explore some day to day aspects of double byte domains, how they are (or rather aren’t) used, and why they just aren’t the glowing future of Japanese internet real estate that initially they may seem to be. Continue reading Double Byte “Internationalized Domain Names”: A Superficial Alternative (Part 2)

Double Byte “Internationalized Domain Names”: A Superficial Alternative (Part 1)

Twisted: Double Byte Internationalized Domain Names
Double Byte IDNs: “Interesting, but Useless Eye-Candy”

Internationalized Domain Names, heard of them? Double byte web addresses. You know the ones – the 日本.jps and the 価格.coms – you must have seen them lurking somewhere? Yes, these are called IDNs, or Internationalized Domain Names.

Just how valuable are these “snatch up while you can” bargains that the registrars have been trying to flog to us for the last 4 or 5 years? How will these prestigious pieces of “Internet Real Estate” rear up in the next decade? Are they a potential Continue reading Double Byte “Internationalized Domain Names”: A Superficial Alternative (Part 1)

Nao that’s a nice PDA! “E-mobile” the new runner in the keitai race

Matushita Nao (松下奈緒) the girl behind E-Mobile

When you go home tonight, you might notice some new ads starring Matushita Nao (松下奈緒) for a cool looking PDA. But contrary to popular belief, this is not Softbank’s X01HT which has been receiving a lot of bandwidth in the comments section of Nor is it part of DoCoMo’s half-arsed attempt at marketing the blackberry in Japan , nor is it a rechurned ad for Wilcom’s hugely successful PDA of 2006, W-Zero 3. E-mobile (Japan’s youngest mobile phone carrier) has finally unveiled their virgin products for the Japanese market.

As the newest player on the street, E-mobile is still rapidly rolling out their service area and so initial service will be purely for data only (voice to start in Mar ’08) and basically only in the Tokyo and Osaka regions. Due to the obvious disadvantages Continue reading Nao that’s a nice PDA! “E-mobile” the new runner in the keitai race

Road Test: Blackberry 8707g IN JAPAN!

8707g - so far the only Blackberry available in JapanAfter years of refusing to enable Blackberries to work in Japan, DoCoMo finally let the technology loose a couple of months ago. Although there is still only one model available, after reading Wasabi Green’s writeup on I couldn’t resist but giving one a test-drive. So what is the verdict? Is it really worth lashing out a couple of men (万円の複数形, plural of “万”) to buy a blackberry? The short answer is “not yet”. Read on for’s field review of Japan’s blackberry friendliness. Continue reading Road Test: Blackberry 8707g IN JAPAN!

MNP – Is Son-san the real “Yoso-Guy” at Softbank Mobile?

Masayoshi SonLess than one hour ago, Softbank Mobile‘s charistmatic CEO, Masayoshi Son, just completed an unexpected (予想外) press conference at the New Ohtani. Just as reported last week, Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is starting this week in Japan and promises to upset the comfortable duopoly of DoCoMo and Au. recevied a lot of email from readers suggesting that MNP would be a non-event, but it appears as though that is not the case. Son-san wants to join these two giants in the big technological sand pit they call success.

Following on from his amusing 予想外 TV commercial series featured last week, Son-san has made an even more unexpected announcement today. Continue reading MNP – Is Son-san the real “Yoso-Guy” at Softbank Mobile?

MNP – event or non-event?

DoCoMo's cool new keitaiHave you noticed that everywhere you go now, you see ads for mobile phones? Over the last month Au, Softbank Mobile and DoCoMo have slowly rolled out aggressive new advertising strategies and more new handset models at once than have ever been seen before. So why the sudden focus on improving their brand image? On October 24, Japan will officially introduce Mobile Number Portability (or MNP as the acronym loving Japanese love to call it.)

What does it all mean? Continue reading MNP – event or non-event?

DoCoMo Brings the Blackberry to Japan (without Japanese language input functionality!?)

docomoberry.jpgThe Blackberry, the ubiquitous tool that has become a fixture in the hands of the white-collar executive in North America and Europe will finally gain a foothold in the Japanese market. NTT DoCoMo is partnering with Canadian Blackberry-maker RIM (Research in Motion) to offer customers GSM/WCMDA “worldphone” versions of the handhelds.

Now as a Canadian I can’t help but feel a bit of patriotic pride to hear that Canada’s greatest contribution to the consumer electronics market is trying to find a place among the tech-savvy, communication loving Japanese. But what remains to be seen is if the Blackberry is going to find a receptive home in Japan and even if it does would this really be a good thing?
Continue reading DoCoMo Brings the Blackberry to Japan (without Japanese language input functionality!?)

Computer on Wheels?

Lexus LS460I‘m not much of an auto guy, but I’m a real sucker for gadgets and the new Lexus has me excited. Toyota released their latest Lexus in Japan at the start of this week and it is amazingly different from any car that has come before. Japanese autos are becoming more and more high-tech and closer and closer to being a computer on wheels. The flagship vehicle for the new Lexus is the LS460. This car is said to have over 7 million lines of code programmed inside (and that is not including the car-navi software!) That is about as much as you’d find inside an aeroplane and controls everything from breaking and steering to temperature and “inflight” comfort. To put that into context, the average Toyota car has about 4 million lines of code. Continue reading Computer on Wheels?

Akihabara News

Akihabara News is the only (English) website that I know of the continuously covers new developments in the Japanese electronic/gadget market.

Akihabara News (秋葉原ニュース)

If you are thinking of visiting Japan, or already live in Tokyo, then check them out. There are some really amazing bargains, and some just plain bizzare stories about “gadgets in Japan”… And who of us doesn’t like our gadgets..? Click on the image to take you there.

(“Akihabara” is the electronics town, that almost every foreign visitor feels sucked to upon a visit to Tokyo..)