cell phone

All posts tagged cell phone

Sorry for not updating the blog for a long time. These days I’m hanging out on Facebook and Twitter, rather than writing blog entries. Please visit my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/masayuki.kawagishi or follow @_Yuki_K_ on Twitter 😉

I see that the world of mobile phones is rapidly changing for years. Nokia, one of the dominant mobile phone manufacturers, is disappearing, and Apple is expanding the market with the iPhone, its flagship mobile phones with a music player, games, and other applications all-in-one. Following apple, various mobile phone manufacturers, from Samsung to small makers in China, are releasing smartphones with the Android operating system developed by Google.

In Japan, I think that mobile phones are rapidly “globalised” in recent years. A few years ago all you could see here was the “Galapagos” handphones sold only within Japan and unavailable once you brought them out of Japan. But recently on the train or the streets, you see the same devices as those seen in the rest of the world — iPhones, Android smartphones, and even Blackberry phones (scarce though).

More than that, this month I had good news showing Japan’s globalisation of the mobile phone environment. News says that from 13 July this year you can send text messages (SMS) to the mobile phones of the different carriers from yours. That is normal in the rest of the world, but that isn’t here in Japan — if you have a mobile phone sold by NTT DoCoMo, you can send SMS only to NTT DoCoMo users, not to au, Softbank, or any other carrier’s users. As the SMS gateways are closed to different carriers, you can rarely see here such services as balance enquiry, network configurations, service registrations, and purchasing something by sending text messages to service providers as you can see in Singapore, Hong Kong or some European countries. The opening of the SMS gateways will probably enable you to have such services even in Japan soon.

Japan and the countries other than Japan don’t stand in the opposite. Japan is an extension of other countries, and any country is an extension of Japan. Anything available in the world must be available in Japan too.

Ryuji Yamada
Last night I attended a meeting for alumni of Osaka University, where I graduated, to see the presentation by Ryuji Yamada, President and CEO of NTT DoCoMo, one of Japan’s mobile phone operators. Mr. Yamada is also a graduate from Osaka University and was invited to this meeting as a guest speaker.
He talked to us about NTT DoCoMo’s current circumstances, innovation plans and future strategies. He said in advance that the revenue from voice communications was decreasing year by year and so far the loss was not completely compensated yet by the revenue from packet communications, so innovations in packet communication was important. He also added that one of the important things right now was to change policies so as to meet the current situation where mobile communication market in Japan was reaching its full maturity. He said that he had launched the “All-DoCoMo Reform Plans”, where more than 3000 current problems had been collected from every workplace, ranging from R&D divisions to local shops, and the problems had been dealt with 25 project teams for discussion and improvement. Some of the problems were solved by the plans. One of the solutions is a special assurance plan to dispatch an on-site consultant engineer to the customer who complained of dissatisfied signal reception at home, within 48 hours from the time of this customer’s complaint call.
The most impressive point of his presentation was that mobile devices will be tools for personal activity assistance. Since the first era of them, YOU have done something with them, from voice communications to internet access and electronic wallets. In the future, THEY will do something for you. They will proactively help you do something. One of such solutions already in service is the “i-Concier”, where text messages such as traffic information, weather information, and local event information, are automatically displayed on mobile phone’s screen, according to date, time and phone’s location obtained from antennas communicating with the phone.
Media for information distribution is, according to his speech, shifting from text-based message to motion videos. He said that, as smart phones was being more and more popular, video would be the key media used for not only entertainment but tourist information, online shopping, navigation, security and medical assistance.
For such advanced services by smart phones, high network performance is necessary. Mr. Yamada declared that in December 2010 NTT DoCoMo would launch Long Term Evolution, or LTE, a 3.9-generation mobile telephony service, starting with that for the 2GHz band and to extend to that for the 1.5GHz band, and would offer 3G/LTE-dual handsets next year. With LTE terminals, radiowaves can be used approximately 9 times more efficient than current 3G terminals. That is, you can enjoy 9 times smarter services than today’s phones.
To prevent NTT DoCoMo’s LTE system from making the Galapagos ecosystem, he emphasized that NTT DoCoMo also did international activities more energetically than ever. It founded research and development facilities in Beijing, Europe and the United States, for contribution to standardisation and normalisation in the projects of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project, or 3GPP. At the same time, it’s investing developing countries’ operators like TTSL and TTML in India, in order to help do business with it.
It’s greatly welcomed that mobile services will evolve to be more advanced and attractive for users. My hope is, as written in the last entry, to accept any terminal I want to use, as long as it meets the basic standards.

I heard the news that the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan started discussing a policy to require mobile phone carriers to release SIM-lock-free handsets from the next generation. As is often written in some other entries of this blog, I have been dissatisfied with the current cellular phones in Japan because they are far from the global standards.
Today mobile phones are widely spread worldwide, ranging from smartphones like iPhone or Nokia N900 communicator to cheap simple cell phones only for calling and text messaging. They are handy, convenient and easy to use even in developing countries where electric supply is not sufficient. Thanks to their size, you can carry them everywhere in the world. In spite of their mobility, there are two major countries where you can’t use them as conveniently as in the rest of the world — Japan and Korea. Especially in Japan, the mobile systems and services have been so unique that they are often compared to the ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands, where endemic species are seen.

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SIM-unlocked 32GB iPhone 3GS
I’ve bought an iPhone. I ordered it from a broker in Hong Kong who got it at Apple Store Hong Kong, because the iPhone sold in Hong Kong is locked to no particular mobile carriers. In Japan, you can buy an iPhone at a Softbank cell phone shop but they sell only the iPhone locked to Softbank. Softbank does offer international roaming service, but if you go out of Japan and use it with a Softbank SIM card in a foreign country they will charge tremendously high international roaming charges to your bill (It costs as high as hundreds of thousand Yen per day! Crazy!). That’s why I’ve got an unlocked iPhone so that I can freely replace a SIM card into that issued at the country I’m in when I travel abroad.

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I’ve made my Blackberry Bold SIM-unlocked, because the Blackberry I bought in Japan was locked to NTT DoCoMo, a Japanese mobile phone carrier, so when I was abroad I had to fear the phone bill charging highly expensive roaming prices.
Unlocking was easy: I got an unlock code for my device at http://expressunlockcode.com/bbexpress.aspx by paying $19.99 and giving the IMEI for my device, phone model, carrier name locked to and my country to the unlock code provider. Several hours later from paying I got an unlock code for the IMEI I gave. Then I unlocked it by following the instructions at http://www.mobileslate.com/blog/2008/11/14/how-to-unlock-rim-blackberry-9000-bold/. Once unlocked, you can use not only NTT DoCoMo’s SIM card but Softbank’s, as shown in the above picture.
(Blackberry services aren’t available with Softbank’s SIM card, though)

The Shizilin building
The Shizilin building in Ximending is a complex of cell phone shops, arcade game shops and a movie theater. The first floor of it has plenty of shops selling cell phones, cell phone accessories, cameras, electric devices etc., like Sincere Podium in Hong Kong. The staff doesn’t understand English, though.
My new Nokia 6120
I got Nokia 6120 classic at a shop in the building, just for NT$5000. When I looked into my wallet I found enough money I can afford to buy it. It supports HSDPA.
When it comes to cell phones in Taiwan of these days, I found that Nokia wasn’t dominant. I saw not so many people used Nokia handsets. Instead, Sony Ericsson, LG, Samsung seem to be popular among Taiwan’s people. Among them, Samsung’s Anycall brand handsets were seen in many places.

Maybe it’s a bit late to be excited to have Blackberry Bold now, but anyway I’ve got one because I had a bonus this week. I ordered it online and this morning a courier delivered it to my house.
These are a cradle, a charger, USB cables and screen protectors I ordered from Hong Kong before hand.
I pulled my SIM card off my Blackberry 8707h I kept so far, put it into the Blackberry Bold and turned its power switch on. After several initial setups, the main menu appeared and NTT DoCoMo network was captured.
One problem occured. I found there was no email settings so I couldn’t set up emails I had used on 8707h. According to manuals, it was necessary to log in to Blackberry’s website at blackberry.com to change PIN and IMEI into ones of the Blackberry Bold, as well as to send a service book to the new device. Doing so, three email icons according to the email accounts I’d used so far appeared on the Blackberry Bold’s screen.
I configured its WiFi settings so that I can use it over the wireless LAN in my room, and set up Bluetooth so as to send files to my Nokia smartphones. I installed Google Sync into it to synchronize contacts into Gmail’s ones. Other than them, I installed twitterberry, a news reader and other utilities to make it more convenient when commuting to and from office.
Now the setups are almost complete, except for one problem with USB connection to my PC. I installed Blackberry Desktop Manager on my PC running Windows XP and connected my Blackberry Bold to it with a USB cable, but nothing was detected. When I connect my 8707h with the same USB cable to the PC, it can be normally detected. Why? Windows XP problem? Or problems with settings of the Blackberry Bold? Please tell me why if you have any idea.

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Softbank has announced today that 16 types of its "2008 winter model" cell phones will be released this winter. Among them, Nokia N82 will be on sale in the middle of this November and Nokia E71 in this December.

Nokia N82 is a tiny, light cell phone with a 5 Megapixels of digital camera where an auto-focused Carl-Zeiss Tessar lens and a Xenon flashlight are equipped. HSDPA data receptions, Bluetooth v2.0 (A2DP, HFP, HSP, DUN, BPP and more profiles), wireless LAN connections (IEEE802.11 b/g) are available. You can play YouTube motion videos with it. An internal GPS antenna is equipped and navigation is available using NAVITIME for Smartphone or Nokia Maps.

Nokia E71 is a business-use smartphone with a QWERTY-style full keyboard, covered with stainless steel. It's a bit smaller than Nokia E61, the previous model, and unlike E61, this has a 3.2-Megapixel camera. HSDPA connections and wireless LAN access are also available like N82.

These phones will be released from Softbank Mobile, but unlike other Japanese typical cell phones, they has no "Softbank" logos printed on their body.nor are they named any carrier-oriented model numbers like "X03NK". They are called just "Nokia N82" or "Nokia E71", like those sold in the rest of the world.

They attract me very much. I want to get at least one of them!

My Blackberry
The nearest DoCoMo Shop had informed me that a new Blackberry device (Blackberry 8707h) had arrived, so I got there this Monday and bought it. The handset costed 28,000 Yen. Very reasonable.

Setup is very easy. I keep three of my email addresses (including Blackberry-specific one) in this handset. I can catch incoming mails and reply to them, wherever I am. The key strokes are very confortable. Even if you type long emails your thumbs won’t get tired.

I’m not saying that I got completely accustomed to this gadget right now, but soon I will. This must soon become the item that I can’t do without, as many Americans may think.

NTT DoCoMo, one of Japan’s major cell phone carriers, announced that in August this year it would sell Blackberry devices to public. NTT DoCoMo is the only carrier that has the right to distribute Blackberry in Japan.

Although Blackberry is today an essential communications tool for those from businesspersons to general people in the world, Japan has been the only first-place country where no Blackberry services for individuals are currently available. The only exception is Blackberry Enterprise Service (BES) provided by NTT DoCoMo to corporations only, but BES is closed to private persons because NTT DoCoMo fears that Blackberry may affect the sales of I-mode, one of NTT DoCoMo's core competences. There are no other mobile carriers that can offer Blackberry services, so Japanese people, except some lucky persons whose employer has BES for them, have no chance to enjoy communicating with the device.

This announce means that NTT DoCoMo is opening the door to the world. The mobile services Japanese people are currently using have been closed within Japan. Most of them are cutting-edge, but are useless if you get outside this country. This opening of Blackberry will help Japanese people to get in touch with what people in the world are usually doing in their daily life.