Softbank mobile’s Son-san reportedly annouced the new pricing program (note the article in Japanese, Nikkei, the content will disappear within a few months) for its mobile phone. Now he is going to offer JPY 980 (USD 8.3) for the basic communication cost, while the equivalent cost at minimum like JPY 2,500 (USD 22) + at its competitors like Docomo and AU. “Don’t even bother to compare!” adds Son-san.
Yesterday, I was trying to upload AU mobile phone pictured photos to flickr using AU’s LISMO software. It went something like this:
1) Download LISMO to my computer (WIN PC, in my case), obviously.
2) Sync photo files in my mobile phone with PC using USB enabled cord.
3) Photo images appear in the LISMO screen (below)
Like i-TUNES, this LISMO looked like a big silo as Doc Seals once so characterized i-TUNES. Then, I called AU customer support for assistance, asking how I can find the photo files in the windows explorer ’cause I knew I might need it in flickr interface.
The answer was: START=>right-click on MY COMPUTER=>Explorer=>C=>Documents and Settings =>All users=>ApplicationsData=>KDDI=> auMusicPortUserData=> AccountData=> 001=>Album=>2006=>7 (in case of photo taken July, 2006)
When I complained it is tedious, the support
stuff agent agreed and was kind enough to offer the alternative way. Export that “Album” folder by right clicking on it to Desktop. The solution was somewhat OK to me. I thanked him and hanged up the phone.
When I actually uploaded the photo, I happened to have remembered that flickr has its own uploader and tried it with LISMO with the drag and drop of the photo from LISMO to Flickr uploader. It worked just fine (below).
Why we take photo with mobile phone to begin with? To me, to share them with with friends and family on the Internet. Why would they provide the interface with your mobile phone device and PC (or Mac)? Displaying them in the proprietary software called LISMO in the PC is only half way and definitely not the end; uploading them in the public photo sharing site is the goal to me. I think AU should know the tips beforehand and educate the support
stuff about how a user can easily integrate with flickr and the like. That’s what taking photo with mobile phone is all about.
Seek vertical integration and proprietary profits later on, but focus on usability and openness earlier. It won’t happen overnight. Nonetheless, I am sure Yahoo mobile of Japan soon will provide the much easier interface with flickr (uploader). Note: flickr is a subsidiary of yahoo corporation.
LATER: I noticed the fundamental mistake of LISMO; it forgets to ask the email address of a user, which ideally can be asked at the time of sign up/download (well no sign up process, in fact). So it basically lacks the communication gateway such as mail magazine with a potential user except for mobile mail. But, since they downloaded LISMO it is the sign and indication the user is also a PC (or MAC) user and willing to integrate the mobile with PC (or MAC). For what it is worth, iTUNES and SONY MYCLIP even regularly email me with new release information.
According to CNET Japan, Japan’s three major mobile carriers, notably, Docomo, AU KDD, and YAHOO have agreed that Number Portability to be effective on October 24, while the details especially the fee asoociated with changing the carrier for the same number are yet to be known (CNET article in Japanese). I think given the competitive pressure and the nature of number portability, the fee would also be competitive.
About a week ago I was pondering to switch my keitai (cell phone) to either softbank (new Vodafone Japan, the new brand name yet to be known) or au, sometime this year when the number portability will be around. But, yesterday I happened to spot the “wansegu” keitai (ワンセグ in katakana) being on promotion in downtown, Tokyo. Well, after all, I couldn’t resist buying the one from au (model: W41H).
The deal was 0 yen for the equipment and the basic monthly phone bill would be about
$26 ($20)for the next 24 months, which is quite cheap (the withdrawal within 24 months would cost about $90 of cancellation charge) . So I signed up for it and now my family owns four keitai units for three of us. Well, you know I still feel the deal was that good.
Here is why:
WANSEGU: Quite simply, “wansegu” or “one seg” is the digital TV broadcast brought to your cell phone ; for now, the content is basically the same with those on analog network broadcast TV but in a much better quality. It claims its picture is stable even “on the go” situation. Yes, that is true: I enjoyed FM J-Wave (81.3FM, Tokyo) on my way to the station and digital TV in the train (but not in the subway) to the office this morning. Both FM and digital TV come at free of charge. In addition to the conventional TV content, it also features text-based weather news and news topics you can browse into the ez-web, which is the au original sort of mobile internet service at some cost of packets to navigate (as shown in the picture below.)
Or, you might also want to watch the TV in a bigger landscape display (2.7-inche wide) at home, at office, at sports game, or even inside the car (below). It says the battery lasts as long as 3.5 hours.
Overall, I felt it very good. Think of it as a game where internet and TV broadcast media compete for our time or attention. Some of us, my wife for one, spend more time with TV; others, me for one, tend to spend more at internet. It’s the occasion-based segmentation. And I think “on the go” is quite an under-developed ocassion.
Plus, it comes with
2(2.1) mega pixels, auto focus camera.
And also with LISMO, an iPOD alike music player (which I will report later).
[Full disclosure] (for fun) : Last night, I had the hanami party with friends including au guy, who does not know about this blog and that I am blogging. He came late and liked that I had this au keitai. I work for ad agency and consult for network broadcast TV, but I don’t think this post is biased in any way.