wifi “on the go” is not enough a conceptualization

Every morning at the Kikuna 菊名 station, where there is an ntt docomo wifi access point, I can not afford it because I am always busy commuting to the office. Every night at the same station, I try to get wifi but often the train arrives before getting the connection to it; so, I’d rather choose to jump in the train and head home than wifiing in the station.

After all, I started to ponder WIFI=”on the go” is a very difficult conceptualization. Getting wifi connection is not as fast as mobile phone messaging or mobile emails in this situation and, obviously, mobile phone does a far better job in messaging. Wifi “on the go” needs a few more adaptations before taking off.


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wifi in the lobby (or, no one but me is wifiing around here.)

Thanks for NTT docomo mzone so comfortable here. it only costs 350 yen or usd 3 or so a month if you have subscription with docomo mobile. extremely cheap compared to US counterparts – what is it ? T-zone 30 dollars a month?

You’d definitely need shozu which is very powerful in the wifi smartphone environment, would allow you to upload direct from mini sd card which is otherwise impossible without shozu.

BTW, Japan is a wifi paradise, in my opinion, thanks to Son san of softbank who has implemented whatever he believes.

The thing is it is not FON, docomo mzone, softbank mobile, google even, or any other wifi player that has extremely low awareness among conventional people. It is simply WIFI that’s not known until this day to the general public. Docomo mzone, softbank mobille, fon, google even and all the wifi providers should promote WIFI together to increase the awareness and to achieve the critical mass. Or,they all gonna fail.



wifi in the lobby, originally uploaded by kenjimori.

Shozu for X01HT

One of the things that are really annoying using smartphone photo is that you have to move files to PC before uploading to flickr. Today I’ve found the very useful tool called ShoZu that enables direct photo upload to flickr from smartphone (my case, X01HT, softbank mobile, Japan) :

It also allows up/download videos so I think the concept akin to dave winer et al talking a while back. I’ve found that Om Malik also likes shozu.

uploading photo via ShoZu from X01HT to Flickr

In terms of communication cost, the flat rate packet transmission for mobile plan in Japan initially increases after certain point in one step: that is, let’s say, $10 for the first some packets and the charge would increase straight until another point then becomes flat onwards. To use less packets, I tend to use wifi (of course, FON at home and outside, free of charge) and softbank BB mobile at McDonalds (which costs only $ 2 to $3 or something a month). Otherwise, I am gonna have to pay the full flat rate of JPY 4,200 (USD 35 or so) for packet in addition to mobile phone voice bill, which I don’t think so cheap as a personal use.

update: if you are in Tokyo, I strongly recommend to use NTT docomo mzone services, which costs only JPY 350 or 3 dollars a month with no extra if you subscribe to ntt docomo mobile service (that is, you have to live in Japan). This wifi service is available in most subway stations, some major trains like Toyoko line’s, Narita xpress, Keikyu Line, some Moss burgers, Tully Coffee, etc and some hotel lounge (right here I am getting access in the lobby of Nikko Hotel Tokyo).

Google Japan offers mobile gmail

Here is annoucement from Google Japan in Japanese, I could not figure out that when I first read this.

But, according to Markezine (in Japanese), Google Japan now offers mobile Gmail; namely, Docomo, AU, and Softbank. Yes, Softbank, which is strongly affiliated with Yahoo Japan. I used to be afraid Google might be more integrated with AU; but glad to see they include docomo and rival softbank, even.

1. Get access to the Internet, in my (daughter’s) case, via docomo

(BTW, myself now use softbank, my wife and daughter are super loyal docomo users. I coundn’t convince them.)

2. Go to http://gmail.com then it will bring you to the login screen.
login mobile gmail jp

3. After login, the list of incoming emails.

mobile gmail japan jp looks

Commoditizing mobile phone industry (JP)

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.

Softbank mobile X01HT promotes Yahoo as well as Google

IMAGE_080, originally uploaded by morikenstyle.

It is about neutrality. As long as it connects to the Internet via windows mobile 5.0 (this particular X01HT case), we get access to whatever the content we want to get access. Japan’s Softbank* mobile as a mobile carrier and a mobile terminal device provider ensures the Internet connection that includes Yahoo mail and Gmail. Even promotes Yahoo mail as well as Gmail in the softbank mobile in-store brochure. That’s quite fine. Then I was reminded of the CNET Japan article which published about a year and a half ago where softbank exec was preaching the open solution needed in mobile carrier/ content provider/ solution provider /distributor that collectively form the entire mobile (non-)ecosystem of Japan. (link)
note: *Softbank in effect operates Yahoo Japan, too.

THE SITUATION IS QUITE DIFFERENT WHEN YOU TAKE A LOOK AT “MOBILE” instead of THE INTERNET via win mobile 5.0:

But if you’d take a look at MOBILE (mobile-carrier’s net), Docomo, AU, and SOFTBANK all have their own sites, they are all silo and operate uniquely, unlike THE INTERNET. There seems little common ground. Yet, at one level, Google seems to try to make the mobile content searchable in one search box (BETA, the pic google box below in my daughter’s docomo).

google-in-docomo

But I heard Gmail now can be used only at AU’s under partnership agreement, but not at Docomo or Softbank, which I don’t think ideal so far. And I simply worry about the future of entire “MOBILE” (non-)ecosystem of Japan that could possibly collectively fall behind the global standards.

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FON, MYLO, X01HT at MIXI

おつかれさまでした (Congratulations)

fon night

あまり話を聞いてなかったが、昼間のプレスリリースと同じ内容だったと思います。

おつかれさまでした。(English: Congratulations! Though I was not really listening to the presentation since the place was so crowded, I suppose what he talked about was more or less the same with the press release made during the day time on the same 12/4.)

Here is from netafull, YouTube.

Best wishes,

Update: “FON” is ranked second as the popular keywords now (as of 11:16, 2006/12/05)
It moved up to the top as of 10:00am, 12/06, Japan time.

fontechnorati

Also the Blog TV video featuring Chigahara san of FON Japan, (in Japanese) aired the last Friday on Tokyo MX TV. (via blog tv official site)

MONTHS LATER: PODCAST cliraji featuring Chigahara san and Mashima san.

UPDATE: Fon community at mixi ミクシィのFONのコミュニティです  now reached 567 over the ten days, almost 4x of what it had prior to the launching campaign. キャンペーン開始前の約4倍、2006年年末時点でメンバーが750名を超えました。

Graph evolution of community at Mixi for FON, Mylo, and X01HT, updated 2007/01/21
FON, MYLO, X01HT

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See the spike right after the La Fonera free sampling campaign Dec 5-Dec 9

Using LISMO with Flickr

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)

lismo

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).

lismo_flickr

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.

mylo community at mixi

I got quite interested in MYLO, the new mobile device just released from SONY US (via techcrunch and 日本語 techcrunch Japan in Japanese).

I am particularly excited to see the situation that the hardware device like MYLO lets a user to choose one of Google talk, Yahoo messenger, and Skype as a messeging tool in the menu. Ironically, the situation has been totally the opposite where a bunch of manufacturers like Sony are to be selected in the internet shopping or auctioning environment and the price competition usually squeezes profit margins of manufactueres and retailers.

Checked if there is mylo community already established at mixi. There was already one dated Auguest 8, the day after the tech crunch reported. Now there are 18 members and I am the 19th. I think I am gonna try to get one when I will visit US (SFO) this Fall.

Update: Someone at mixi community provided the accompanying video from youtube.

Update2: Martin Varsavsky of Fon thinks Fon fits with MYLO well. I totally agree.

Update3: I’ve found skype blogs about mylo, too (in English and in Japanese 日本語のブログ).

Update 4: I like Giga OM review on mylo includes the spontaneous purchase intent survey in its post. It also notes that mylo targets MySpace set, then subsequently reminded me if the US congress will prohibit Sony from selling mylo to the minors. (I hope this will turn out to be a total joke!).

Update5: Engadet and its Japanese companion 日本語版

Oh, Joi Ito already got one