updated 04:00 pm EST, Thu December 27, 2007
Google is making even deeper in-roads into the Japanese cellular market, reports say. Citing anonymous sources, Reuters claims that Google has signed a new deal with NTT DoCoMo, the country's largest wireless carrier, permitting a variety of applications to appear on DoCoMo's i-Mode network. These may include the likes of Gmail, Picasa and Calendar, according to Reuters.
If confirmed, the move may give DoCoMo a temporary edge in its home market. While both DoCoMo and number-two carrier KDDI are a part of Google's Open Handset Alliance, KDDI has not announced any Google features for existing phones. National business paper The Nikkei notes that DoCoMo is trying to forge the closest possible link with Google, to the exclusion of competitors.
The biggest obstacle to Google is Yahoo, which has signed similar deals with a number of Asian cellular providers. If Google wins over DoCoMo, however, it will gain access to some 49 million people, giving it an instant platform from which to contest Yahoo's dominance.