Huawei announces TalkBand B1, unlikely to be released in US
Huawei has announced its upcoming wearable tech device, the TalkBand B1. Described as both a fitness band and Bluetooth headset combined, the band has a removable earpiece that accepts calls, and when used in the band tracks physical activities including sleep. Its 90mAh battery can last up to six days powering the flexible OLED display. The TalkBand B1 is not anticipating release in the US, though will be available in Chinese markets next month, and Japan, the Middle East, Russia and Western Europe in the second quarter of 2014.
Sony starts selling PlayStation 4 in Japan months after US, European launches
Sony has launched the PlayStation 4 game console in Japan, months after shipping it to customers in the United States and Europe. While it has already sold 5.3 million units in other markets when competing against the Xbox One, the launch in Japan will be largely uncontested, with The Verge noting no news of an Xbox One launch in the country has been issued by Microsoft, and the Nintendo's Wii-U continues to sell poorly.
Supporting regions still under a dozen
Apple has brought its two-step verification process to several more countries, the company's support pages show. Until today, only the US, UK, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand were supported. Now however the list also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain.
Company is responsible for screens in current iPhones
Japan Display, the company currently responsible for manufacturing some of the screens for Apple's iPhone 5c and 5s, are readying an IPO offering to raise $4 billion in capital to expand production capacity and aid in development of future technologies. The company, formed of the display units from Hitachi, Sony and Toshiba and Japanese government backing, currently holds a 17 percent share of small and medium-sized displays in the world market.
Performance artist begins queuing before release announcement
A Japanese blogger decided to line up for the iPhone 6, after being spurned of his chance to be the first person in line for an iPhone 5. Apple fan and performance artist Yoppy donned his iPhone cosplay, and started queuing for the new phone outside of the flagship Apple store in Tokyo, Japan, likely to wait for months before an official announcement will be made about its release by the company.
Direct sales allows Scentee to expand outside of Japan
Consumers worldwide that have been waiting for smell notifications from their iPhone and iPad need wait no longer. Scentee, the gadget that emits aromas, began offering direct sales from their website for English versions of the scent puffing attachment outside of Japan for the first time.
iPod numbers half those shipped last year
In addition to its public announcement, Apple has also published a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its first-quarter results. Significantly, revenue from the Americas actually declined one percent year-over-year to $20.098 billion. This was compensated for by growth in other regions; Europe and Japan were up five and 11 percent (respectively), while "greater" China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) leapt ahead 29 percent to $8.844 billion. The growth was likely spurred by sales of new iPhones and iPads, since mainland China was made a first-tier launch country for the first time in 2013.
Japanese carrier claims market cannot support third mobile operating system
The first consumer Tizen device release has been stalled by Japan's largest carrier over concerns that the Japanese smartphone market cannot sustain a third mobile operating system. Plans by NTT DoCoMo to launch a device in March will now not take place, with the carrier citing a significant lack of overall growth of the market in Japan.
Bags usually highly sought-after
iPad Airs and MacBook Airs were among the contents of the Lucky Bags sold at Japanese Apple Stores this year, reports note. The bags, given away for the New Year, were first announced on December 26th alongside a one-day sale at the Japanese online Apple Store. People had to pay 36,000 yen (about $340) to reserve one, but didn't know what they would contain until they picked them up.
Apple Japan expected to launch 'Lucky Bag' sale starting January 2
Apple may be planning to celebrate the Japanese New Year with offerings of fukubukoro, or "lucky bags" beginning at 8AM local time on Thursday, January 2, two hours earlier than the usual opening time, according to an item on Japanese Mac fan site Otakara. Along with most other retailers, Japan's Apple Stores will offer a "lucky bag" at a present price that contains mystery items worth more than the asking price. In some cases, buyers have received a MacBook Air or an iPad.
BBC adds five free HD channels to high-definition lineup
The BBC will be adding five new channels to its lineup in the United Kingdom tomorrow for Freesat, Freeview, Sky, and Virgin Media users. The broadcaster will be adding HD versions of BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, CBBC, and CBeebies to its existing high-definition channel lineup, with the BBC advising that this brings the total subscription-free HD channel range from the corporation to seven. Earlier this year, the BBC revealed it would be shutting down its dedicated 3D channel, due to a lack of viewers.
Apps were previously English-only
Google has updated its Android and iOS Search apps with voice support for French, German, and Japanese. The upgrades let people both speak commands and hear responses in the new languages. Previously, non-English speakers had to type in any search requests.
Demographic skews older, and with more buyers under median income
"Almost half" of the people who bought the iPhone 5c in September and October were people switching from Android phones, particularly ones by Samsung and LG, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. By comparison, some 80 percent of iPhone 5s purchases were by people upgrading from a previous iPhone. Kantar also notes that over 40 percent of 5c buyers were earning less than $49,000 per year, versus roughly 20 percent for the 5s. 5c buyers also tended to skew older, with an average age of 38 instead of the 5s' 34.
Amazon brings video streaming service to Japan
Amazon has now opened up the Japanese version of its Instant Video streaming service, it was revealed today. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new service features more than 26,000 imported movie and television offerings. Rentals for the service start at 100 yen (about $0.98).
New iPhones, NTT DoCoMo contributing factors
The iPhone accounted for 76 percent of Japanese smartphone sales during the month of October, according to Kantar World Panel data. Specific reasons for Apple's dominance are unmentioned, but are likely attributable to two factors. The first is the launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c on September 20th, since model refreshes always cause a surge in Apple sales. The other, though, is the addition of NTT DoCoMo as a carrier.
Samsung's market share continues to decline in Japan
Samsung may sell the most smartphones in the world overall, but the South Korean tech giant is struggling in Japan even as its chief rival, Apple, achieves greater heights. Sunday brought word from The Korea Herald that Samsung's share in the Japanese smartphone market dropped again last quarter, making for four straight quarterly declines. Last quarter, Samsung moved just one million units in Japan, only about one-fourth the total that Apple sold.
BCN rankings put Apple on top of Japanese smarpthone sales
Apple's newest iPhones aren't just popular in Japan, they account for each of the top 10 selling smartphone slots in that country. This according to BCN Rankings, which charts the top selling devices in Japan from week to week. The week ending November 4 marked the first time in history that one smartphone brand had taken all of the spots in BCN's top 10.
iPhone 5c seeing most traction in US, data suggests
The iPhone 5s represents about 3.8 percent of active iPhones worldwide, according to new tracking data from Localytics. The iPhone 5c holds a share of just 1.7 percent; the most popular model at the moment remains the iPhone 5, sitting at 39.8 percent. The 4S is at 32.9 percent, while the three-year-old iPhone 4 is at 20.2.
Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi adopted by Japan Airlines, rolls out mid-2014
Gogo's in-flight Wi-Fi is heading to Japan, with the entire Japan Airlines (JAL) fleet of domestic planes set to offer the service. The move, following Delta Airline's adoption of Gogo on its international fleet, will see all 77 JAL domestic aircraft start offering the Ku-band satellite Internet service to customers beginning in the summer of 2014, writes Engadget.
North America to continue Nintendo Wii sales over holiday season
North America is the last major market to still receive shipments of the Nintendo Wii, after an announcement concerning European availability. Shipments of the game console to retailers in Europe have now ceased, following a similar announcement covering Japan earlier this week, but shipments of the motion-sensitive console to the United States will not be affected in any way.
Quad-core 1.4GHz ARM processor in Tizen tablet for developers
The first tablet running the Linux-based Tizen operating system has launched in Japan, though as a developer focused offering. The Tizen Build Kit from Systena not only offers a development tools and manuals for the operating system, as well as consulting services for development on the platform, but also a 10.1-inch tablet with Tizen 2.1 pre-installed.
Google Chromecast app available internationally, hints at possible global release
Google could be launching its Chromecast dongle internationally in the near future. Apps for the device are now available to download in other countries, according to Android Central, with a number of users noting that it can be gained from Google Play in the UK, Germany, India, Canada, and Panama. Though Amazon has started to ship the media streaming dongle internationally, Google has yet to do the same.
Developers warned about impending changes
Prices at the Japanese App Store are going up as of October 17th, Apple is warning developers in a new email. The adjustment is being made to accommodate fluctuations in the value of the yen. Both Mac and iOS apps will be affected by the hikes, the company says.
Marketing efforts also a factor in Sony's change of priorities
Sony could be relaxing its push to release smartphones in the United States, in order to protect its sales in Japan and Europe. CEO Kaz Hirai advised that, in terms of smartphone sales, Sony's "biggest priority is maintaining our share in Japan or increasing it," as it attempts to fight off the rising popularity of the iPhone in its home country.
Brightly-colored Galaxy J unlikely to see non-Japan release
Samsung has launched another Galaxy-branded smartphone, coming to NTT DoCoMo in the future as part of its new seasonal roster, alongside the Sony Xperia Z1f. The Galaxy J, shown by the Japanese carrier to be available in white, blue, and pink, appears to be a mix of the physical design of the Galaxy S 4 with Galaxy Note 3-inspired internals.
Amount substantially less that originally demanded
The Tokyo District Court has ordered Apple to pay $3 million in damages to a Japanese inventor, Norihiko Saito. Saito first filed a lawsuit against Apple five years ago, alleging that the clickwheel found on the Classic and some older iPods violates a patent of his. He originally called for 10 billion yen in damages, or about $101 million, based on the strength of iPod sales at the time.
Two Android personal media players shipping later this year
Sony is continuing to extend its line of Walkman-branded personal music players with a raft of new models, including two Android devices. The Walkman NW-ZX1 and NW-F880 range, powered by Android 4.1, will be going on sale in Japan later this year, alongside new media players in the S-series and M-series ranges.
Margin even higher in some other countries
The iPhone 5s appears to be outselling the iPhone 5c by a ratio of 3.4 to 1 in the US, according to marketing and analytics firm Localytics. About 1.05 percent of all American iPhones are said to be the 5s, while the 5c represents just 0.31 percent. "This makes sense since those who feel the need to buy a new device the very weekend it launches are most likely the power users who want the highest-end phone experience," writes Localytics marketing VP Bernd Leger.
5G concept promises high speed, high capacity, low latency
Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo is planning to demonstrate what it believes to be the successor to current 4G LTE services. A stand at the CEATEC technology exhibition in Japan will have the carrier showing off its "concept for the next-generation mobile communication system," along with other items such as intelligent glasses and new models of smartphone.
Carriers offering iPhones for 'free' on some plans
Chinese carriers are heavily subsidizing the iPhone 5s and 5c to make them affordable in the country, rate cards show. Off-contract, even a 16GB 5c is 4,488 yuan, or over $730. China Unicom however has eight plans under which a 5c is available for free. At China Telecom, even the 5s is available for "free" under three plans, although these involve extremely long contracts and/or high fees.
Rockstar Games launches GTA V app with map, virtual pet
A companion app for Grand Theft Auto V has launched alongside the game. The free "iFruit" app, currently available for iOS but heading to Android and other phone platforms in the future, allows users to customize vehicles from outside the game, as well as a second app offering a manual and digital map for the game. A virtual pet, in the form of Chop the Dog, will reward players that look after it with in-game bonuses.
Deal may impose major burden on carrier
Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo agreed to make the iPhone 40 percent of its smartphone sales in order to secure a deal with Apple, Nikkei reports. The 5s and 5c will be the carrier's first iPhone models, since it previously refused to sell the device unless it could pre-install integrated service apps. Holding out has cost the company subscribers, many of whom have flocked to iPhone-ready rivals SoftBank and KDDI.
Touch ID sensor brings fingerprint recognition to iPhone
During Apple's omnibus iPhone and iOS 7 announcement today, Apple officially revealed the iPhone 5s. The device boasts Apple's new 64-bit A7 processor, and is constructed of "high-grade aluminum" with chamfered edges, now being offered in three colors: silver, gold, and a new "Space Gray" color. Also added to the phone are a new motion-sensing chip, as well as a greatly improved camera and flash system.
iPhone 5S, 5C should be carrier's first offerings
NTT DoCoMo has signed a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone, according to Yahoo Japan. Although Japan has always been expected to be one of the first countries to get the iPhone 5S and 5C when the devices launch later this month, to date Apple has only had regional iPhone deals with SoftBank and KDDI. Yahoo suggests that the first DoCoMo iPhones will indeed be arriving this fall.
Claim differs from most other reports, forecasts
(Updated with Loop denial) Apple is planning to introduce both new iPads and new iPhones at its event on September 10th, a source tells Bloomberg. Reports have typically indicated that Apple is only planning to introduce new iPhones. The company is in fact expected, for the first time ever, to launch two new lines simultaneously: a high-end iPhone 5S, and a cheaper mid-tier iPhone 5C.
Fits in with recent rumors
Apple will ship the high-end iPhone 5S and the mid-tier iPhone 5C to Japan on September 20, says local business publication Nikkei. The site moreover backs numerous recent reports that the 5S will have a gold color option, although it's still uncertain how it will fit in or replace current slate and silver models. In terms of carrier support, it's believed that SoftBank and KDDI will carry both new phones at launch, once again leaving NTT DoCoMo behind.
New countries to join August 16th
Apple is extending the number of eligible countries in its USB adapter takeback program. The program began in China August 9th, and is coming to the US on August 16th. Now also joining on the 16th will be Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK.
Expansion efforts center around Europe
Apple has officially expanded the reach of iTunes in the Cloud movie support to eight more countries. Of these, Japan may be the most prominent, although the other countries are located entirely within Europe. The list includes Austria, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Switzerland.
Carrier wants integrated services pre-installed
Efforts at building a "lifestyle system" are why NTT DoCoMo has yet to pick up the iPhone, CEO Kaoru Kato tells Reuters The carrier normally has apps pre-installed on its phones in order to support integrated services, but Apple has always blocked carriers from making any modifications to iOS. NTT also wants its logo on devices, another thing Apple has refused to allow.
High-resolution 4K monitor includes 10-point multitouch, stylus control
Sharp is introducing a new LCD touchscreen monitor with the ability to show 4K-resolution images, following on from its earlier non-touch version. The PN-K322B Ultra HD monitor has an IGZO display panel measuring 32 inches, and is mounted on an adjustable hinge, allowing its 10-point multitouch to be used, as well as its dedicated touch pen with a tip width of just 2mm (0.08 inches).
Inheritance of fraud from previous company heads caused lower sentences
Former bosses at Olympus have avoided going to prison over the $1.7 billion accounting fraud scandal. Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, a previous chairman at the camera company, and auditing officer Hideo Yamada received three year sentences that are suspended for five years, while executive vice president Hisashi Mori was handed sentence for two and a half years, suspended for three.
May all but confirm name of upcoming smartwatch
(Update: Also applied for in Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey) Apple has applied for an "iWatch" trademark at the Japan Patent Office, according to Bloomberg. The filing was originally made on June 3, but appears to have been made public just last week. The Japanese trademark application follows ones reportedly made in Russia and Jamaica, the latter dating back to December 2012.
Samsung safe from charges of violating media sync patents
Japan's Intellectual Property High Court has upheld the Tokyo District Court's dismissal of an Apple lawsuit against Samsung, according to Bloomberg. In August 2012, the District Court ruled that there was no merit to Apple allegations that Samsung had infringed on patents related to media sync on mobile devices. "Itís hard to believe the products belong to the range of technologies of the claimant," the judge in the case stated at the time. Apple was ordered to cover the costs of the lawsuit, but filed an appeal of the dismissal in October.
Final ruling to be issued later today
A court in Tokyo has ruled that several older Samsung smartphones violate an Apple "rubber-banding" patent, Reuters reports. The patent describes the way an iOS window bounces once a person has reached the end of a scrolling page. Samsung has sidestepped the patent with recent devices, changing its implementation of Android to only show a blue line at the end of a page, but the company could still potentially face damage payments and product injunctions. The court is expected to provide more details when it hands down a final ruling later today.
Company blames 'changes in foreign exchange rates'
Apple has raised prices for all iPad and iPod models in Japan, Bloomberg reports. "We made some pricing adjustments due to changes in foreign exchange rates," says local company spokesman Takashi Takabayashi. The yen has weakened against the US dollar, cutting into Apple's profits on the previous prices. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been attempting to fight the yen's deflation.
Bigger 256GB capacity replaces 64GB version, could appear elsewhere
Microsoft has rolled out its Surface Pro to Japan, as part of its plans to offer the slate computer in more countries, and has included an option for larger storage. A 256GB model will go on sale in the country on June 7th, and marks the first time Microsoft has increased the capacity for the Pro version of its tablets from the original 64GB and 128GB variants.
New 4K-capable televisions include optional DVR with 6-channel recording
Toshiba has revealed it will be launching a new set of 4K-capable televisions in Japan. The Regza Z8X range of UHDTVs, measuring 58, 65, and 84 inches, will include native support for NHK's "Hybridcast," a system the Japanese broadcaster is trialling which adds more information to TV programming through an Internet service.
HDTVs with 4K resolution includes Moth-Eye anti-reflection layer
Sharp is preparing to sell a pair of Ultra HD TVs in Japan, under the Aquos UD1 banner. The LC-60UD1 and LC-70UD1, measuring 60 inches and 70 inches respectively, both take advantage of Sharp's previously-demonstrated "Moth-Eye" technology, which uses a special layer above the LCD panel to significantly reduce glare, internal reflections, and light scattering.
List includes nine smartphones, one tablet, one Raku-Raku device
Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has revealed the lineup of mobile devices that it will start offering over the summer. Eleven models make the cut, including nine smartphones, one tablet, and one "Raku-Raku" simplified smartphone. Notable additions include a new Sony Xperia smartphone, the Aquos Phone Zeta, and the Aquos Pad tablet from Sharp.
Aims to replace paper with touchscreen e-ink display for note taking
Sony has been working on a device for using e-ink as digital paper in an educational setting. Aimed at universities as a replacement for pen and paper-based notetaking by students, the prototype is a 13.3-inch, 1200x1600-resolution, 16-level gray scale e-ink display-as-tablet with touchscreen capabilities, as well as stylus input for drawing and writing.