KDDI Reveals More Plans
By Eric Lin, Mon Jul 12 22:45:00 GMT 2004

The music download service was just the tip of the iceberg. KDDI looks to be a serious threat to FOMA's 3G burgeoning domination in Japan

KDDI may have lost its previous lead over NTT DoCoMo, but it won't settle for second place. Last week's announcement that KDDI would launch a music download service was just the start of a barrage laying out its near-term plans for handsets and content. Only days after I pointed out that NTT DoCoMo's 3G handsets were far more appealing than KDDI's, KDDI launches 3 new handsets that are ready to compete -- both design and feature wise.

The carrier continues its use of BREW for downloadable applications, however instead of using Qualcomm's new BREW environment to develop an interface, KDDI instead has chosen to use Macromedia's Flash Lite. The three new handsets all have interfaces partially developed using Flash. KDDI will launch a new portal that uses Flash Lite as well to further make use of the flexibility and graphics power. However unlike what a Western carrier might demand, the interfaces do not graphically match the portal, despite both being developed with the same tools.

KDDI has also committed to bringing fuel cells to its line up. The carrier tapped both Toshiba and Hitachi to develop working fuel-cell powered prototypes by the end of FY 2005. 3G phones are already notorious for how power hungry they can be. Searching for alternate fuel sources is an obvious development if KDDI wants users to make the most of 3G services as well as other power hungry next generation handset features like music playback or TV viewing.