Actress Maki Horikita, Docomo's Ryuji Yamada, Actor Ken Watanabe
After KDDI (TYO:9433) rolled out its new summer smartphone lineup yesterday, rival carrier NTT Docomo unveiled its own repertoire of handsets today. The entire lineup includes 16 smartphones, all of which will run Android 4.0, the most notable among them being the Samsung’s Galaxy III and the flashy Sharp Evangelion phone.
The company also announced that it will be supporting its new lineup with what it’s calling ‘Docomo Cloud.’ Among the many services included will be its very impressive Shabette Concier voice command application (or personal assistant, if you prefer Apple terminology) which has been downloaded 2 million times already. In June the service will be ‘enhanced,’ says Docomo.
The carrier will also provide a message translation service called Mail-Hon’yaku-Concier. It will be able to handle Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean to start, and will be able to translate things such as email and social networking messages. In addition to that, Docomo will provide a ‘Photo Collection’ service with five gigabytes of free storage this coming August. The company will also offer a flat-rate anime and music service for 420 yen per month (about $5).
It’s great to see Docomo’s Android lineup being bolstered in so many ways, although it does bring to mind a quote from Innovation Works Kaifu Lee cited by my colleague earlier today on why some companies fail in the mobile space:
[Some companies] try to use Android to create their own iPhone-style high-profit closed ecosystem, which isn’t realistic.
Of course Docomo is not just any company when it comes to mobile, and like the other Japanese carriers it has been very good at squeezing cash from its 60 million strong subscriber base. During the press conference, Docomo’s Ryuji Yamada again fielded the “still no iPhone” question, something he’s surely sick of doing. Docomo still does not carry the iPhone (carried by KDDI and Softbank), and he noted that “under the current situation, introduction of the iPhone could be quite difficult.”
But does Docomo even need the iPhone? Its new cloud offerings do help to make its ecosystem a little more current and its network a little bit more intelligent.
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