Shunkosha currently has FeliCa NFC-enabled straps installed on the Ginza and Marunouchi train lines for a trial period which started yesterday, and will extend to June 3rd. Users simply need to touch their phone and obtain the embedded URL for the website being promoted by the ad campaign. For now, the travel agency HIS will be the advertiser in this initial phase.
It looks to be a process marginally easier than scanning a QR code, although I wonder how many people will actually use it after the novelty has worn off.
I still think that gaming might be a better way to advertise to people than by sending them to a URL. Perhaps some kind of real-life card collection game, where you can only obtain certain cards in specific locations as with the Japanese location-based game Colopl.
That would certainly be something I’d like to see the Japanese Tourism Agency get behind, for domestic tourists as well as those from overseas, especially Korea and China.
The SM-T300, from Star Micronics, is a mobile printer for smartphones.
“This is a printer you can carry with you. It can be used outdoors for mobile purposes. For example, it can print from an iPad, smartphone, or Android device.”
The SM-T300 has a rubber-type case that can withstand being dropped from 1.5 meters. It’s also waterproof and dustproof, meeting the IP54 international standard.
“Basically, this product is for printing receipts and delivery slips. The battery lasts up to 11 hours, so you can use this printer for a long time. It communicates with the host device through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. We offer a special-purpose communication support library for sending data.”
The SM-T300 also comes with a magnetic card reader as standard. So it can be used to issue receipts for delivery services, and to bill for simple transactions at events.
The Case Marine, Gooma’s waterproof soft case for smartphones, has a waterproof rating of IPX8, which is the highest class in JIS (Japan Industrial Standards).
“This is the Case Marine. Until now, waterproof cases for smartphones haven’t looked very good, as they’ve all been bulky. But we’ve developed a stylish, attractive case. It’s made of 0.25mm polyurethane with a special finish. The screen part is made of acrylic.
“Our current line-up is for the iPhone 4S and the Galaxy S2. Next, we plan to release an iPad case. The Premium versions are priced at 3,000 yen ($37), and the Lite ones at 1,200 yen ($15(). The iPad case will be available for about 4,000 yen ($50).”
Xperia GX SO-04D
“First, let me show you the Xperia GX. The G in GX stands for Great, because this model gives you a great new experience. The design is based on an arc, as this has been popular before. So we’ve pursued a very slim, curved form, while also providing a 4.7-inch screen and supporting the Xi LTE service.”
“A TV dock is also available for the Xperia GX. Some previous smartphones have been connectable to TVs, but because this one supports Xi, it works very fast, even when you’re looking at the browser like this. You can connect a keyboard and mouse to the smartphone using Bluetooth, so you can use it with any kind of TV.”
Xperia SX SO-05D
“Our second model is the Xperia SX. Our aim with the SX is to offer a smart, stylish model. This is the world’s smallest smartphone with Xi. As it is aimed at the Japanese market, it supports infrared connection, mobile TV, and the mobile wallet service. The SX is mainly intended for women, but we’ve designed the color schemes with men in mind as well, they include black and eye-catching orange.”
PayPal Introduces ‘PayPal Mobile Payments Standard’ and ‘Mobile Commerce in a Box’ Solutions for Singapore Businesses17 May
According to statistics released from PayPal Online and Mobile Shopping Insights 2011, mobile shopping here in Singapore is expected to increase from S$328 million (US$259 million) in 2011 to a whopping S$3.1 billion (US$2.4 billion) in 2015. And with nearby half of all online shoppers making a purchase on their smartphone devices while on-the-go, businesses ought to start looking at how they should adapt to such shopping behaviors.
Today PayPal officially released two solutions in Singapore: “PayPal Mobile Payments Standard” and “Mobile Commerce in a Box,” to help Singapore businesses increase their mobile conversions and sales, as well as engage mobile shoppers.
In a press conference today, Rahul Shingal, director of PayPal Mobile Asia Pacific said,
PayPal is aggressively driving this change by streamlining the payment process in as little as two clicks on web-enabled mobile devices for millions of consumers and businesses across the world. The time is right for Singapore’s retail industry to go multichannel by offering mobile-optimized checkout and mobile shopping websites to take advantage of this major change in consumer shopping behavior.
In a nutshell, both solutions aim to streamline mobile shoppers’ experience. “PayPal Mobile Payments Standard” solution automatically provides all merchants accepting PayPal on their websites with a mobile payment checkout experience optimized for mobile devices like iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Android. PayPal intelligently detects when users are making payments from their mobile devices, and seamlessly redirects them to a mobile-optimized payment page, even when the website is not optimized for mobile devices yet. So, if you own a e-commerce site which is currently using PayPal, this mobile optimized payment checkout is already available without additional integration. As for merchants who’d like customers to enjoy such transactions, all you need to do is to integrate PayPal into your site and ta-dah, customers can complete their payment in just two clicks.
But we also need to bear in mind that while a better checkout experience translates into increased mobile sales, it is essential for businesses to offer a mobile-optimized website to compete in the e-commerce marketplace today. So PayPal is offering “Mobile Commerce in a Box,” which aims to help businesses present a mobile shopfront, enhancing the entire shopping experience. PayPal claims to be able to do it within an hour there will be no additional costs incurred for businesses. So now, the mobile shopfront will have larger product photos, buttons, links, and text to make it easy to shop while on-the-go, on top of being able to make payments in just two clicks. That certainly sounds exciting, especially for folks who love shopping on-the-go, like myself.
The two solutions are an effort to retain two-thirds of Singaporean mobile shoppers stopping a mobile transaction due to hassle of keying in financial details on a small screen, and help three out of four Singaporean businesses without mobile friendly websites to increase their reach of mobile shoppers.
With these two solutions, PayPal is hoping that businesses will benefit from lower bounce rates, increased browsing timings, higher conversion rates, and eventually an increase in mobile sales. For those e-commerce owners who are looking to use this mobile commerce solution, PayPal merchants using ZenCart or osCommerce shopping carts can download, install, and use the free PayPal Mobile Store Plugin which will convert existing online stores into a fully optimized mobile shopfront.
MoboTap, the makers of the popular Dolphin Browser for iOS and Android, has announced a partnership with Japanese carrier KDDI in which Dolphin will be pre-loaded on future Android phones. KDDI just unrolled a new lineup of handsets yesterday, and according to the folks over TechCrunch, some of those phones will come with Dolphin pre-loaded.
The browser first debuted as a featured app in KDDI’s app store last month, and since then MoboTap says it has seen more than 20,000 downloads. This new agreement should give Dolphin a strong foothold in Japan, as KDDI is the nations second largest carrier with about 35 million subscribers.
KDDI’s senior vice president Makoto Takahashi commented on bringing Dolphin aboard the carrier’s phones:
Dolphin’s success piqued our attention and they were a clear choice as our pre-loaded browser. […] We are excited about this partnership which will bring Dolphin’s impressive portfolio of unique browsing experiences to our subscribers. We are looking forward to a deeper relationship for the next era.
According to figures cited in its announcement, MoboTap’s Dolphin Browser has over 16 million total downloads globally. As I understand it, Mobotap is an international team with bases in the US and China. It was established in March 2010, and the company’s founder and CEO is Yongzhi Yang. I’ve been in contact with them this morning, and hope to bring you some updated figures on how Dolphin is doing in Asia soon.
Apple Inc plans to use a larger screen on the next-generation iPhone and has begun to place orders for the new displays from suppliers in South Korea and Japan, people familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.
The new iPhone screens will measure 4 inches from corner to corner, one source said. That would represent a roughly 30 percent increase in viewing area, assuming Apple keeps other dimensions proportional. Apple has used a 3.5-inch screen since introducing the iPhone in 2007.
Early production of the new screens has begun at three suppliers: Korea’s LG Display Co Ltd, Sharp Corp and Japan Display Inc, a Japanese government-brokered merger combining the screen production of three companies.
It is likely all three of the screen suppliers will get production orders from Apple, which could begin as soon as June. That would allow the new iPhone to go into production as soon as August, if the company follows its own precedent in moving from orders for prototypes for key components to launch.
Apple’s decision to equip the next iPhone with a larger screen represents part of a competitive response to Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.
Samsung unveiled its top-of-the line Galaxy smartphone with a 4.8-inch touch-screen and a faster processor earlier this month.
With consumers becoming more and more comfortable using smartphones for tasks they once performed on laptops, like watching video, other smartphone manufacturers have also moved toward bigger displays.
AESTHETICS AND DESIGN
A likely shakeup in the design of a larger-screen iPhone could go a long way in boosting its “wow” factor, convincing fans to trade in their old iPhones for new ones, said Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee.
“Not only do users pay for features, but they also pay for aesthetics and design. That’s as important, or more important, than features,” Wu said. “People love the current design—but it’s 18 months old.”
The latest iPhone 4S was introduced in October of last year and essentially has the same form factor as the iPhone 4, launched in 2010.
Samsung, which this year became the world’s largest cell phone maker, sold 45 million smartphones in the first quarter, and sales of the Galaxy phones outstripped the iPhone.
Apple was not immediately available to comment.
Apple’s move toward a larger display for the next generation iPhone was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal.
In addition to being Apple’s rival, Samsung is also a major components supplier to the U.S. computer, tablet and phone manufacturer.
The share of the production of new screens that go to each of the three manufacturers working with Apple has not been determined, one source said.
Sales of the touch-screen iPhone now account for about one-half of Apple’s total sales, and the phone has been a key source of growth for the company in Asia.
A report in March by a South Korea business newspaper said Apple would use a “retina” display on the next iPhone, the same technology in its latest iPad that enhance image quality.
Google on Wednesday began making its search engine smarter in a major upgrade that looks beyond query words to figure out what people are actually seeking online.
“Knowledge Graph” technology built to recognize people, places or things signified by keywords took its fledgling steps in the United States with the hope of eventually extending it to Google searches worldwide.
“The Knowledge Graph is built to understand real things in the world,” said Google fellow Ben Gomes, who has worked on search at the California-based company for more than a decade.
“It is the beginning of a long journey we will be on to cover more topics and more complex queries.”
Gomes envisions Google search being able to eventually answer tricky questions such as where to attend an outdoor Lady Gaga concert in warm weather or the location of an amusement park near a vegetarian restaurant.
For now, people using US Google search in English will start seeing on search pages boxes suggesting what they are interested in finding.
A demonstration showed that searching on the word “Kings” in California, for example, prompted the search engine to point out that one is likely interested in a hockey team, basketball team, or film.
Using the keyword “Andromeda” prompted Knowledge Graph to note one might be interested in a galaxy, a television series, or a Swedish rock band.
Clicking on a suggested topic instantly refined search results.
Google painstakingly adjusted its algorithm to comb information from databases such as Freebase and Wikipedia to give context to words and then use general search patterns when it comes to what people tend to want, Gomes said.
Searches on specific subjects such as an architect’s name triggered Knowledge Graph results offering to dive into categories such as biographical information or projects designed.
Google added a serendipity factor by surfacing potentially surprising facts.
For example, a search on “Simpsons” cartoon creator Matt Groening resulted in a Knowledge Graph box that noted his parents and sister have the same first names as his well-know fictional characters—Homer, Margaret and Lisa.
“Text strings are ambiguous; we have to make a lot of changes to understand real world entities,” Gomes said.
“This has been an exciting problem for us and we have been attacking it for two years.”
Google’s Knowledge Graph has been programmed to recognize more than 500 people, places, or things using a combined total of about 3.5 billion attributes and associations between bits of information.
“People ask about anything you can think about and lots of things you never thought about,” Gomes said.
Google included links searchers can click to point out when the Knowledge Graph gets something wrong.
“Not everything is going to be correct,” Gomes said. “We put a tremendous amount of work into it but even if it was perfect facts change every day.”
The change was expected to affect a large number of queries, and was tailored with mobile gadgets in mind since it lets people dive deeper into searches with taps of touchscreens.
“It is very useful on a mobile phone, and really cool on a tablet,” Gomes said.