20050915

Count your beams

NTT DoCoMo's expansion strategy has always been clear : globalizing, diversifying beyond voice and widening the reach of mobility itself.
Internationalization's been quite shaky for DoCoMo the investor, and rather disapointing for DoCoMo the Application Service Provider / Licensor : FOMA remains basically local and i-mode subscriptions remain minor overseas. Yet, step by step, more spots are covered. Israel and Russia are joining the i-mode community and even if the service manages to limit it's penetration to 5 to 10% everywhere it exists, that's sustainable. Not the massive revolution many dreamt of but DoCoMo didn't leverage on their 1999 momentum. By the time i-mode reached Europe, WAP was back on tracks with decent services and a better business model.
Diversification beyond voice is no more a strong asset for DoCoMo, who don't even rule in the area. They're better at widening the reach of mobility. The collapse of Simpay definitely means good news for FeliCa but I'm not sure ToruCa™ can make it overseas. This information-capture concept requires handset upgrades (coming up soon in Osaifu-Keitais), but also specific writers / readers at the other end. Asking consumers to wave their handsets in front of new devices doesn't appeal as much as leveraging on RFID or even improving the good old beaming system so that they can transfer pictures or videos from their handsets to their TV sets.
Just like FOMA with W-CDMA, IrSimple is supposed to be an IrDA improvement - in other words : DoCoMo gains a TTM advantage in the short term and potential fees in the longer term.
ITX E-Globaledge Corporation and Sharp joined this new "global standard". Simplicity is very much needed. Humility could help too.



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