Japan's DoCoMo plans new app platform for phones

Jul 09, 2010
Pedestrians use their mobile phones as they walk past a NTT docomo shop in Tokyo in 2008. Japan's number one mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo has said it will add a new application platform to its "i-mode" handsets this year as it tries to catch up with Apple's runaway iPhone success.

Japan's number one mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo has said it will add a new application platform to its "i-mode" handsets this year as it tries to catch up with Apple's runaway iPhone success.

NTT DoCoMo will allow third-party individuals to develop applications for the company's 50 million "i-mode" users, spokeswoman Makiko Furuta said.

DoCoMo revolutionised Japan's with the 1999 launch of its i-mode service, which brought internet services to mobile phones. However, DoCoMo restricted the number of app developers, citing quality control issues.

But the recent emergence of systems such as Google's Android and Apple's App Store for the iPhone and has prompted DoCoMo to loosen its controls and allow individuals to easily create and offer apps and services.

"The open platform is everywhere in the world today and as the market changes, we would like to provide a platform similar to the smartphone for our i-mode customers," Furuta said. The new platform will be launched in November.

DoCoMo's lead is being nipped by the popularity of US-based Apple's iPhone, which accounted for 72 percent of smartphones sold in Japan in two years, according to a recent survey by Tokyo-based MM Research Institute Ltd (MMRI).

While that corresponds to five percent of the total mobile phone market, the figure illustrates that the Californian company is making inroads into Japan's notoriously tough-to-crack market.

DoCoMo's rival Softbank is the exclusive carrier for the in Japan.

In April DoCoMo launched Xperia, which allows users to download apps from Google's Android market.

The Japanese operator services a "DoCoMo market" for smartphone users that allows consumers to access apps from around the world.

Earlier this week said it aimed to release an electronic book by next spring to compete with Apple's iPad, which has sold more than three million units worldwide since its April launch.

Explore further: The UK doesn't yet need net neutrality regulations

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Japan's NTT DoCoMo to launch Xperia smart phone

Jan 21, 2010

Japan's top mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo Inc. Thursday said it will launch Sony Ericsson's Xperia smart phone in April, in a direct challenge to heavyweight Apple's iPhone handsets.

DoCoMo invests $45.5M in US mobile video firm

Jul 06, 2009

(AP) -- NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile phone operator, said Monday it spent $45.5 million to take a 35 percent share in a U.S. company that makes multimedia technology for its mobile phones.

Openwave to Support Leading i-mode Phone

Aug 09, 2004

To Ship with i-mode Compliant Openwave Mobile Browser Version 7 Openwave Systems Inc., the leading provider of open software products and services for the communications industry, today announced a collaboration with SAGE ...

Japan phone makers team up to develop new platform

Apr 26, 2010

Four leading Japanese electronics makers said Monday they will team up with top network operator NTT DoCoMo to develop the operating system for its next-generation cellphones, due for launch next year.

NTT DoCoMo expands i-mode to Hong Kong

Jun 01, 2006

A decade ago NTT DoCoMo was the mobile arm of Japan's single-biggest phone carrier, which dominated the domestic market that it more or less focused on exclusively. These days, the company continues to be one of the biggest ...

Recommended for you

The UK doesn't yet need net neutrality regulations

17 hours ago

The net neutrality debate in the US has ended, at least for now, with the Federal Communications Commission ruling for stricter regulation of telecoms and internet service providers (ISPs) in order to maintain ...

Italy adopts plans to shift into Internet fast lane

23 hours ago

Italy's government adopted a six-billion-euro plan Tuesday to modernise its Internet network and improve access to broadband in hopes of shedding its reputation as one of Europe's online laggards.

Phone firms and the quest for the 5G Holy Grail

Mar 03, 2015

Lightning-quick downloads, driverless cars and remote surgery: telecom firms are racing to develop a new generation of "5G" mobile networks that could start to change the world in five years.

Google to offer own cellular network plan

Mar 02, 2015

Google will soon be offering cellular network plans in a bid to bridge the gap between the realms of Internet services and mobile device software it dominates.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.