Wii-Like Cellphones Debut in Japan

This is incredibly cool, yet terrifying. Japan's NTT DoCoMo is launching a new line of cellphones with motion sensing capabilities starting next month. The 904i-series includes a phone called the P904i that will work like a Nintendo Wii controller. According to DoCoMo's Managing Director, mobile phone gamers will be able to use the cellphone's camera to play boxing games, since it picks up the player's movements as he ducks or punches. You can see him on this video playing Katamari Damacy. He said 68 games will be released at launch time. The phones all have different capabilities, but all of them will be capable of switching between two-phone numbers/email accounts, banking abilities, and music subscription programs. Sounds like a great idea, until someone punches you in the eye while playing a boxing match on the subway, no? What do you think? Good or bad idea?Motionsensing Press Release

New services

  • 2in1 support

    This service provides the capabilities of two separate handsets in one single unit. Under a single FOMA card, users are provided with two phone numbers and two i-mode mail addresses*, and these are accessed independently by means of a Mode Switching function ("A Mode", "B Mode" and "Dual Mode"). Switching between modes changes the phone number, i-mode mail address, address book, mail boxes and call history. When using A Mode, the customer cannot view B Mode, and vice-versa -- a feature that greatly enhances security.

    A Mode refers to the number and i-mode mail address assigned to the user under a basic DoCoMo service contract. When the user signs up for 2in1 service (FOMA Type 2in1; 945 yen per month, incl. tax), they are given a second phone number and mail address for use as B Mode. Communications charges for B Mode apply to billing plans contracted for under A Mode. Some optional fee-based network services subscribed to under A Mode -- for example, voice mail -- can be used in B Mode at no additional cost.
    *The mail address for B Mode is only for Web mail use.

  • Uta-hodai support

    Users can download full music tracks from i-mode sites supporting Uta-hodai for a flat monthly subscription fee. When downloading, users will accrue an i-mode information fee and packet communication charges. DoCoMo suggests that users planning to download a significant volume of data every month consider subscribing to flat-rate data communication billing plans "pake-hodai" or "pake-hodai full".
    *Uta-hodai compatible services are provided by music distribution sites via i-mode.

  • Chokkan Game support

    Users can select games from sites supporting Chokkan Game and download them into their handsets. Games are played using intuitive motion, such as tracing a finger, tilting or waiving the handset. Game content will determine the type of intuitive motion used during play.
    †Chokkan Game for P904i and SH904i uses GestureTek Inc.'s GestureTek EyeMobile as the interface

1 comment

  1. nesthead6 2 May, 2007 at 08:16

    Gina, first of all love your blog.. very useful, fun and well written.

    One comment on the recent buzz (here and elsewhere)around DoCoMo’s release of Wii-like cellphones. This is not by any means a “debut”. At least two years ago Sharp had a few phones on the market through Vodafone Japan (VFKK – previously J-phone, now Softbank Mobile). The Sharp models used MDS (motion detection sensors) to do things such as navigate through menus by tilting the phone up and down, sending a message by flicking your wrist, and there were a few games – one that I remember was a game for prefecting your golf swing. Users would hold the phone like they were gripping a club and swing. The phone would show results of how good your swing was. Yes, this is basic compared to the recent Docomo gaming platform, but I think Sharp and to some degree Vodafone KK deserve some credit for bringing this to life. It is possible to imagine that this may have actually been the inspiration for the Wii. Additionally, Docomo is essentially using their power and momentum in the market to build on the success of the Wii and leverage their strategic partnerships with device manufactures and game developers who are eager to be a part of this. Good for them!

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