KDDI has inked a deal with Skype such that the VoIP service will be made available through a Skype Android app on KDDI's handsets; initially Sharp’s IS03 It appears that KDDI's partnership with Skype will be similar to Verizon's in the US, where Skype over WiFi will not be allowed, additional restriction is that Skype to land or mobile lines within Japan are also not possible.

More details at Mobile In Japan.

Posted
AuthorVinko
CategoriesAndroid

Again the news of a possible Apple's, industry leading, iTunes Music Store for the Japanese market is in the news. This rumor had been around for over a year now, each came with possible launch dates. The difference this time, is that the news is from the Asian recording company Avex (Chinese only site), which announced an agreement with Apple to distribute its holdings through Apple's iTunes Music Store starting August of this year. Of course, true to Apple's tradition, they have no comments on any unannounced product.

Given that Avex has one of the largest collection of works from Asian artists. The possibility of iTunes Music Stores exploding in the major Avex countries (Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Taiwan) is inevitable. I truly hope I am correct, since I have been waiting for iTMS to arrive in Hong Kong ever since iTMS was launched by Apple.

This is good news for all those music lovers (like myself) in Asia who want to and willing to purchase our music via the online medium.

It is not that there are not already legal downloads in Asia (for example EOLAsia), but the entry of the market leader into the area is definitely a significant indicator for all those record labels that are still on the fence.

While Asia is one of the most challenging market for companies like Apple to push legal downloads of content. I am sure all of Apple's competitors are watching to see how well Apple can pull this off. Since everyone knows that IP pirating is a major problem for most Asian countries.

When I used to work for SPSS, the Sales & Marketing team used to joke about the fact that they "sell a million copies of SPSS worldwide, but one to Asia".

Let's hope that the theory of "most people are honest and good" prevail and Apple can make these new Asian versions of the iTMS as successful as they did in the US and Europe.

Posted
AuthorVinko
CategoriesNews, opinion

Expo2005

After visiting the World Expo 2005 in Nagoya, Japan I like to share some of my experience for those who may wish to visit it.

The World Expo 2005 runs from March 25 - September 30, 2005 is hosted by Japan in the Aichi Prefecture area, Central Japan, near the city of Nagoya.

World Expo normally happens every 5 years and Expo 2010 had been won by China and will be hosted in Shanghai.

Expo2005

Advanced reservations are a must, if you like to visit all the popular pavilions without spending all your time waiting in lines; they are very very long. Waiting in line for 2 hours is not unusual. Advanced reservations are only available if you have an actual physical ticket, because the reservation system requires you to enter your (12 digits) Ticket Number. At the time of writing majority of the pavilions' advanced reservations are already full until June 26th.

Majority of the "most popular" pavilions issue "numbered tickets" for entry. You can read all about the different rules of these pavilions to plan your visit.

Some of the pavilions I think any visitors should not miss are:

  • Toyota Group Pavilion - its robots and "personal mover" show is a must see. Tickets goes extremely quick and if you do not have advanced reservations, you will want to be in line for the "numbered tickets" distribution at least 1.5 hours prior to the time at which they begin (twice daily).
  • Mitsui-Toshiba Pavilion - this is where you can experience the joy of staring in a Hollywood style movie. Although advanced reservation is suggested, you can also wait in line for entry.
  • Japan Pavilion Nagakute - has one of the most interesting video presentation.
  • Global House (Blue House) - featured the world's first 50 meter wide video screen by Sony.

Here are some of the pavilions you can safely skip:

  • JR Central Pavilion - this 3D movie of the world record maglev train is so boring, if you are tired you can easily fall asleep.
  • Earth Tower Nagoya City - although it has a world record size kaleidoscope, it definitely does not worth the long wait in line.

If you want to cover all the pavilions most will want to visit, you will need at least 3 days, given the amount of time you will be spending in line ups.

Dos

  • Do bring along a hat.
  • Definitely prepare some rain wear if there is any chance of rain in the forecast.
  • Do wear comfortable shoes and clothing.

Don'ts

  • Don't bother with eating at the German restaurant in the German/French Pavilion.
  • Don't bother bringing any drinks to the Expo [Editorial: except water carton, not the bottles you get from the convenient store], due to security reasons all drink containers are banded.
  • Don't miss the evening performance at Koi Pond

Definitely go there on a weekday, don't even think of going on a weekend or Japan public holiday, if you're planning a short visit to the Expo.

I found the best and most direct way to get to the Expo from Nagoya is via the Higashiyama subway line to Fujigaoka (290 Yen) where you transfer to the Linimo (Japan's first maglev train) to Banpaku Kaijo station (340 Yen), the Expo's North Gate, which will place you at the entrance closest to the Corporate Pavilion. On subsequent visit to the Expo you may want to consider getting off one station before, Koen Nishi Station, which is closest to the Expo's West Gate, where you can visit the Global Common 3, 4 & 5 Pavilions.

Two last things to remember though, the transportation to and from the Expo are most busy in the morning and after 18:00, and all pavilions close 1 hour before the Expo closes (22:00).

BTW: please feel free to check out my short photo documentary of my visit to the World Expo 2005.

I hope by reading this article it will make your visit to the World Expo 2005 a more enjoyable one. See you in Shanghai 2010.