NTT Docomo to allow unlocking phones via SIM

One great thing about third tier companies is that often they use out of the box thinking to not only gain market share, but to challenge the conventional wisdom of their industry which is usually holding the market back. Such is the case with Japanese wireless company NCC Docomo, which today announced that after April 1st, any phone bought through their service will be able to be unlocked with a simple switching of a SIM card. Customers will have to pay an additional $38 unlocking fee, but after that, users can swap out SIM cards as much as they want. In addition, NTT Docomo will offer SIM and micro SIM cards for sale for customers who want to use a non-Docomo device on their  network.

NEC MEDIAS E-04C 7.7mm-thick Android smartphone headed to Japan

So far, NEC's Android devices have looked pretty clunky: you can hardly accuse the Touchnote or Smartia of being alluring in their design. However, all that looks set to change with the NEC MEDIAS N-04C, a 7.7mm thick Android 2.2 Froyo smartphone expected, according to Draft Life with Blog, to hit Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo on February 24. The super-slim smartphone hasn't been fully detailed, but it will have a 4-inch display, NFC and 1-Seg digital TV tuner, and be available in black and white. At 7.7mm it's thinner than the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc (which is 8.49mm thick) and the Arc doesn't even have NFC. No word on international launch plans, but NEC would be crazy not to take the MEDIAS E-04C abroad. [via Akihabara]

Ameri-Smartphone Moon over Japan – Sharp Corporation to Release Galapagos Android Devices

So you're walking around a city in Japan, it's about five or ten years back, what do you see? Japan-born electronics as far as the eye can see. Now you're in that same city, it's 2010 - what do you see? iPhones. Tons of iPhones. And what else do you see a spattering of? Android-based phones. Just a spattering, but they're on the rise. In a country known as the Galapagos Islands of mobile phone markets for their wonderful and varied selection of devices and systems, a new wave is cresting, a wave of American-made mobile tech - and app developers are in the mood for surfing.

Hikari iFame Android Tablet for NTT Launches in Japan

So, you're in Japan, and you don't mind that you can't have the Samsung Galaxy Tab quite yet (not that you haven't thought about that MTV exclusive app), but you really want an Android-based tablet. If you're on NTT, then perhaps the Hikari iFrame is the device you've been looking for. Featuring a nice, brilliant white case, and a roomy 7-inch touchscreen display, the Hikari iFrame is certainly an interesting member to the Android-based tablet family.

NTT DOCOMO Unveils Three New Android Phones, Coming Soon

NTT DOCOMO, over there in Japan, has just unveiled a plethora of new devices for their network, and while there's 28 to choose from, only three of them are worth mentioning on the Android front. The three new handsets feature plenty in the hardware department, but there's only one of them that will launch with Android 2.2 under the hood, while it's only one other that even mentions upgrading to the newer version of Android in the first half of 2011.

MWC 2010: Ericsson has the eStore

This is a very interesting move by Ericsson. They just announced a partnership with Opera to bring the eStore, this is a new way to buy apps other than the traditional Android Market or that other phones AppStore. This store will aim to take the way we buy apps to a different plateau.

Japan to Release Android Phone next year made by Sharp

While we are having a blast here in the US with the latest Android-based smartphones, and other countries are waiting anxiously for them to arrive. Japan, apparently, is missing on the Android fun. But all that is about to change, thanks to SoftBank and Sharp. About a year ago that we had a story on NTT DoCoMo, planning to make an Android-based phone in Japan. This time, Sharp and SoftBank are the ones making waves, first, SoftBank, which is Japan’s third biggest cell phone carrier, announced last week an Android-powered phone for next year. Then, we have Sharp, who just two days ago in Tokyo, promised to roll out a number of Android-based handsets on the first half of 2010. Exactly how many phones? Well, we have no idea just yet. In Japan, Sharp has the biggest market share out of eight cell phone makers, so, if they really jump in the Android bandwagon, it translates to great news for the Google OS, since Japan is consider the most advanced mobile society in the world. There's no word from Sharp on which of the three big carriers in Japan will get the Android handsets. But they did say that the features on said handsets, will be unique to the Japanese market. One of the possible specific features might be a tuner for 1seg, which is a digital TV standard used not only in Japan, but also in some parts of South America. [Via TechCrunch]

NTT DoCoMo HT-03A aka HTC Magic landing June/July

NTT DoCoMo have confirmed that they will be offering the HTC Magic as their first Android smartphone.  Launching as part of the docomo PRO series as the HT-03A, the handset will offer the same 3.2-megapixel camera as the version currently on sale in Europe. The carrier was tipped to be adopting the Magic earlier this month, though at the time it was unclear whether HTC had crafted them a version specially intended to work on Japan's advanced 3G networks.  Instead, it looks as though this is the same 3G GSM handset available already; that said, it lacks many of the high-end features Japanese users can choose from [PDF link] in their cellphones, such as 1-Seg TV broadcasts, mobile credit card payments and the NTT DoCoMo personalized services.  The NTT DoCoMo HT-03A will go on sale in japan sometime during June or July 2009.  No word on pricing as yet.
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