Sunday, March 23, 2008

NTT DoCoMo to release Android phones by 2010

NTT DoCoMo, the Japanese mobile operator and a prominent member of OHA plans to release phones based on Android by 2010. This disclosure was made when DoCoMo declared its plan to remove advanced functions and services from its cell phones' current OS. The company decided to move over from a proprietary OS to Android to help manufacturers reduce cost.

According to the carrier, functions to be removed from operating software will include i-mode, Internet connection services, and FeliCa, an integrated circuit card service that enables handsets to be used for electronic payments. Custom-designed high-tech services like i-mode have created a niche market for themselves and also prompted competitors like KDDI to provide similar services.

However,shrinking profit margins within Japan has prompted many phone manufacturers to look outside for sales. Producing different phones for DoCoMo and rest of the world isn't financially viable in a saturated Japanese mobile market. Apparently, this has prompted Sony Ericsson and Mitsubishi to withdraw from the local mobile market.

The low-cost phones will allow manufacturers that make handsets for DoCoMo to develop and produce handsets for overseas markets. For the domestic market, the companies will add some advanced functions. With its commanding 50% market share, NTT DoCoMo's move is likely to prompt KDDI (also an OHA member) and SoftBank to follow similar path.

Via [Daily Yomiuri]

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