By >RENO J. TIBKE
Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
This week it’s iPhone holdout NTT DoCoMo’s staring contest with Apple, and Honda’s humanoid robot ASIMO gets a round of out of context, less than favorable press.
• • •
Welcome to Japanese Technology from the Future Friday:
It’s already Friday west of the international dateline – here in Japan, it’s totally the future. The weekly JTFF is our somewhat technosnarky coverage of 2-5 particularly important, specifically Japan-related tech stories. Get yourself hip to the micro & macro that went down while North America was sleeping – check in with Akihabara News every Friday morning and BOOM! Ahead of the game, you win.
:: JTFF – July 5, 2013 ::
• Big, Very Big Mobile Carrier NTT DoCoMo Still Wants No iPhone
The iPhone has been the best selling phone in all of Japan for a few years now – and that’s all phones – not just smartphones. One might argue the very valid point of “Well sure, who doesn’t buy a smartphone these days?” That’s valid in much of the industrialized world, but you’ve gotta understand that Japan, with a previously homegrown mobile ecosystem of very specifically Japanese features, was quite late to the smartphone game – but once they got hip, they ran with it in a big, big way. NTT DoCoMo, with its 60 million customers (largest J-carrier, nearly half of the Japanese population), is of course also running with it, but they’re firmly in Google’s Android camp. It’ll be interesting to see if Apple can pull them into their walled garden where so very many of us live… quite happily.
[DOCOMO STILL NO IPHONE - ASIAONE]
• ASIMO Fumbles a Bit With Human Gestures – World Forgets He’s Just Trying to Learn
There’s news all over the place about how ASIMO is bumbling his role as greeter/tour guide at Tokyo’s Miraikan (Future Pavillion, roughly translated), or National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. It seems ASIMO has difficulty discerning between a wave, a hand raised, or someone just holding up a camera to take a photo. What the OTHER sources of ASIMO news, with their GEE-WHIZ! and Oh, NO! coverage, are neglecting to point out, is that this ASIMO outing was planned as a testing and research endeavor. All one has to do is have a look at Honda’s press release from last week: “TOKYO, Japan, June 26, 2013 – Honda Motor Co., Ltd. will conduct demonstration testing of ASIMO to verify the ability of the humanoid robot to autonomously explain its features while interacting with people.” It’s not nice to laugh and point when someone(thing)’s just trying to learn, so cut the robot some slack!
[ASIMO'S GESTURE PROBLEMS - ONEWAYJAPAN]
That was the JTFF, and live from the future – that is all.
• • •
Reno J. Tibke is the founder and operator of Anthrobotic.com, where the JTFF was born.
Tokyo at Night image via PhotoEverywhere.