Posted by: Ian Rowley on June 8, 2006
At long last the BlackBerry is coming to Japan. Today, DoCoMo, Japan’s biggest mobile phone carrier, announced it’s done a deal with RIM to sell the devices to corporate customers from the fall. Analysts had earlier expected the Blackberry to come to Japan in 2007. DoCoMo says the handheld devices sold in Japan will operate on both 3G and GSM/GPRS networks, which means they will be useable in Japan and around the world for voice and data communications. DoCoMo isn’t dishing out too many details yet, but in April UBS analyst Robert Dennison said he believed the Japanese BlackBerry will look like the 8700 high-speed device introduced in North America earlier this year. Whether that’ll get Japanese execs drooling is far from clear. After all, in a country where 3G is in its fifth year and handsets can be used to do everything from passing through barriers at train stations to recognising star constellations, the BlackBerry may look a little old hat. One encouraging sign for RIM and DoCoMo, though, could be the success of Willcom, a Japanese carrier which, with Sharp, has built a niche selling PDA-type handsets. Willcom has sold over 150,000 of its W-Zero3 Windows-enabled handsets since December 2005.