The International Tokyo Toy Show is currently having an exhibit on various toys that as young as 4-year olds and adults will enjoy. Participating companies have developed toys reminiscent of those available when this generation’s adults were still young. There are also companies that directly target the little ones, still with parental participation.
The 1990s generation must have been ecstatic when Bandai announced that they're bringing Tamagotchi back in the market, this time as an application in Android and iPhone. It was a worldwide phenomenon when the virtual pet was first released in the form of an egg-shaped key chain. No wonder Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. has also become a hit to Android and iPhone users. Bandai Co. and Sync Beatz Entertainment reported Wednesday that the application reached 1.5 million downloads in iTunes on March 28 with more than 1 million downloads from Android users. The 2.5 million downloads were reached within 90 days since the release of Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. app.
Taiwan-based PC maker Lenovo has recently made an announcement that it is looking to tie up a potential joint venture with a still unnamed company, and that this joint venture will be focused on smartphones. Lenovo, the world's number 2nd largest PC maker by virtue of shipments, is looking to shore up its business by dipping into the highly lucrative but also very challenging smartphone market, and Japanese media says that electronics and mobile device manufacturer NEC could be the potential partner. Lenovo has refused to give further details in its announcement, however.
When he started as an aggressive and intelligent entrepreneur, it looked for all the world that Takafumi Horie’s star was always going to be on the rise in Japan. At his peak – before he was imprisoned – he founded one of Japan’s largest web portals and became a national celebrity. He was put in prison for securities fraud but has now been released and is looking to take a bite out of the Internet market again by launching smartphone app development outfit.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police revealed today that two adult men had been arrested after they were caught using the popular smartphone application Line to recruit teenage girls to work as prostitutes. 37 year old Eiji Kato and 51 year old Kenichi Sekiguchi not only used the chat app to find girls, but male customers as well, followed by arranging meet-ups at nearby hotels.
Due to the increasing number of people falling on the train tracks while using smartphones, some railway companies are asking passengers to refrain from using the devices while on the train platforms. A fifth-grade boy fell onto the tracks at the JR Yotsuya Station in Tokyo on Monday and suffered minor injuries. The Metropolitan Police Department said the boy was not paying attention because he was focused on his mobile phone.
Red-hot digital payments start-up Square has moved outside of North America for the first time and has settled on Japan as its first overseas expansion destination. Square CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey – yes, that Jack Dorsey who made Twitter – announced the digital payments outfit’s arrival in Japan at a Tokyo press event today, saying that moving to the world’s third-largest economy is a big deal for Square.
LINE, the Japan-developed messaging app that has been growing in popularity globally, has made a possible move towards censorship of sensitive Chinese words, as discovered by a Twitter user who analyzed the messaging app’s code. This is a move reminiscent of Tencent’s once highly-popular WeChat messaging app’s censorship of “sensitive” Chinese topics that its own users were talking about – for which the app got slammed in online circles and declined in popularity.
The ubiquity of the photo-sharing app Instagram – whose potential convinced Mark Zuckerberg and company to purchase the start-up for 1 billion US dollars – is reflected in the fact that it’s monthly users had surpassed 100 million in February. This is the main competition of the point-and-shoot camera, high-tech smartphones with on board cameras that keep getting better and better, and numerous photo-editing apps at their users’ fingertips. This just makes it harder for point-and-shoot camera manufacturers like Japan’s Olympus Corp., who has now decided to shift focus away from that market.
Japanese consumer electronics manufacturers Panasonic is planning to re-enter India’s smartphone market in a big way as it launches its first smartphone in the South Asian nation on Thursday. The Japanese electronics giant is hoping to tap into India’s 5.5-billion-US-dollar handset market after being away for more than half a decade. Partnering with Delhi-based Jaina Group for marketing, distribution and customer support, Panasonic revealed that Jaina Group will also advise the Japanese company on creating a smartphone portfolio suitable for the Indian market.