Sadly enough, NEC's share price rose 2.6% on the news that it is going to shutter its mobile phone unit. It's a tragic epitaph for what was once a genuinely exciting brand. It's also a sad reminder of the profound failure of Japan's technology industry.
The global smartphone market is currently shaken by a cluster of vital, hungry challenger vendors of China and India, including Huawei, ZTE, Micromax, Karbonn and Spice. Japanese mobile phone powerhouses like Sharp, Toshiba, Matsushita and NEC have been left in the dust. Only Sony still soldiers on, grimly and joylessly.
In the end, NEC fizzled out as a global phone brand despite having pioneered key technologies like color displays, 3G support, dual screens and camera modules. Just like its Japanese peers, NEC was too focused on Japan's domestic market and its idiosyncratic nature to ever really anticipate global trends accurately.
NEC's miniature models had lousy battery performance and Nokia's larger, heavier models triumphed among consumers who appreciated five days of stand-by time over a slim chassis. Motorola's dazzling RAZR designs trumped NEC's boring Japanese ovoids among consumers who valued slimness. NEC's 3G phones were the first in the world, but they suffered from serious quality issues and were buried by models that arrived nine months later, offering more finesse. The Japanese disease of valuing early introduction of technological advances over usability blighted NEC permanently. The damage as particularly obvious in the early camera phone race, where NEC missed the huge mass market for cheap models by focusing on the expensive, exclusive dual-screen niche.
Japan's government and ruling camp are considering unifying liquor tax rates on beer and quasi-beer that now depend on the amount of malt the beverages contain, informed sources said Thursday. (Jiji Press)
The North Pacific Fisheries Commission on Thursday agreed to take steps to curb an increase in saury fishing boats to help protect fish stock in northern Pacific waters over the long term. (Jiji Press)
Police charged 689 people in January-June for the possession, smuggling and use of government-designated "dangerous" drugs, or quasi-narcotics, and related crimes and accidents, the National Police Agency said Thursday. (The Japan News)
The Diet, Japan's parliament, on Thursday enacted revisions to the My Number law to link the new national identification numbers to bank accounts on a voluntary basis from 2018 and to basic pension numbers by May 2017. (Jiji Press)
Osaka Prefectural Police on Wednesday announced the arrest of a 20-year-old university student for the theft of two sports cars, one of which was used at a racing circuit, reports the Asahi Shimbun (Sep. 3). (Tokyo Reporter)
After a week of speculation, law enforcement said on Tuesday that Japan's largest crime syndicate has chosen to expel 13 affiliate groups, a move that essentially results in the dissolution of the gang, reports the Kobe Shimbun (Sep. 1). (Tokyo Reporter)
Chiba Prefectural Police on Wednesday busted a hostess club in Chiba City for licensing violations, with the business being a source of revenue for organized crime, reports TBS News (Sep. 2). (Tokyo Reporter)