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.
The annual "kanji" Chinese character of the year in Japan went to "ring" on Thursday, after Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics, often referred to in local print media as "five rings." (Straits Times )
Tokyo police say they will restrict public access around the main intersection outside Shibuya Station between 10 p.m. Dec. 31 and 2 a.m. Jan. 1 to prevent a crush of New Year's revelers forming for the countdown, a recurrent problem in recent years. (Japan Times )
The opening of an additional railway link between JR Ueno and JR Tokyo stations in spring 2015 will drastically change services of the Tokaido, Tohoku and other lines and may cause confusion among passengers. (Yomiuri )
Two death-row inmates were hanged Thursday in the fourth round of executions since the launch last December of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government, Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said. (Japan Times )
On Saturday at around 11:30 a.m., officers arrested Hideaki Shoji, a resident of Yokohama, after he allegedly came up from behind a 21-year-old female college student and shot digital images up her skirt as she stood on a platform at Kuhonbutsu Station in Setagaya Ward. (Tokyo Reporter)
A 12-year battle for justice took an enormous financial, emotional and physical toll, says Catherine Jane Fisher. But for the Australian teacher of English and mother of three, it's time to savor a landmark court victory. (womensenews.org )
The number of shoplifting cases accounted for nearly 10 pct of all criminal offenses recognized by Japanese police, with the rate increasing, a National Police Agency survey showed Wednesday. (Jiji Press )