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.
Police in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, have arrested a man who admitted to landing a drone with low-level radioactive sand on the roof of the prime minister's office to protest the government's nuclear energy policy, officials said Saturday. (Japan Today)
Fukuoka Prefectural Police on Friday took the acting chairman of the Kudo-kai organized crime group into custody for a shooting death that took place seven years ago, reports the Sankei Shimbun (April 24). (Tokyo Reporter)
Japan's Cultural Affairs Agency said Friday it has put 18 cultural assets on the newly created "Japan Heritage" list in hopes of luring more foreign tourists and revitalizing regional economies. (Jiji Press)
Two men, a male teenager and a female teenager are under arrest on suspicion of abducting an 18-year-old teen from Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, and holding her captive, police said Friday. (Japan Times)
The Apple Watch launched globally on Friday with a small queue of Japanese tech-addicts lining up in Tokyo for Apple Inc's first wearable gadget, but there was no sign of the excitement usually attached to the company's product rollouts. (Reuters)
Survivors and bereaved families of victims on Saturday marked the 10th anniversary of a fatal train derailment in western Japan that took the lives of 107 people, hoping such an accident never happens again. (Kyodo)
An unusually high level of radiation has been detected at a park in Toshima Ward, Tokyo, the ward office said Thursday, prompting speculation that some kind of material has been buried there. (Japan Times)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Wednesday announced the arrest of an organized crime member believed to be behind multiple fraud scams involving fake pregnancy accusations, reports TBS News (April 23). (Tokyo Reporter)
On Thursday, police from five prefectures, including Kyoto, arrested two executives of a company operating live streaming site FC2 Live in Osaka on charges of distribution of obscene material, reports the Sankei Shimbun. (Tokyo Reporter)
A pet shop in Tokyo has been ordered to close for not maintaining a clean and safe environment for animals. It is the first time for such an order to be issued by the Tokyo metropolitan government. (Japan Today)
Kunihiko Kase, frontman of the music band "Wild Ones," was found dead at his home in Minato Ward, Tokyo, early on Tuesday. The Metropolitan Police Department is examining the cause of death, with the view the musician may have killed himself. He was 74. (The Japan News)