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.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lodged a protest with U.S. President Barack Obama over the incident which led to an arrest of an American man working at a U.S. military base in Okinawa Prefecture on suspicion of abandoning the body of a Japanese woman during their bilateral meeting in Shima, Mie Prefecture, on Wednesday night. (the-japan-news.com)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday made a pilgrimage to the Ise Grand Shrine, the holiest site in Japan's Shinto religion, a day before he hosts a Group of Seven (G-7) summit nearby. (Japan Today)
A panel of Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department came up with a report on Wednesday calling for legal regulations on the so-called JK business, in which high school girls offer such services as massage and dating. (Jiji Press)
A Japanese man was arrested Wednesday in Thailand on suspicion of raping and sexually harassing a number boys aged between 13 and 15 in the country's northern province of Chiang Mai, investigators said. (Japan Times)
Most of the 750 million yen ($6.8 million) in relief money for victims of the powerful earthquakes that hit Kumamoto Prefecture in southwestern Japan last month has not been disbursed, local government officials said Tuesday. (Japan Today)