Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Is NTT Docomo really releasing 3 Nexus phones?

Update: The source for these rumors appears to be information posted/leaked to 2ch here. See posts 93-97 made on 8/16/2012, at just about the same time as when J-BQ made the Xperia experiment post. (I'm not certain of the time zone for the "August 15" displaying in Google Groups, so I can't actually say which came first. ) Confirmed that the J-BQ posts does in fact predate all the rumors, for whatever that is worth.

Just getting a chance to read though some of the responses to the poster who posted the list of NTT Docomo phones he'd like/expect to see. Most just ignore it. Those that do respond do so by saying things like:.
We don't need your f##king delusions, so get the f##k out and die
Ouch. Yeah, Sorry phandroid et al, but this list is total BS.

After Jean-Baptise Queru announced his AOSP experiment with the Xperia S, a rumor surfaced on a Taiwanese site that a DCM Xperia Nexus is coming. I received feedback on Google+ that this Taiwanese site is typically fairly reliable, and the pasted excerpt from the purported product list was indeed in Japanese. Coincidence? Maybe.

Next, a Hong Kong based site jumps in with what appears to be a more complete list of upcoming DCM handsets, including handsets other domestic makers including NEC, Panasonic, Fujitsu (with a Win 8 phone, among others), Sharp, and Kyocera. The list then goes on to include phones from LG, and Samsung, and dongles from AnyData. Next are Huawei, LG, and Nokia.

Last but not least is HTC, with FOMA and Xi versions of two phones including the One X.

Now, this has been picked up by phandroid, who apparently can't tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese. I tried leaving a comment that they'd get better results by setting their machine translator to go from C to E, instead of J to E, but that comment seems to have disappeared. I guess they don't want facts to get in the way over there.

So is this all BS?

Well, the HTC inclusion is interesting. HTC has not done well in Japan. Nobody but Nicholas and I bought the HTC Magic ht-03a. The two SBM Desire handsets also didn't sell well, though we now understand that part of the deal with Apple required SBM to aggressively push the iPhone. Readers have recounted being actively steered by SBM staff away from the Desire towards the iPhone.

So is HTC giving the quirky J market another go?

To try and get some insight, I went to some Japanese-language sources that I know and trust, beginning with Juggly. But alas, our friend currently has no posts regarding anything but a highly likely revision to the Galaxy Nexus. Other sites also have nothing. In fact, there is absolutely nothing regarding this written anywhere in the web in Japanese that I found with a quick search. So, for now, while the prospects of pure-AOSP devices from multiple makers is a very nice idea, I'm going to have to call BS on this one.

Yes, these handsets are made in China, so if there was information to be leaked, it would likely come out of China. However, I don't believe that makers are ready just yet to give up on their differentiation. The hardware is all essentially the same. It's mainly the software that makes the difference. Maybe makers could offer the same hardware with and without their UIs, such as HTC did with the Nexus One and the Desire.

I'm just not seeing it. At least not at this point.


  1. Rumoured specs for the "Galaxy Nexus II" suggest it will have a micro-SD card, which would either involve a reversal of Google policy, or point to the fact that it is not, in fact, going to be a Nexus.
    Rumours have been going around for a while that there will be multiple Nexus devices released this year, so I wouldn't completely discount the possibility; I'll sit on the fence and hope for now though.
    HTC have released the "HTC J" on au, it is basically a Galapagos'ed version of the HTC One S which I have (ie sekigaisen, one-seg and osaifu keitai added). I've also seen HTC sponsoring quite a few prime-time shows on TV earlier this summer and advertising the phone on TV.
    I think the Desire would have sold really well on SBM, had they not stuck them in a dusty corner somewhere. You couldn't actually get them for love nor money in most shops because they were so popular, but I think that a decision was made at a fairly early stage to just quietly drop the product, most likely with a lot of prodding from Apple. After all, when the Desire/N1 came out, they were far superior to Apple's then-current offering (3GS).

    The main hope I have if this rumour is true is that we will be able to choose from a variety of specs and screen sizes for our Nexus fix. The huge screen and underwhelming specs are what stopped me from getting a GNex this time round. Hopefully one manufacturer will make it the pinnacle of hardware as well as software.

  2. Had a look through my feed subscriptions. This one caught my eye,

    Was surprised by the range of manufacturer s on the list. Unbelievable is one word to describe it.

    Since DOCOMO cut juggly's balls off, things just haven't quite been the same.

  3. I can't image Sony release a device with some bootloader easy to unlock. Probably a false rumor!

  4. @6e30beba5cde63f81299f75c17e2a272:disqus , all Sony's phones since 2011 are easily unlockable. Unless the carrier objects, which in Docomo's case is every time. If you buy them elsewhere though, no trouble.

  5. Hi,
    For what it's worth, HTC is trying to hire a Sales Director in Japan (posted on LinkeIn).
    They would not do this if they were planning to give up the parket, but it is also an acknowledgement that their previous strategy in Japan has failed (someone must be looking for a job right now).

    I have never understood why they could not find a place on the market here: the HTC devices are usually very good.
    Obviously, they need much more work with the carriers, especially to comply to the local customization requirements that only Apple managed to bypass (but only by pressuring a desperate Softbank).

    Anyway, if a carrier could release the LTE OneX down here I would probably be among the first customers (unless a Nokia 920 shows up before, maybe).

    Let's keep screening the rumors and hints :-)

  6. As mentioned below, Carrier agreements with Apple require them to aggressively push the iPhone over other phones. It also came out from Docomo that the data plan pricing for the iPhone would have to be less.

    This is what we observed SBM doing during the release of the HTC Desire, which was a very good phone.