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KDDI Infobar 2, the iPhone of the Japanese

Even Japanese telephony, an even more different market than the American or European one, is preparing to counter the future landing of the Apple mobile phone. The fiercest opponent is Infobar 2, produced by the KDDI operator. It is scheduled for November at a price of about 172 dollars (contract excluded).

Aesthetically the highly colored device, proposed in different chromatic variations; very eccentric, the cell phone perhaps a little too 'toyy', at least in appearance, especially for those accustomed to more serious and aggressive style phones. In comparison, Infobar 2 would almost look like a Fisher Price product.

The technical details are good: 2.6 'screen, 400 × 240 px resolution, classic numeric keypad, 2 mpx camera, 100 Mb of internal memory, microSD card slot and connectivity CDMA2000-1X EV-DO up to 2 , 4 Mbps.

The specifications of the Infobar 2 do not seem so particularly striking: classic interface, perhaps even a bit old-fashioned given the latest solutions expressed in the field, no touch screens or technical features of particular innovation. They are the services offered by the phone (in combination with the operator) to be clearly avant-garde. The device integrates a Felica chip for electronic payments, which allows immediate payments for restaurants, tickets and vending machines. Also thanks to the chip, those who subscribe to certain flight services will then be able to use their mobile phone as a 'boarding card' at airports.

Thanks to an agreement with 7 television broadcasters, it will be possible to watch digital TV programs directly on the device, programs available throughout the Japanese territory, with lots of related information on the overlay such as subtitles or first pages.

There is therefore the Lismo service of KDDI, the iTunes Store fee, which also allows you to download music directly to your mobile phone. The search system is also curious: you can hum a tune directly on the phone and the service will search for the corresponding song in its database.

Database (apparently) much richer than that of the iTunes Store, since it also includes artists under the Sony label, to which almost all the best known Japanese musicians belong. The downloaded songs can be used as a ringtone without having to make a purchase again, which is required with the iPhone.

The Infobar 2 certainly a possible competitor of the iPhone on Japanese soil, but we believe that the reasons for interest in the KDDI device are more related to the services offered than to the device itself.