Yesterday I met with Mr KS Chung (he doesn't seem to blog so I can't link to him), a GM of Development Division at Access. Access is a leader in mobile technology that's well known for its mobile browser product (Netfront) and its recent acquisition of Palm OS. These are the key findings from the conversation:

1. Multimedia content composing/sending on the browser

My key interest lies in how people can send the multimedia content produced on their mobile devices to the web, and then view those content back on mobiles. Mr Chung said that in Japan it's still not easy to compose multimedia blogs within the mobile browser. Mobile browser itself has been supporting file attachments and other necessary features for mo-blogging since years ago, but the carriers and device manufacturers "blocked" the browser's access to the phone's local media file folder. So, still the most viable way of mobile multimedia upload in Japan is via email (MMS).

2. Full browsing vs. WAP

Even in Japan, the long-term trend of mobile internet browsing experience is towards the "full browsing", or according to the term coined by KDDI, "PC site viewing." I often view the sites that I frequent - Techcrunch, Read/write web, Venturebeat, etc - on the "PC site viewer" on my KDDI W51T mobile phone, and the experience is quite satisfactory (it's on the CDMA 1x WIN network).

But in Japan, operators are not ditching the traditional, directory-based WAP service anytime soon. Operators are somehow "protecting" the CPs (content providers). Still, the "official sites" (i.e. the sites that reside within the operator's service directory) are among the most popular destinations, although these days some of the non-official sites are picking up more momentum too.

3. Mobile Flash

On the broadband web, it seems Flash is seeing its best days now. But in mobile environment, still Flash is mostly used on static UIs, not on content. Adobe claims the mobile flash is deployed in many phones by now, but still viewing Flash content (photo slideshows or .flv videos) on mobile phone is not a commonly done practice, and often requires running a separate application, not the browser.

The above are pretty high-level and commonly known facts, but the key message here is that in Japan, it may still not be easy to design a mobile user-generated content service without involving traditional technologies such as email and WAP.
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