New AU WIN phones

AU Kddi Japan has finally updated their 3G offering, or should I say their 7G, if you were to compare AU’s data transmisison speed rate with that of DoCoMo FOMA’s, but I disgress… and I love to.
I have been waiting for this update for ever and I always get so excited when I see new AU phones, even more so since I am now on the market for one to replace my dear W31S.

So, what’s on offer? Well… iPods?! and e-Wallets. All 7 new WIN phones will connect to AU’s iTunes NON-killer service Mobile Listen Service. Can’t be bothered to pull any numbers (search the Wireless Watch for that) but they have apparently made a nice pack of cash with their full song download service and they are definitely moving up to 3rd gear. But wouldn’t it be great if I could fill the 4GB hard drive of the W41T with the songs I have on iTunes… seamlessly…

But there are also new goodies like e-Wallet and IC chips that allow you to pay at the supermarket by waving your keitai in front of a reader, and also take the JR train network by waving your phone in the face of the gate attendant (or not really.) and of course, even though I don’t eat, nor travel, I would love those options. And I want my phone to be bilingual and thank heaven they all offer GPS… But no matter how much I pray, AU is never capable of releasing the fantastic full options phone that’s got it all.

Anyway, I am on the market for a new phone… and I was really looking forward to going back to Casio. I love their UI, they have customizable shortcuts icons on the front screen, and their camera really kicks ass! But the previous model was huge and not bilingual… well… surprise, surprise!

+ 3.2MP CCD camera (new)
+ 4GB HD (ultra new)
– NOT bilingual (same)
– NO chips (same)
– NO PC site viewer (worse)
– huge!! (well they did add a 4GB HD in this thing…)

+ 2.7″ screen!! (new)
+ PC site viewer (same)
+ bilingual (same)
+ chips (new)
+ TV (new)
– 2MP CMOS camera (better)
– huge!! (new)
– no sub display (worse)

W41CA – The Casio one!
+ 2.6″ screen (same)
+ best UI ever (same)
+ PC site viewer (same)
+ bilingual (new!!)
+ chips (new)
+ thinner (new!!)
– 2MP !! CMOS !! AF camera (worse!!! previous model had 3.2 CCD awesome camera!!)
– no sub display

+ chips (new)
+ bilingual (same)
+ PC site viewer (new)
– huge (same)
– ugly (same)
– 1.2MP CMOS camera (same)

+ 3.2MP CMOS AF camera with blur correction!! (euh! ultra new!)
– camera position is useless
– NO chips
– NOT bilingual
– NO PC site viewer

The other phones are not interesting.

Anyway, I need the PC site viewer, I fancy the chips, I don’t want too big, but could live with it, I need a great camera and bilingual!!
That leaves me with… NOTHING!!

The phone that has the best camera (W41K), kills it by being a monstruosity of ergonomy and by limiting the size of outgoing emails to the smallest size of all the other phones. duh!!? and no chips, not bilingual, no PC site viewer… bye bye.
The other phone with the second best camera (W41T) has no chips, not bilingual and no PC site viewer… bye bye…

That leaves me only 2 alternatives… both don’t have a sub display (could live without). One is huge but has a TV (that I’ll never use), the other one is thin and a great UI but has a camera which, in its previous (last year) 2MP iteration, was a disaster in low light conditions… when I take most of my pics…
So in the end, we do have a winner… pending serious review of the camera.

You can see and touch the new models on preview at the kddi Design Studio in Harajuku, or Spiral in Omotesando for the FOMAs, for another couple days, before they hit the streets early next month.

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    Based in Paris & Tokyo, Paul Baron is a senior product manager for hire. Ex-@AQworks. Co-founder of cultural platform Tokyo Art Beat.
    Service design, interaction design, startups, user research.
    Posts a few times a decade since 2003.

    Visit for the full site.

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