Monday, November 15, 2004

Black ships on the horizon - Peerio in Japan

Skype may have been pounding the pavements of Asia recently, signing agreements with portal partners, but Popular Telephony has been working this patch too, though predictably with a radically different approach. Today Popular Telephony is to announce an agreement with E-with you, headed by Shunsuke Matsuda, former futurologist at Panasonic, to use Peerio as the middleware on new Wi-Fi PAS handsets developed by E-withyou. E-withyou is a relatively new company, to my knowledge, but appears to have some unique devices, as well as a client list including Honda Research Institute, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding, Panasonic, and Netone Systems. Once again we have a good example of the Popular Telephony approach - partner with someone established, but flexible and innovative, with real customers. I have to wonder what the implications are for Japan of a device like this potentially coming into the product portfolio of Softbank (speculation on my part), and also what influence this might have on other device makers in Japan (since Panasonic is on the client list). Further afield in China, where PAS has been a genuinely disruptive influence in the wireless market, I expect this is the sort of development which would raise some eyebrows.

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