Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!

JTFF - Japanese Technology from the Future Friday! - AkihabaraNews.com

This week it's Panasonic unloading its healthcare division to some Americans, and the world’s fastest mobile 4G, LTE, multi-carrier routers, made in China by this huge company you’ve likely never heard of, are now available on the archipelago - though still frustratingly data-capped.

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Welcome to Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
It’s already Friday west of the international dateline – here in Japan, it’s totally the future. The weekly JTFF is our somewhat Technosnarky coverage of 2-5 particularly important, specifically Japan-related tech stories. Get yourself hip to the micro & macro that went down while North America was sleeping – check in with Akihabara News every Friday morning and BOOM! Ahead of the game, you win.

:: JTFF – September 27, 2013 ::

• Most (80%) of Panasonic Healthcare Sold to American Firm KKR
Big, really, really big business seem so often to forget the universal human propensity toward what is probably best described as the opposite of having too many cooks in the kitchen; that is to say, companies can get so obviously overextended, and have so many disparate divisions doing so many random things, that one day they wake up all like “Dude, did you know we’re spending $300 million a year on digital armpit thermometers that like, nobody’s buying?” ...to which executive B replies “No.” And that’s the thing, when business as a whole is going gangbusters, a hulking giant of global technology might just shrug and decide “Yeah, why not, let’s make thermometers or whatever.” But then maybe those things get shuffled aside, a little forgotten, and then maybe the rest of the world catches up to your other, much more profitable technologies, and then one day you realize you’ve literally lost billions of dollars a few years in a row, and you take a look at that thermometer business and suddenly realize “What the hell are we doing selling thermometers?” Well, that’s what happened here. You know, basically.

• ZTE’s Got Two Superspeed 4G Mobile Routers for Japan, but...
ZTE, once known as Zhongxing Semiconductor Co. Ltd., is the largest telecom company in the world that you’ve never heard of - seriously, top 5 in both phone manufacturing and that of related equipment. Even the JTFF had to look these guys up. Anyway, they’ve got some fancy new high-speed routers for the Japanese market - 110 megabits/second - unquestionably faster than the Huawei router through which the JTFF is currently posting. BUT, and this is a huge BUT (so to speak), it won’t mean a single solitary thing if Softbank and other Japanese carriers continue to limit and/or throttle mobile data usage. To quote the article: “The new routers are perfect for bandwidth-hungry applications such as gaming and online videos.” Yeah, well guess what - speeds will be great until about an hour of usage chews through a gig of data, and then Softbank’s automated digital highway patrol invokes something from the EULA that we all sign but never read, and for the next two days you’re sexy 4G router will feel like dial-up. Oh, and you only get 7.2GB/month. That’s it. There’s not even a double-priced corporate plan available for those who'll pay (yes, we will). Oh sure, cry a river of digital tears to those without the access-anywhere mobile 4G, but unless you’ve used a mobile router, you have no idea how fast that 7.2GB can evaporate. Point being, fast routers: Awesome; archaic, barbaric, backward, stress-inducing data limits: Whatever word is the opposite of awesome. Use your heads, guys - people who want 4G mobile data aren’t your average users, and overbearing data limits just make us wanna Google, ironically, some Chinese voodoo sim card hack and turn these routers into free-for-all, unlimited, data-sucking monsters. Think about it. Think hard. While we are not legion, we are dorky to an executive level, and we are motivated.

That was the JTFF, and live from the future – that is all.

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Tokyo at Night via PhotoEverywhere.