Japanese Technology from the Future SATURDAY (oops)!
This week it’s Sony flirting with yet another game of catch-up, Panasonic is taking their smartphone game to India, and tiny cracks have been found in some of the wings Mitsubishi Heavy Industries makes for the 787 Dreamliner, which is not a game at all.
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Welcome to Japanese Technology from the Future Friday Saturday!
It’s already Friday Saturday 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 (usually) every Friday (not Saturday) morning and BOOM! Ahead of the game, you win.
:: JTFFS – March 8, 2014 ::
• Sony’s Got Some AR Glasses, Too. LATE!
Well, Sony has seen some good news of late, and as we’ve reported, there are some bright spots: unloading the VAIOs, sending the TV division off to live with an uncle, enjoying robust PS4 sales, and dropping a few innovative products like super-short-throw 4K projectors, the new Core lifelogging wearable, and shrinking their flagship smartphone down to iPhone-competitive size without dropping any specs. All that being that, however, it seems they’re now flirting with another game of catch-up by shopping around a prototype Google Glass knockoff to developers. As we’ve argued before in coverage of earlier pretenders Meta and GlassUp, AR glasses for the masses is a pipe dream. It’s not going to catch on. In specialty fields, sure. For the everyday consumer - nope. Be careful, Sony. Please be careful.
[SONY SMARTEYEGLASS PROTOTYPE SHOWN TO DEVS - CIO.COM]
• Panasonic’s Got a Big New Phablet. FOR INDIA!
Though very,very late to the smartphone game, Panasonic been really been trying to get it together and field a team and score some points and get some trophies and we’ll stop with the beleaguered metaphor. The 5-inch P31 is all set to launch in India, and that’s probably a good strategy. Here at home, not a lot of consumers are clamoring for the latest Panasonic smartphone kit, and given that the potential market in idea is probably twice that of the entire Japanese population - well, there you go.
[PANASONIC LAUNCHING NEW PHABLET IN INDIA - THE INDIAN EXPRESS]
• Forty-Three Not Yet Sold, Not in the Air, Still Being Finished Boeing 787 Dreamliners Found with Hairline Cracks in the Wings. UH-OH!
Okay first, see how the JTFF included in the headline that these planes are still in the factory, not in service, and clearly indicated that none of the planes flying around the world right now have cracky wings? Yeah, too bad we’re like the only outlet in existence that actually journalismed this story instead of just going for the fear-based SEO… so, either we’re awesome with the integrity, or superdumb for not using hooky lead-ins. Yes, we’re a bit passive-digressive around here. Anyway, the news is that these particular wings are made here in Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries - yes, Mitsubishi makes a whole lot more than mini-trucks and poor man’s sports cars (they actually make fighter jets, too). It’s pretty crappy news for yet another of Boeing’s Japanese parts providers. Some readers might remember the JTFF bringing up the battery troubles that grounded the Dreamliner early last year, troubles that initially were blamed on 119 year-old Japanese manufacturer GS Yuasa. It turned out that GS Yuasa’s batteries were just fine, and the wiring was actually to blame… but that news didn’t make it out very far. Mitsubishi’s wingmaking woes add what is arguably unfair tarnish to Japanese manufacturers’ reputation for excellence and quality, so get those cracks uncracked soon, guys. And gals. But it’s Japan, so mostly guys. That’s changing, though!
[FORTY-THREE 787 DREAMLINERS NEED INSPECTION FOR HAIRLINE CRACKS - SEATTLE TIMES]
That was the JTFFS, and live from the future – that is all.
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Tokyo at Night via PhotoEverywhere.