au Rolls Out Summer 2015 Products and Services
On May 15, AkihabaraNews participated in au's 2015 Summer product and service rollout at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel in Minato Ward, Tokyo.
At 12 p.m., au President Tanaka came to the stage to kick of the event - and then quickly left. Directly following were au's advertising spokespeople, Shota Matsuda and Kasumi Arimura, dressed in gorgeous historical costumes to introduce the latest au TV spot. The ongoing commercial series, based on characters from Japanese fairy tales, is very entertaining - it’s currently ranked Japan’s #1 commercial, according to CM INDEX (watch below).
Thereafter, President Tanaka appeared again to declare that au will attempt to foster a "Life Revolution" in two fields: Mobile Service and Real Service.
In this half of au's summer push, new products included 7 smartphones, 2 tablets, and a feature phone for summer 2015. While they usually offer a wide range of high-spec smartphones alongside models for kids and seniors at such events, summer 2015 seems heavily weighted toward high-end, high-spec devices.
- Galaxy S6 edge, by Samsung
- Xperia Z4, by Sony
- AQUOS SERIE, by Sharp
- isai vivid, by LG
- J butterfly, by HTC
- TORQUE, by Kyocera
- URBANO, by Kyocera
- Xperia Z Tablet, by Sony
- Qua tab, by Kyocera
New Feature Phone:
- AQUOS K, by Sharp
An Intriguing Rugged Phone
Kyocera's rugged 4.7-inch TORQUE smartphone (TORQUE G02) looked particularly interesting and very summerish. Its toughness satisfies 19 factors set forth by the MIL-STD-810 test series, a standard set up by the United States Department of Defense (DoD). It also has high seawater-resistance and is the world's first smartphone that can be used under salt water. When the TORQUE G02 detects that it is in water, it automatically switches to Undersea Mode, activating features that correct image distortion and tones for clear underwater shooting.
The TORQUE is heavy and thick compared to regular smartphones, which makes it easy to hold tight under water. au recommends going no farther than 1.5 meters below the surface, so you can’t really expect to bring it along for scuba diving, but it's still cool to shoot photos in shallow water.
The entire second half of the event was all about Real Service. Just like NTT docomo's event the day before, au shortened the amount of time spent talking about gadgets. President Tanaka happily reported that their pre-paid au WALLET card has acquired 12 million users in the last 12 months. Taking the service a step further, a foray into e-commerce was also announced: the telecom will soon open an online shop called au WALLET Market.
au WALLET Market will turn au stores all over Japan into digital supermarkets. Customers who visit an au store can check items for sale with a tablet or digital signage while waiting. The staff will help customers order pay by au WALLET once they decide to buy, so it is good for those who are reluctant to use regular online stores or pay with credit cards. In the beginning, premium, select food items will be sold (ex: high-grade beef, rice, mineral water, and coffee beans).
The au WALLET Market scheme may be a good revenue opportunity for au, but our feeling is that it will likely add to congestion at au stores and customers may struggle with longer waiting times. But good luck!
au’s Latest TV Spot: