'Disney Mobile' to Debut in Japan
The Walt Disney Company Japan Ltd will launch a mobile phone service dubbed "Disney Mobile" in collaboration with SoftBank Mobile Corp on March 1, 2008 (See related article). Disney will release dedicated handsets at the same time.
In order to get access to this service, the user needs to sign a contract with Disney and use an e-mail address with the domain name "disney.ne.jp." Although the company will run the business as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), it emphasizes that "the service will be distributed in collaboration with SoftBank Mobile."
The service is targeted at women in their twenties and thirties, age groups estimated to frequently use Disney's content.
Price plans for calls, etc, are based on the existing plans offered by SoftBank Mobile, such as the "White Plan," the "W White," the "White Kazoku (Family) 24" and "Packet Shi-hodai (Unlimited Packets)." If a user subscribes to Disney Mobile's White Plan, the user can make free calls not only to Disney Mobile users but also to SoftBank Mobile users during 1:00am-9:00pm.
The first handset from Sharp
Sharp Corp's "DM001SH" will be released as the first handset for the Disney Mobile service. The phone has a silhouette of Mickey Mouse on the front face of the chassis in the display block and the keyboard.
It is compliant with the W-CDMA communication system like SoftBank Mobile's 3G mobile phones. It only supports domestic calls in Japan, and the international roaming service is not available.
The main display is a 400 x 240 (wide QVGA) LCD panel, and the sub-display is a 60 x 32 monochrome OLED panel. It is equipped with a 2-Mpixel CMOS camera as well as functions such as 1seg TV and FeliCa.
Presuming from the appearance and the specifications, the DM001SH is developed based on the SoftBank 821SH, a mobile phone from SoftBank Mobile manufactured by Sharp.
The DM001SH has a special feature, the D-button, on the keyboard. Users can access a portal site called "Disney Web" with the touch of a button. The Website is run in cooperation with Yahoo!Japan.
The subscribers may also use contents from "Yahoo!Kehtai (Yahoo!Mobile)," a service provided by Yahoo!Japan exclusively for mobile phones. In addition, Disney's official mobile Websites (currently 23 sites) can be utilized for free of charge.
The DM001SH will be available at SoftBank Shops and electronics retail stores in Japan as well as from the Disney Mobile Website. Sales targets have "yet to be decided," according to Disney.