Last week, NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s biggest mobile phone carrier with nearly 53 million subscribers, and Google announced their partnership that includes providing search services and search-related advertisement. The service is scheduled to be launching in spring 2008.
Besides, other Google services will be made available for i-mode users, such as a pre-installed application of Google Maps on i-mode handsets.
In the near future GMail, YouTube and Picasa will be also accessible through i-mode. In addition, in all upcoming NTT DoCoMo handsets with a capable HTML browser, Google will be set as starting page.
NTT DoCoMo may also introduce handsets that will use Google’s “Android” mobile software package in Japan - probably in the second half of this year. Not very surprising since NTT DoCoMo is a part of Android’s Open Handset Alliance.
This partnership will give Google a better access not only to the mobile market, but also to the search engine market in Japan, where Google lags behind Yahoo.
Mobile service subscriptions exceeded 100 million in Japan as of the end of 2007, with almost 70 million users accessing the Internet through their mobile phones.