Archive for sales

worldwide flashlite device sales overtake japan!

flash devices worldwide  For a long time now, japan has been the promised land for flashlite content. now it seems that worldwide sales are catching up! Presenting the latest suspicious analyst report!Its great to have this data, though i think a lot of the numbers are for potential devices – eg the US numbers for 2.1 look like Verizon’s flash-over-brew. But, at least there’s the potential there, nowthe subcribers now have to get activated by the  content. So no more moaning at Adobe all you content providers – go out and make some cool stuff!

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Docomo announce flashlite 3.0 – 80M flashlite handsets shipped to date

DoCoMo Natsuno flashlite 3 announcement

Natsuno Takeshi from Docomo did the opening keynote for the Adobe conference today with a great announcement.

Docomo will be the first in the world to sell flashlite 3.0 handsets, by the end of this month.

Some hilites:

  • 94% of docomo handsets are flash-enabled.
  • The “i-menu” – docomo’s portal is full-flash. They get about 25-30M viewers per month, making it definitely the highest trafficked mobile site in the world.
  • 30% of DoCoMo subsribers are on flat-rate data (KDDI is much higher, about 75% i recall)
  • The profits for the voice business of docomo keep falling every year, while the profits for the data business go up every year.
  • The data business gets increasingly profitable every year – by about 100 billion yen. They expect that record to be repeated again this year. (these numbers seem off the scale – 100 billion yen is like a billion dollars???)
  • As the UI improves, usage goes up. Flashlite has been a big help in this, so flashlite has made them a lot of money.
  • Two companies in the valley starting with “A” are really cool! “M” Companies in seattle are really lame :)
  • i-channel is built on flashcast, and has got 13.8M subscribers inside of two years.
  • i-channel is the opposite of their i-menu – its like the super-limited version for people who are overwhelmed by the choice on i-menu. You can pick from news, weather, sports…5 basic channels.

And there were also some nice stats on shipments of flashlite handsets. DoCoMo has so far shipped nearly 80,000,000 flashlite enabled handsets. KDDI has probably shipped about half as many, and adding softbank in too, that probably gives 150M units sold in japan. Of course with replacement rates not all of these are active.
As well as all the new features in flashlite 3, there are some other changes to the flashlite 3 implementation that allow us to do other cool things like attach a flashfile to an email – so this will allow flash messaging apps to flourish. Specs here

CNet has a nice gallery of the new phones.

It’s a good time to be making FL content – in japan at least!

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What FlashLite content is selling in Japan?

I get asked a lot by overseas companies, “what FlashLite content is actually selling in Japan?”

So here’s a round-up. Over here its custom menus, mobile games, and of course intro animations for sites to make them look pretty.

Flash portal sites
While not “content for sale”, all three carriers here use full-flash for their top menus. This has got people used to flash navigation in a big way.


Flash has mostly replaced bitmaps for screensavers over here, and it’s still a decent sized business. However, peope aren’t as active on setting screensavers as they once were; the novelty has worn off, and there are so many other options like using photos of your friends, or photos sent from a puri-kura machine. In addition, there are many many “katte sites” that basically upload graphics from magazines, that are free for users, making life even more tough for official content providers who are trying to charge for the same thing *and* pay royalties.

Bizmodel: mostly 200~300yen monthly subscription for “all you can download” (tsukai-houdai).


Chaku means arrival; “chaku-mero” is ringtone or literally arrival-tone. Ringtones also signalled the arrival of the mobile data biz in japan, and big groups inside the carriers have been riding on this ever since. Following on “chaku-motion” video-ringtone, and “chaku-uta” (arrival song, or MP3 ringtone in the US, including master rights). The carriers basically stuck chaku- on the front of many services they wanted to be hits – and so was born ChakuFlash – flash ringtones.

However, the timing was off. Chaku-flash doesn’t support real sampled audio, just cheesy midi tones. This is partly due to more complex synchronisation rights being required for slapping your own images to a real artist’s voice. So, chaku-flash basically stands for cheesy ringtones with cute animation. However cute the animation looks, if your ringtone sounds like a foreign phone, its embarrassing. Ringtones are meant to be heard and not seen. Batsu.

Bizmodel: chakuflash is mostly provided inside a portal with other items like screensavers, ringtones, on a 300yen/month subscription basis. Often the screensavers are “all you can eat” but the ringtones are not, since JASRAC payments are requested per song.

KDDI developer’s page

Flashcast and i-channel


Flashcast debuted with the docomo re-brand as “i-channel”, which is a *hugely* popular service. However, its basically a text-ticker delivered by email, which links to a flashfile (not really flash push media, but the ticker is a big hit).

i-channel is only available on Docomo, where they actually put a i-channel button on the phone – the ultimate level of commitment to a new technology.

DoCoMo i-channel info in english:

Since i-channel updates (at least the text part) is pushed to the phone, this service acts as a great way to pull people back to your site. But it’s usually offered as a free service as part of an existing site; I haven’t come across a dedicated i-channel premium service as yet.

Flash menus (“kisekae”)

Custom flash menus have a dis-proportionately high level of downloads, compared to the number of handsets supporting them. But each file has to be made custom for each handset, much like the java fragmentation nightmare. however, there are high-hopes in the content community that custom menus will become the new screensaver (personalization) cash-cow.

Link to docomo info page in English

The KDDI equivalent page is not public unfortunately. Pikkle is an official KDDI content provider, so we’ve compared these two offerings in detail.

Biz model: chaku-flash and flahs menus are typically offered on flash portal sites, as part of an “all you can eat” model which maybe 300yen per month. Often these sites have a points system, like Pikkle’s own “Charajam”.

Flash Video

Not yet! Docomo is still at FL1.1, which is keeping the lid on things, but I’m not spilling any beans in pointing out that FlashLite 3.0 was RTM’d in in the first half of 2007. So given DoCoMo’s next round of 905 handsets expected in the Autumn you might anticipate some new video features here.

It’ll be interesting to see how adobe handle platform fragmentation with 1.1, 2.0 and 3.0 handsets all out at the same time…
Right now i cant even play japanese FlashLite 1.1 files on the FL9 PC player >o<


DoCoMo still being 1.1 means flashlite games are at the low-end. Additionally none of the big game companies have an interest in promoting this new technology, where the barriers to development are in one way lower – although, try to “program” pacman in flashlite 1.1 and you’ll be longing for Java.

There aren’t really any huge breakaway “official” flash game portals, but there has been a huge success in including casual flash games on all kinds of other sites – magazines, music services, general portals… and of course Social Networks (see below).

Typical bizmodel: 300yen/month, all-you-ca-eat, or free/advertising supported.

Flash and Social Networks

meanwhile, DeNA continues their rise to dominance with mobile-game-town They have over 50% of japanese teenagers subscribed to the site – its like cyworld was for Korea. This service has been the killer app for mobile, with its blend of flash games, avatars, points and social networking.

5M subs and growing, and none come from the carrier menu – it’s a completely off-deck service. The biggest official game site ever was 200k subs, so this is a Big Deal and a game changer for the biz here. “they come for the games and stay for the community”. I read somewhere that MBGA have over 50% of japanese teenagers subscribed to the site – its like cyworld was for Korea. This service has been the killer app for mobile, with its blend of flash games, avatars, points and social networking. And it’s a very different type of entertainment SNS fromthe PC sites. PC sites are tools, and mobile SNS are time-wasters, fun destinations.

Biz model: advertising – points/affiliate model. If you sign-up on for paid services offered by MBGA’s advertisers, you can get “mobile gold”, which can be used to power up your avatar. eg sign up for a 300yen ringtone site and get 250 Moba-Gold. A typical avatar item costs from 20 to 500 moba-gold.

Let’s Flash!

Here are some links to the carrier developer sites. Japanese only, sorry. In, ahem, no particular order:

Want to sell your content in japan?

If you are a flash content producer or developer overseas, and want to get your content distributed in Japan, please contact us: info at pikkle dot com. Pikkle operate official carrier services, Flash SNS sites, and also develop and supply games to many other official content companies here. We are the mobile flash specialistos!

And what is going on elsewhere?

So, what Flash content is selling in europe or the US? As of Sept 2007, almost 8 months after launch, I heard still only one company has any flash content on the US Verizon deck. Why is the world so black and white? From a huge boom in Japan, to a complete barren-waste land outside. How long can politics hold back the dam from bursting?

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