• Chinese Online Video Company PPLive Raises A Whopping $250 Million

    PPLive, a Chinese online video company, has raised a monster Series D round from SoftBank, securing as much as $250 million. With the investment, SoftBank has taken a 35% stake in PPLive, which offers China’s leading online streaming and VOD service PPTV. Read More

  • Yours For $1,270: FRANCK MULLER Case For iPhone 4

    Truth be told, I never heard of FRANCK MULLER before, but the (apparently quite famous) watch brand from Switzerland has designed a special case for the iPhone 4 that can now be pre-ordered in Japan. And as FRANCK MULLER is a luxury brand, each case will set you back a cool $1,270 [JP]. Read More

  • Yours For $1,270: FRANCK MULLER Case For iPhone 4

    Truth be told, I never heard of FRANCK MULLER before, but the (apparently quite famous) watch brand from Switzerland has designed a special case for the iPhone 4 that can now be pre-ordered in Japan. And as FRANCK MULLER is a luxury brand, each case will set you back a cool $1,270 [JP]. Read More

  • Japanese iPhone Gets E-Wallet Functionality (Kind Of)

    As we reported multiple times over the past months, the iPhone is a hit in Japan. When compared to other Japanese phones, however, it lacks a few key features such as digital TV tuners or an e-wallet function. Provider SoftBank introduced a hardware solution for the former problem in 2008, and now there’s one for the latter, too. Read More

  • Bartz Takes the Hint, Stays away from Alibaba's Board…for Now

    Carol Bartz has been the fashionable Silicon Valley punching bag for much of 2010, and that’s no doubt escalating in private conversations in Sunnyvale today as hundreds of Yahoo employees are told they no longer have a job– just in time for Christmas! But give her credit for one savvy move: Not naming herself to Alibaba’s board as she signaled she would earlier in the year. Read More

  • Japan's SoftBank Offers Free 16GB iPad With 2-Year Contract

    A free iPad, how does that sound to you? You can get one, but you need to live in Japan and sign a two-year contract with SoftBank, the exclusive iPad provider in this country. The telecom behemoth announced a new pricing plan [JP] under which they fully subsidize a 16GB iPad (the Wi-Fi+3G model). Read More

  • Vader Waves Hand. "There Is No iPhone." But There Is — In A Big Way In Japan.

    Vader Waves Hand. "There Is No iPhone." But There Is — In A Big Way In Japan.

    Remember back in 2008 when there was a lot of talk about how the iPhone would flop in Japan? 91 percent of Japanese would not be buying the device, said one survey. By 2009, that talk inevitably turned to how it had already flopped. With some even writing about how the Japanese people “hate” the device. Then something funny happened. That kind of talk abruptly stopped. And for… Read More

  • SoftBank's Full Winter/Spring Cell Phone Line-Up

    <img src="; / Japan's No. 3 mobile carrier, SoftBank Mobile, has unveiled its cell phone line-up for this winter and spring yesterday. We already blogged in-depth about the two most interesting models, Sharp’s naked-eye 3D Android phone, but here’s the full line-up (not including simple… Read More

  • Galapagos 003SH/005SH: Sharp Shows 3D-Enabled Smartphones

    In September, we blogged on CrunchGear about Sharp’s entry into the Android tablet sector (the company is currently readying a 5.5-inch and a 10.8-inch version). Strangely dubbed “Galapagos”, the tablets, which will be available in Japan starting next month, will soon be joined by two smartphones carrying the same name. Read More

  • Video: Japan Gets Gundam "Robot" Phone

    After teasing it in May, Japan’s No. 3 mobile carrier SoftBank Mobile (25 million subscribers) now added a Gundam-themed cell phone to its line-up. Gundam is one of the most famous anime series out there, and the new handset is geared towards fans of that series (and cell phone otaku in general). Read More

  • Confirmed: Zynga Raises $150 Million More From Softbank – Asian Invasion Imminent

    News broke yesterday evening that social gaming giant Zynga has raised $150 million from Japanese firm Softbank Capital, bringing the company’s total funding up to a whopping $366 million. We’ve confirmed the funding from sources close to Zynga. The investment from Asia will likely pave the way for Zynga’s expansion into the Japanese market. Zynga already has interests in… Read More

  • Photo gallery: Japan's SoftBank shows 13 new, Twitter-powered cell phones

    We’ve shown you the summer cell phone lineup from KDDI (Japan’s No. 2 carrier) yesterday. Today, Japan’s third largest carrier, SoftBank Mobile, showed its own summer lineup during a special press conference, and all of their 13 new models have one thing in common: they all come with Twitter pre-installed. The buyers of these cell phones will be able to access Twitter either… Read More

  • Ustream Asia Debuts, New iPhone Apps For Japan

    Just four months after a major investment from Japan’s SoftBank, Ustream has officially launched its Asian arm. The live broadcasting site unveiled Ustream Asia this Monday, a joint venture with TV Bank Corporation (a unit of SoftBank). Ustream is also rolling out two new Japanese apps for the iPhone, a viewer and a broadcaster, specifically made for the market. The roots of Ustream… Read More

  • New market study shows iPhone continues to be big in Japan

    A lot has been written on how the iPhone performs in Japan, the world’s most advanced mobile nation, but the general consensus in this country now is that it sells very well (even though both Apple and provider SoftBank Mobile refuse to break down Japan-specific sales numbers). It’s rumored that the number of iPhones sold in Japan has passed 3 million. There are reasons for… Read More

  • Ustream's Massive Round: $20 Million Now, $55 Million More Later. And Maybe More.

    Streaming video site Ustream has just pulled in a massive new round of funding: $75 million. This second round was led by SoftBank, a Japanese telecom giant. Previously, the site had raised just below $13 million in funding, which came from its Series A in 2008 and its angel round in late 2007. Update: While Ustream noted the $75 million number, SoftBank has clarified that they’re… Read More

  • SoftBank's complete 17 cell phone winter line-up (photo gallery)

    KDDI did it as early as last month, and today it was NTT Docomo’s and SoftBank’s turn to unveil their line-ups of new cell phones for the Japanese market. Here are all of SoftBank’s 17 future models [JP], which will be sold in Japan from this fall through spring 2010. Read More

  • Super-cute Hello Kitty photo frame

    Japan is heaven on earth for fans of cute gadgets. In the case of mega-popular cartoon cat Hello Kitty, the country offers Kitty-branded notebooks, USB flash drives, a ventilator and even a photo printer. And today, major Japanese telecommunications company SoftBank announced another Hello Kitty gadget, the PhotoVision HW001 KT [JP] (a digital photo frame). Read More

  • Survey: iPhone 3GS best selling cell phone in Japan in July

    It seems Japan, the country with the most advanced mobile infrastructure on the globe, has come to embrace the iPhone. According to a survey conducted by market research company GfK‘s Japanese subsidiary [JP], the 32GB model of the iPhone 3GS was the most popular phone in Japan last month. Read More

  • Japanese iPhone users can buy $1,000 cases from today

    Despite being able to choose between an enormous number of super-advanced cell phones for years now, the Japanese have come to embrace the iPhone. The number of iPhones in circulation is estimated to have topped the 1 million mark quite some time ago, which triggered SoftBank BB (a sister company of Japan-exclusive iPhone provider SoftBank Mobile) to start offering something very Japanese… Read More

  • Japanese cell phone commercial: Brad Pitt plays disgruntled sumo champion's butler (video)

    Brad Pitt has been shooting TV commercials for Japan’s third biggest cell phone carrier SoftBank for a few years now, and more often than not, he plays a total moron. In this new spot, currently in heavy rotation on Japanese TV, he tries everything to please sumo champion Musashimaru. Read More