Monday, February 1, 2010

Mophie Helps Japanese iPhones Get Their Shop On

Michigan based iPhone and iPod accessory maker Mophie is on the verge of solving one of the biggest complaints in the Japanese market about the iPhone, according to a story on Electonista. Over 60mil Japanese handsets support Sony's RFID-based, stored-value, mobile payment standard known as FeliCa, which allows consumers from Sapporo to Nagasaki to buy train tickets and iced-coffees with the waive of a handset over a ubiquitous smart terminal. The iPhone, which after some early disappointment is now the top-selling smartphone in the market, doesn't support this feature and it doesn't look like Apple has any plans to put the Sony chip under its hood anytime soon. But never fear, it looks like Mophie has solved the problem by embedding the chip in an "intelligent case" that works in conjunction with a downloadable App... cool workaround! According to the story the product will be in the market by Spring.

I have two takeaways from this story. 1) I continue to be jealous/frustrated that the US is lagging so far behind Japan (amongst others) in the practical implementation of mobile payments specifically and RFID/NFC based payment systems in general. Though I'll hand it to MasterCard for giving it a go with PayPass; and 2) it woke me up to some bitchin' things Mophie's doing with intelligent cases, including a FLO TV enabling product called the Juice Pack and a credit card reader called Marketplace.

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