Mitsubishi V301D - Camera Phone
31st July 2004
At Mobile Gazette, we last took a look
at Japanese handsets back in May when Vodafone K.K.
of Japan announced a whole range of new handsets, including
V602SH and Sharp V402SH which gave a taste
of what handsets might be like sometime in the future
for the GSM-centric world.
Vodafone Japan insist on naming all
the new handsets on their network V-something regardless
of manufacturer. Out of this bunch, the original Mitsubishi
V301D was a fairly unremarkable phone, consisting of
a fairly standard size clamshell featuring a VGA-resolution
camera, 132x176 pixel main display, picture messaging
and all the typical things you'd find in any handset
worldwide. Of course, the V301D isn't a GSM phone as
it runs on Vodafone KK's PDC network.
So, the Mitsubishi V301D is a decent
but unremarkable phone. So what's changed to make it
more interesting? Well quite simply, Mitsubishi have
taken out the camera. Yes, really.
would a phone manufacturer downgrade their phone by
removing a feature, especially in a highly competitive
marketplace like Japan. The answer is simple - camera
phones pose a huge security risk in certain locations,
especially sensitive manufacturing and research facilities,
and we guess also military and government buildings.
And this move reflects a real headache that many businesses
are beginning to have - how to control this sudden boom
in discrete digital cameras that can be taken anywhere,
cunningly hidden in mobile phones. Don't forget, a few
years ago having this sort of technology in a mobile
would be like something out of a James Bond movie. And
now we don't give it a second thought.. at least most
of the time. You can compare the phones on the image
on the left.
Mitsubishi are not the only manufacturer
to realise this problem. Earlier in the year, Nokia
announced two handsets, the Nokia
6820 and the rarer Nokia
6810. The 6820 features a digital camera, but the
6810 substitutes an FM radio instead. This is a shrewd
move by Nokia because it gives businesses a useful choice.
It's not just about security either - in businesses
camera phones raise issues of increased costs due to
picture messaging and create more work for IT departments
as users struggle to transfer pictures between their
phones and PCs.
Unfortunately for Nokia, they didn't
learn their lesson when they designed the Nokia
9500 Communicator - a fine business orientated tool,
but one that many potential users have rejected in advance
because of the risks of having a camera on board.
So - does the V301D represent the beginning
of a camera phone backlash? At Mobile Gazette, we think
that it does - basically because for many businesses
camera phones are more trouble than they are worth,
and for manufacturers it's easy enough to expand choice
in this way because it's only a minor change to their
production process - in factories that usually ban camera
The Mitsubishi V301D (camera-less version)
will be available exclusively in Japan in August 2004.
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V301D (Camera-less) at a
pixels, 65,000 colours
antenna) / 95 grams
2 hours talk / 14 days standby