NTT DoCoMo – Japan’s largest carrier – which confirmed that it will start selling the Samsung Galaxy S later this month (it was reported earlier as well), and which will also offer the Galaxy Tab tablet in March 2011, has announced a trial of its own ebook market for its smartphones, including both the Galaxy S and Tab.
While the Galaxy S has already hit carriers around the world, DoCoMo will be the first carrier in Japan to offer the Android phone (with 2.2 to boot, reportedly). So good news for DoCoMo customers. The Galaxy Tab will also be coming as well, and that leads us into the really interesting news – the trial launch of DoCoMo’s own e-bookstore, apparently called “DoCoMo Market”.
The trial will include 50 titles, “including electronic books, manga comics, magazines and photo books, some linked with supplementary videos and maps,” and is intended as a way for the carrier to get customer feedback from later this month through December, before the ebook market (in conjunction with publisher Dai Nippon) is fully launched early next year with over 100,000 titles. During the trial, smartphone users will apparently get, “All titles and content…provided for free, other than packet transmission charges,” according to the press release.
As we’ve reported on before, the ebook market in Japan is still on shaky ground, mainly because of copyright and royalties issues (there is a fascinating article today about grey market digitizing of books in Japan on TechEye). That said, Google plans to launch Google Editions in Japan in 2011 despite the problems, and certainly, having Japan’s major mobile carrier get into the act should continue to push the market – at least slowly – towards more ebook reading, especially with the Galaxy Tab and other tablets.
The ebook market in Japan certainly is intriguing, however, and we’ll be sure to keep a close eye on.