The turnaround at electronics maker Sharp reflects a revolution in business thinking in Japan that has seen an embrace of innovation, entrepreneurship and risk-taking. "Survival today means innovating and doing things that no one else does," said Katsuhiko Machida, Sharp's president. The company bet early on the LCD TV, positioning itself to become a market leader.
EBay's online payment unit plans to offer a service for consumers to make purchases and money transfers using text messaging from mobile devices. PayPal Mobile is expected to launch in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. in the next few weeks.
Although consumers are often uncomfortable with the fact that people may be piggybacking on their unsecured Wi-Fi network, many find the task of setting up a security scheme daunting. "The complexity of existing security mechanisms is frustrating to many, but they regard it as a problem they just can't solve," one analyst explains, adding that firms are working on more consumer-friendly technologies.
The competition between plasma and LCD TVs is intensifying as larger, less-expensive LCD sets begin to erode the cost advantages plasma sets once offered. Plasma sets likely will continue to dominate the market for screens larger than 45 inches.
Sony's PlayStation Network Platform, an online service that will debut with the company's PS3 console in November, could feature game updates and add-ons, according to Phil Harrison, president of worldwide studios for Sony's PlayStation unit. "I believe that games can have the same social currency of a great television program," Harrison said.