Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

After some begging, Nokia sent me one of their new 6680 phones. (As one of my business partners used to say, "never beg... unless it helps.") Thanks! I'd been trying to get my hands on one because it runs Symbian, is fast, and works on 3G networks. (My old 7600 worked on the Japanese 3G network too, but it wasn't Symbian and was a bit clunky to use.) Since J-Phone/Vodaphone and NTT DoCoMo have rolled out 3G in Japan and have roaming agreements with carriers like T-Mobile, which I use, I've been hoping that I could get a good phone that would finally allow me to have a single phone number everywhere.

So far the phone is great. It's faster than my older Symbian phones, has an application that imports data from your old phone (yay!), has 2 high quality cameras and a logical keypad. (The keypad on my 7610 was a bit too "fashionable".) The main camera has a sliding cover, which I think is a good thing. The only thing I don't like about the design is that it looks a bit like a small Treo.

I just looked at the international coverage information for Japan and it says that the "Voice Rate" is $1.99. I assume this is $1.99 / min. Hmm... Then it says the "Internet Rate" is $1.50. I looked around and haven't been able to figure out what that means. Does that mean $1.50 per packet or something? It's still expensive and I'm not sure if I'll use it much, but at least I know I can. A friend of mine mentioned that if Japan had gone with GSM instead of DoCoMo's funky PDC protocol, Japanese handset manufacturers may have had a better chance competing internationally. As it stands, the foreign markets are dominated by non-Japanese handset companies. Maybe with NTT DoCoMo's announcement that they are going all 3G by the end of the year, we'll see some of the handset guys in Japan start making cooler phones for the global market. On the other hand, I have a feeling that DoCoMo will continue to force the handset guys to cripple their phones. Right now you can't SMS anyone outside of DoCoMo from a DoCoMo phone, even though they are finally using the UMTS standard. According to a friend of mine, this is very difficult to do. You actually have to spend a lot of energy to break the system and limit SMS to your own network.

Here is a matrix comparison of the various Nokia phones. As you can see, only the 6630 and the 6680 do WCDMA 2100 which is the 3G protocol that works in Japan.

The other thing I just noticed is that I was able to navigate bluetooth and the email setup and get all of my data moved over to the new phone in minutes. I thought about how much easier things have gotten, but then I realized that the jargon and the interface were practically the same. I remember only a little while ago when I couldn't make heads or tails of any of this. I was the one who had adapted to the phone. Eek. Lock-in.


> A friend of mine mentioned that if Japan had gone with GSM instead of DoCoMo's funky PDC protocol, Japanese handset manufacturers may have had a better chance competing internationally

If that was the price for having one of the most dynamic and advanced mobile phone infrastructures in the world, from a technological and applications perspective, so be it ;-) Would Japan's mobile Internet have benefited being stuck with technological Dodos like GSM's WAP, for example ?

Another phone you might want to consider: Vodafone Japan's 802SE. This phone is better known as the Sony Ericsson V800 outside Japan. The 802SE has a localized OS that actually allows you to compose e-mails and address book entries in Japanese. The phone supports WCDMA, as well as GSM 900/1800/1900. WCDMA+GSM phones like the 802SE or the Sharp 902SH with the SIM lock removed are available on ;-) The Sharp has a better camera than the SE, but is unlikely to be able to communicate with a Mac over USB or Bluetooth e.g. for syncing address books or using its built-in GPRS modem, which limits the phone's usefulness. Tthe Sony Ericssons, OTOH, are known for their iSync and Mac Bluetooth-friendliness.

Hi Joi. How does your new Nokia play with your PowerBook? iSync GPRS/3g voer bluetooth, as MostlyVowels mentioned. 6680 is not listed in Apple's iSync compatibility list...

I am still seraching for my "acdeptabley perfect" phone to replace my ol' good SE T68i (lost, and out of commerce in this part of the world). As a replacement I wanted some "pluses", but I am only getting lotsd of "minuses". My lsit of priorities, in order are 1) allow my PowerBok to go on GPRS via Bluetooth (for thsoes cases where nothing else is available). 2) work with iSync (directly or with Missing Symc or whatever) T68i was grat at both and was realy light and small. I am willing to get something bigger if I can also get 3) be able to increase the font size due to my limited eyesight; 4) wifi 5) work with Skype & SIP client 6) be usable with a GPS (and TomTom, if possible). As 3to 5 require a big device, be able to use a bluetooth headset

Nothing to do :-( T630 could do 1 & 2, but with more bulk than T68i and with smaller, non-editable font sizes. Nokia 9300 or 9500 are the best at 3, but won't do skype. Same for SE 910i or Treo. I just bought an i-Mate Jam but I think I am retruning it: no way to use GPRS DUN with PowrBook, and what's moreridiculous, no way to use Bluetooth headset for voice dialing, or for any other app such as Skype.... (I simply don't understand what Microsoft and HTC have managed to do with Bluetooth in this device)...

Brief, the ideal phone seeems not to exist. Or ate least for me, but if we are all nearly forced to "wear" bulky boxes like those prehistoric StarTacs, at least theycould provide the features!!!! (have any of you "tried" to get a phone WITHOUT a camera, lately? and hell, we are getting the price and tghe bulk of the cmaeras, but with a ridiculously low quality, so far....)

OK, end of the rant. Enjoy your phone, bring it to Luxembourg, and jsut tell whether it syncs and does GPRS with OS X ;-)

The 6680 is a great mobile but it doesn't do iSync as it doesn't support the bluetooth synchronization protocol Apple uses.

With a little jiggery pokery you can get it to view Japanese text although I haven't managed to get Japanese input to work yet.

Yup. Seems like it doesn't sync yet with the Mac.

I don't think many people do SMS in Japan. Everyone I know on DoCoMo's network is reachable at their address, and we don't have any problems sending mail back and forth with the folks or wherever.

SMS is really useful if you work with people outside of Japan. I find SMS indispensable and am now happy that I can get SMSs from my friends even in Japan.

amadeu, if you must have WiFi and Skype functionality, a bulky PDA seems indeed the only practical choice today.

Here are ome URLs for your perusal ;-)

Skype on a iPaq h6340 PDA with a Sonyericsson HBH-600 BlueTooth headset (Link)

For syncing a PocketPC PDA with a Mac:

PocketMac (Link)

MissingSync (Link)

A major caveat: these syncing utilities do not seem to be compatible with OS 10.4 / Tiger :-(


I love my 6680 too. It is a nice phone.

I found that the address book sync does not work with my older nokia phone, a 6310i, but instead causes my old phone to reboot!

So I had to enter my address book manually.

I was a little dissapointed that I could not use iSync, as that is one of the reasons I bought the phone, I had thought that all Series 60 Nokia phones were supported.

As for the G3 support here in the Netherlands, It has been pretty good so far, good coverage, and with approx 50% of my monthly costs being data!

Picture quality is nowhere near my Sony DSC-P150 7.2 MPixel camera, but it is more than adequate for a camera phone.

Have fun


I got me a 6680 about 3 weeks ago - great phone. Combine it with a nokia bluetooth keyboard (SU-8W) and who needs a laptop anymore! :) (you will need really strong eye-glasses after a while though).

Joi, as far as I am concerned no Nokia phone is able to properly connect with most DoCoMo's 3G base stations. DoCoMo has updated some of its base stations, but large parts of the Japan is still using the old firmware that is not compatible with any W-CDMA/GSM handsets except Motorola's. This is the reason why even if T-Mobile has roaming agreement with DoCoMo, DoCoMo only supports inbound roaming with its rented Motorola handset. If you need a handset that can roam using DoCoMo 3G network in Japan, then you need to get one of Motorola's W-CDMA/GSM handsets (A1000, E1000 etc).

Kyle, regarding Japanese text input on non-Japanese handset, there is a free Symbian UIQ application that will allow you to input kana and kanji. I can input Japanese text with this on Motorola A1000. Contact me if you want to know further.

Arnold: I've been using the Nokia on both the DoCoMo and J-Phone networks and haven't had any trouble calling or SMS'ing in or out of the network using my T-Mobile sim.

Perhaps you could help 6680's user by publishing this Link ?

The software on the 6680 just crashed - or at least, the taking pictures side of it. Won't take, won't store" & says "System Error X" when I try. The customer support is a joke & they take all your details with the caveat that they'll pass them on to anyone that's heard of Nokia. Is this an isolated case or are these types of glitches common?

Hi to every Mac fan and Nokia 6680 user,

Can anybody help me please to get iSync starting to work with my Nokia 6680?

Thanks for any comment.


Just a note to those posted here on iSync. New 2.1 version announced 11 July 05 supposedly fully supports 6680! Hurrah!

Excellent! iSync worked!


Great news about iSync working now, All I need to get working is the GPRS/3G connection.

Has anybody had any joy, 'cos I can't get it to do a thing.

If anybody know of any guides or anything that would be great.

If we're posting petitions, then here's another one for users of this phone on Orange(UK)

Hi people. Has it been worked out whether the Nokia 6680 can be used to SMS, e-mail etc. in Japanese character sets? It's mainly for wank value, but I'm also considering teaching English in Japan upon graduation, and am pretty chuffed to have found a phone that should work on 3G networks both there and in Australia.

hey anyone want to know how to get this amazing phone for only 40 bucks?
email me at:
ps: this is not a gimic or hoax. its true only 40 bucks!!

hey anyone want to know how to get this amazing phone for only 40 bucks?
email me at:
ps: this is not a gimic or hoax. its true only 40 bucks!!

hey is there chance to download 3rd party aplications to nokia 6680? such as gps,internet comunicators(icq and so one if avilable)i know that it runs symbian but is it possible. i consider to buy motorola a1000 it is possible to download 3rd party aplications in it. please anyone help me to take choice.iggy uk

in relation to H Davies, (The software on the 6680 just crashed - or at least, the taking pictures side of it. Won't take, won't store" & says "System Error X" when I try. The customer support is a joke & they take all your details with the caveat that they'll pass them on to anyone that's heard of Nokia. Is this an isolated case or are these types of glitches common?)

i have got the sme problem and its really getting to me now because 3 wont touch it, nor will my insurance company, the nearest nokia repair shop to me is 55 km & i dont drive. a friend of mine has had no lighting on his screen for a few weeks, and now the screen has decided to go totally balnk, whilst the 'phone' side of things is fully functional

I also have a 6680 and i am very satisfied with it... The only thing is that why can't i have animated backgrounds?
Anyway... Who's the Santa in the pic? :) woof!

Los moviles Nokia se caracterizan por su gran calidad, tanto en el aspecto de usuariario novel como en caracteristicas avanzadas. Este terminal por lo que e estado leyendo es uno de los mejores y felicito a nokia por su trabajo e ir innovando dia a dia en favor de sus fieles compradores.

Hello. I also have 6680. But i have a problem. It says system error, and when i write sms, i can't use letter or symbols, it only writes numbers. What should i do?

Joi, こんばんは。
I know this post is from a few years ago, but I just found it. I've been looking for a Japanese-input for my mobile phone, of enabled mobile phone. My phone is Sony Ericsson Z610i, non Japanese. I can view Japanese characters, but cannot write in Japanese characters. It only supports Latin and Chinese. As per MostlyVowels's comment, I looked for SE V800 on my local Sony Ericsson website but didn't find it.

As for software, I found this:
But it only works on SE P990, W950.
If you know any software which enable Japanese input on SE Z610i, or other mobile phone with Japanese-input method, please let me know.

hey can anyone help me pls. I've got nokia 6680 too, and it's software crashed.... i think...
i loved the phone till recently, when it suddenly stopped working. It's really strange - some of the buttons just dont want to work, but it's not because they're dustry or smthing. I know that for a fact, because I cleaned it a couple times ... and in one point, when the phone decides... it just starts working perfectly. till the next crash. my brother suggested reinstalling the software. any ideas how can i do that? or... any other solutions may be...
i'll be really greatful for any kind of help.. -> Des