Now streaming: pics on Japanese phones

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TOKYO -- A back catalog of about 3,000 movies produced by Kadokawa Herald Pictures will soon be available on mobile phones in Japan, along with thousands of animated TV programs, music video clips and other multimedia entertainment, executives said Tuesday.

Osami Suzuki, senior vp of Kadokawa Mobile Corp., said the new "i Movie Gate" service offers consumers the first chance to stream full-length feature films onto a mobile phone, an innovation made possible because of the rapid improvements in the time it takes to download such data.

The system launched in Japan on Monday and an English-language version went online Tuesday via leading Japanese telecommunication company NTT DoCoMo's i-mode mobile phone network.

"One year ago, DoCoMo was only able to move 384 kilobytes per second, but that has increased dramatically with the introduction of High Speed Download Packet Access, and we're now able to stream at 10 megabytes per second," he said. "And in 12 months from now, we will be up to 40 mbps, which means that users will be able to get a two-minute movie in less than one second."

Users will be able to purchase points each month, with 1,300 points costing ¥1,050 ($8.60). A feature film will cost 350 points and a cartoon will go for 200 points, Suzuki said, with users able to purchase extra points whenever they need.

About 130 titles are available now, including music videos, but that figure is expected to rise quickly, Suzuki said. The system also will act as a gateway to the Kadokawa Action Square, where users will be able to access the company's 43 mobile sites that offer everything from cooking recipes to games and shopping.

The system took 18 months to develop and Kadokawa aims to promote its numerous divisions, which include operating multiplex cinemas and publishing magazines, by enabling users to purchase or reserve products through their mobile phones.
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