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iPhone 3GS Is Number One In Japan 250

Posted by kdawson
from the buddha-phone dept.
mudimba writes "The iPhone 3GS 32GB is currently the best selling phone in Japan (the 16GB version came in at number nine). This is in stark contrast to reports from earlier this year that the Japanese hate the iPhone. Nobody is sure what specific features caused the change of heart, though it is speculated that video capture and voice control might be part of the answer. When the 3G iPhone first came out it saw a spike in sales, but unlike the 3GS it was unable to outsell locally-made handsets."
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iPhone 3GS Is Number One In Japan

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  • Gaming (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EMeta (860558) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @08:39AM (#29104165)
    The iPhone is turning into one of the foremost portable gaming platforms. Even the nice Nokia phones can't claim that. They've put Civilization on it now, FPSs, RTSs. The screen size:total size ratio is probably the highest yet of a gaming device. What's not to like?

    I'm not saying this accounts for all the sales, but this is Japan we're talking about.
  • by donnacha (161610) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @08:57AM (#29104313) Homepage
    Although Japan is an important market in it's own right, success in Japan is more important for the ripples in creates in the rest of Asia. Trends in Japan remain an important influencer in the region, with Asians generally paying far more attention to Japanese fashion, pop stars, gadgets and movies than American equivalents. Apple has negotiated an initial sale of 5 million iPhones to Unicom in China, the news that it is now the No. 1 phone in Japan (and ripple affects such as more Japanese pop stars and actors using them) will make that first 5 million sell even faster. With North America, Europe and, now, key parts of Asia on board, the rest of the world will follow. What we are looking at here is the emergence of a global computing standard that will be with us for decades.
  • Re:Obvious (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @09:00AM (#29104335)

    The iPhone 3GS, the current phone from Apple, lacks TV, Swipe payment, cannot act as a visa/mastercard/AE etc, a decent camera, HD video recording or HD video playing, Television (analogue or digital) reception, radio (analogue, digital or satellite), VPN, WiFi sharing, trackpad emulation, a full keyboard, facial recognition and full voice control - all of which have been in all japanese phones since at least 2007.

  • by cheetah (9485) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @09:25AM (#29104625)

    If you haven't seen most Japanese Phones, they tend to be larger on average than American cell phones. The iPhone is about the same size as most phones here in Japan. It is a little wider but thinner than most phones but it is very normal in terms of bulk(volume).

    In fact one of my Japanese friends just brought home a 32gb iPhone two days ago. So I asked him why he bought the 32gb version vs the 16gb. For him at least it came down to comparing features of the iPhone vs other Japanese cell phones. He felt that the extra space allowed the iPhone to be a computer replacement. Why having having 32gb vs 16gb suddenly makes it into small computer vs a big cell phone, I don't know. He also said that softbank(a cell phone company here in Japan) is pricing the iPhone very competitively.

    He feels he bought a small computer that can make calls and not really a cell phone. Maybe that is why... 16gb of storage for a computer would be nothing... but 32gb would be far better at least if you think of the iPhone as a small computer and not as a cell phone. That might be why the 32gb version is selling far more than the 16gb version.

  • Re:Sharp Phones? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by anti-pop-frustration (814358) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @12:00PM (#29106703) Journal

    So, as an ignorant American I am baffled by the rest of the list. The Sharp SH-06A is the no. 2 phone? It seems to be a fairly boring clamshell phone with a nice camera. Am I missing something?

    You are indeed missing something. The Japanese cell phone market is completely different from the European or US market. The whole things is well explained in this New York Times article [nytimes.com]

    Basically it's a software vs hardware thing, and it boils down to this: Unlike the rest of the world market, which is software oriented right now (and this one of the reason apple is doing so well), the Japanese cell phone market is actually much more technologically oriented.

    All it takes for a phone to be "cool" in the west now is a big touchscreen and facebook/twitter apps (and let's face it, it also probably needs to be an apple product). But seriously, what sells phone is software: email, IM, internet apps, etc. What sells in Japan is hardware features, because internet-enabled cell phones aren't a novelty there anymore, internet at 3G speeds is old news (2001), it's just part of what a phone is supposed to do, not the selling point anymore.

    Then the form factor, this is a completely subjective thing, you only find the Sharp SH-06A boring because it's a clamshell phone... and this is exactly why it is cool in Japan. The candybar (a la iphone) phones are seen as business-like/boring there. The vast majority of japanese phones are clamshells but that form factor is basically dead in the west, it had its time, but it's gone out of fashion.

    The Sharp SH-06A is a great phone, I'd buy in a heartbeat if I could. Why?

    - 848×480 resolution: There are very few non-japanese phone with those kind of resolutions. Yet this is a major feature as far as browsing goes, plus videos can be watched in their full native resolution glory. Resolution is one of those area where the iphone dominant position is actually holding the market back (by setting low norm/expectations).
    - High quality Sharp AQUOS screen (also a touchscreen by the way)
    - 10MP camera
    - High-res video recording
    - It looks a lot cooler than any iphone/blackberry/palm!

  • by riegel (980896) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @12:47PM (#29107431) Homepage

    Got it. So the manufacturer with the widest range wins.

    Not sure how that information is useful.

    When I got a phone I asked for the cheapest one I could find. So if that happens to be a Nokia then it proves Nokia has better phones? I think the posters logic is flawed.

  • by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @02:53PM (#29109537)
    I'm always surprised by the comments regarding Japan, the Japanese and their behavior. I lived the iPhone "revolution" from the inside in Japan, and the 3Gs being -now- at the top of the sales is not a surprise.

    Initially, a bit more than a year ago, when SoftBank released the iPhone, it didn't work well for a number of reasons
    1. The success abroad of the iPhone made the competition on the watch, this was reflected by a lot of bad publicity directed to the iPhone in the news
    2. SoftBank initial contract requested to make an advance of 70,000 yen, besides the regular fees
    3. SoftBank and their many pitiful shops gave an image (at the time) that did not go in par with the luxurious iphone
    4. Many critics emerged (cannot change battery, fingernail insensitive screen, no TV, slow battery life [was true at the time], no cut&paste, can be slow)
    5. Finally, many people were waiting for their contract with their current carrier to end.


    Then at the end of 2008, SoftBank offered the iPhone (8GB) for zero yen (16GB was 400yen/m). From that time, little by little, it interested more and more people. Most of the foreigners I know got an iPhone.
    I would say that things started to change from Spring 2009. Japanese amazing applications started to be advertised on TV etc...
    Then arrived the 3Gs (June) and, at the same time, more and more Japanese wanted an iPhone.

    The Japanese prefer the latest releases, and there is not much difference between the price of the 3Gs (monthly) compared to the 3G 16B.
    Thus, when the "iPhone mania" started, everybody got the last one: the 3Gs.
    The sales recommend the 3Gs simply because it is the last, and it's faster, longer battery life AND because the compass eases a lot the GPS navigation.
    Not the voice control! Please, this is a joke. Nobody cares about that, here.
  • by Kagura (843695) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @03:39PM (#29110205)

    You're really citing Daniel "make shit up as I go along and claim it's the truth" Eran as a source? The iPhone is considered a big, bulky, slow phone in Japan. Maybe the speed of the 3GS makes it more appealing. Actually, you're probably Daniel Eran, so it would make sense to cite yourself.

    Strange. I just got back from Japan a week ago, and anecdotal evidence be damned, there were a ton of iPhones there. I was amazed it was selling so well.

  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @06:01PM (#29112049)

    I have the iPod Touch and I think it may be one of the greatest devices I have used, when I have wifi, and it is still lacking many of the iPhones features.

    Precisely. I also just got a free ipod touch with a recent laptop purchase and to my huge surprise, I think the thing is as cool as all get out. I'm a serious computer dork and I didn't want one of these things at all because I didn't think that having one of these was worth bothering with when I can just use a regular computer just as easily. However, I've found I'm using the ipod touch to do more and more of my non intensive tasks and just leaving the computer off. Once you jailbreak it, you can do quite a bit of things that a normal computer would do (e.g. mount it with sshfs, transfer files to it, etc.)

    The difference between the iphones and other cell phones is that the iphone is actually a really cool device, not just a phone. The last cell phones I have gotten from Motorola have gotten progressively worse (!) in terms of UI and even just plain reliability. Not to mention just about any kind of phone is much more limited than what the ipod touch does. E.g. my girlfriend's "smart" phone does e-mail, but no web-browser, and even if you have a web-browser, often it's a crippled in functionality and not nearly as nice to use as the zooming features on Safari. We get articles about the ipod and iphone because they blow just about every other device out of the water. Other phones might have similar functionality, but tend to not be as easy to use, or aren't designed well, etc.

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