Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Cellphones Apple

iPhone Has 46% of Japanese Smartphone Market 214

MBCook writes "Despite claims earlier in the year that the iPhone was hated by Japanese consumers (later disproved), the iPhone has been doing well in the land of the rising sun and the evidence is in. Apple has taken 46% of the Japanese smartphone market, cutting in half the once 27% market share of the previous lead, Advance Sharp W-Zero3 (Japanese site). The article includes a large chart of the market share of Japanese smartphones over the last 3 years."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

iPhone Has 46% of Japanese Smartphone Market

Comments Filter:
  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @12:54PM (#30488942) Journal

    It's probably because Sony, being Based in Tokyo, knows a heck of a lot more about Japanese Culture then Microsoft, an American Company who caters to Americans. Given that every game a Japanese Teenager would want to play (Meaning Anime style Haircuits and/or cool swords and guns) came out exclusively for the PS3.

    The point is, a game console is dependant on games. Games are dependant on developers. Developers are influenced by culture.

    Phones, however, are not so much. If it can talk, text, and email, its good to go. The iPhone is flashy, and possibly "better" than the other smartphones they've got selling over there.

    Foreign has nothing to do with it.

  • by paimin ( 656338 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:10PM (#30489214)
    So, you're saying it's even more impressive, given that it's 46% of such a large pool?
  • by Mekkah ( 1651935 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:12PM (#30489238) Journal
    If it includes every device, wouldn't it be much harder for the iPhone to obtain 46%, so this would be a much more impressive achievement? I'd have to think that they narrowed the definition down for this study, to give them a much higher share than one might think..
  • Nice try, but no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by v(*_*)vvvv ( 233078 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:15PM (#30489282)

    The article should read: The few people that are buying smart phones are buying iPhones.

    Apple has a huge share of the TINY smart phone market. They key to this article is omitting the Smart phone market share.

    Average Japanese phones are smart enough that smart phones are very unpopular in Japan. People who need to do more than surf and email carry laptops, and more recently "netbooks."

    Also most people prefer the keypad over a keyboard for entering Japanese into their phones. This is just how Japanese is. So all those keypad phones are also unpopular.

  • by introspekt.i ( 1233118 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:15PM (#30489290)
    I should probably also note by the 'more advanced' line I meant that it was significant because a foreign phone has actually made headway into such an advanced user market in Japan. That definitely says something about its design, namely in Apple's case, the user interface vs. other phones.
  • by chitokutai ( 758566 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:21PM (#30489360)

    Actually, you're right, but in the wrong sort of way. The term smartphone that we've all associated with PDA-style functionality has yet to really rear its head here in Japan. Docomo has just barely started advertising the "Google Phone", and AU/KDDI won't even get a smartphone model until next year. Seriously, if you look at this list (I know, RTFA), Wilcom is in the number 2 position, and that company is barely a spec of dust in the cell phone market over here.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the iPhone continued at the top of the smartphone market because of its extensive advertising, but even if the iPhone is be a well-made phone, simply put, it has no competition in Japan for its particular segment.

  • by Itninja ( 937614 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:37PM (#30489660) Homepage
    Originally the iPhone was not even considered. It was just an touchscreen iPod that could make calls. The other devices were solid phones already that had added PC-like features. Once the definition was broadened to include the iPhone it was, of course, very high in the ranking.

    It would be like if the definition of 'theater' to included, not only the stage, but also the screen. Suddenly all the Tony awards would go to movies and not plays.
  • ...confirming it.

    This is based on my previous experiences with the Apple RDB (reality distortion bubble), and how I have seen it make people want something so much, that they would even make it up.

    I’m not making a statement about its truth. Just that because of that, Apple news get a harder time. Microsoft for example would get an even harder time. Like with everything where you got burned too often, before.

    On top of that, I have problems believing, that an in all points inferior phone (Compared to the crazy stuff they got in Japan. Not what’s available in the US.) would dominate Japan... of all markets??

    Anyone from Japan here, with a real world experience, of how many of the people he sees and knows got an iPhone?
    It it rather close to half? Or rather rare? (Or where in-between?)

  • Re:Great news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StreetStealth ( 980200 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:44PM (#30489816) Journal

    I thought from reading around on slashdot that Japanese phones were 10+ years ahead of American ones? How did we catch up so quickly?

    We didn't. The average Japanese cell phone is still vastly higher-tech than the average US cell phone.

    In terms of feature set, the iPhone isn't particularly remarkable compared to run-of-the-mill Japanese handsets. The reason it's become so popular is the same reason it's done so everywhere else: the quality of the UI and the gestalt user experience absolutely blow everything else away.

  • Re:Great news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:47PM (#30489864) Journal
    In certain senses they are, in certain senses they aren't. I'd argue that it really goes back to mean by "cellphone" and "being ahead in cellphones".

    Traditionally, both because of technical necessity(tiny batteries, weak processors) and the telcom tradition(dumb edges, smart network) cellphones have existed on a sort of continuum between "dumb" phones(more or less basic handsets, with address book, spartan calendar, maybe an alarm function) and "feature" phones(still more or less inflexible, you get what the manufacturer and the carrier give you; but they give you all kinds of bells and whistles. MMS/Camera with actual lense/QR Codes/WAP browser/ carrier audio/video store/embedded payment widgetry/etc/etc/etc/).

    On that historic continuum, Japanese phones are overwhelmingly further toward the "feature" end than American phones are. American tech writers compare the spec lists of American and Japanese phones, and note that the latter are far longer, ergo they must be more futuristic.

    Something like the iPhone(or WebOS devices, or Android), by contrast, doesn't really fall onto the dumbphone/featurephone continuum in any terribly useful way. Rather, these devices philosophically derive from the model of an internet-connected computer, that happens to have a more-or-less endurable set of phone features included.

    Those commentators judging the new smartphone devices according to where they fell on the dumbphone/featurephone spectrum were inclined(correctly) to say that the iPhone and its ilk were inferior to existing devices. Particularly earlier variants(No MMS? No push email? shit camera? all worse than existing featurephone offerings). What they missed, though, is that the smartphone is a fundamentally superior model, by virtue of being overwhelmingly more flexible and powerful than the fixed function phones, even if they happened to have a fairly large number of fixed functions.

    The fact that Apple generally knows their shit RE: UI design matters as well. Arguably, Microsoft was actually among the first to give the notion of the "smartphone" in the contemporary sense, a serious try. Cellular modem; but with a fairly powerful embedded platform, running an OS with explicit support for third party applications and the notion that they would be talking to the internet(even if MS would prefer that most of that talking just involve an activesync connection back to your corporate exchange server). All great in principle, it's just that windows mobile fucking sucked. Blackberries(which were entirely then, and still to a degree, are much closer to being "featurephones with really good email" than "smartphones") were a much better choice.

    The iPhone was in the interesting position of being (arguably) the first "smartphone" well executed enough(and running on powerful enough hardware) to outcompete the far less flexible, but far more mature, "featurephone" segment for a large number of people.
  • Oh what a convenient lack of the number 2 and movement of the decimal point...

    Here’s the translated report: []

    Try to find anything else than the 24.6% in there!

    LOL, and I thought I did go a bit too far in my previous comment [], where I stated that the Apple reality distortion bubble would make people want it so much, that they would make things up.

  • by kaizokuace ( 1082079 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @04:06PM (#30492210)
    Oh also, you know how in America we tell people its good to buy American products? Well in other countries they don't tell each other to buy American products like we do! In Japan they would be more likely to buy a Japanese product over American.
  • Re:bullshit... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by E IS mC(Square) ( 721736 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @07:52PM (#30495000) Journal
    eh. So, I have it mixed up the other way round. But did you read what they said in that context? Most of the other devices were routed to another site and they claimed 95.8% of mobile traffic was from iphone. Gimme a fucking break if you can't see my point.
  • by greggman ( 102198 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:37PM (#30495320) Homepage

    iPhone may have 46% of the SMARTphone market in Japan but smartphones are not popular in Japan at all.

    There's been no need for them. Non-smartphones do all the most useful things that users want and more in Japan. A typical Japanese NON-smart phone

    *) Has a 5-12 megapixel camera
    *) Browses the web just fine
    *) Has 3D GPS based navigation
    *) Receives digital TV signals with no carrier charge
    *) Records those digital TV signals for later playback (pocket tivo)
    *) Has it's own digital answering machine built in, no need for the phone company to record messages unless you have no signal and no need to call the phone company to hear your messages as they are already on the phone.
    *) Has MP3/WMA/AAC playback
    *) Plays games
    *) Has RFID digital wireless payment system for paying for trains, subways, buses, vending machines, and most convenience stores.
    *) Can download apps.
    *) Has 2 displays, one inside the phone, one out.
    *) Supports 500+ icon characters for email. (smiles, frowns, cakes, fireworks)

    etc, etc, etc,

    You only need to go on any train or subway car in Tokyo and look around and you'll notice it will take you 5 to 10 cars worth of people to see a single iPhone

    Compare to say NYC or SF where you can go in any starbucks and it seems like every other person has an iPhone.

    No, iPhone is no doing that well in Japan.

  • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Friday December 18, 2009 @08:47PM (#30495378) Journal

    Except it's not "so popular" everywhere else - market share is a few percent.

    The flaw in this article is that it's restricted it to the arbitrary ill-defined of "smartphone" which is assumed to include the Iphone, but not the vast range of "feature" phones that can still do Internet, run apps, and so on. If you took a stricter definition of phones - e.g., one that could run any 3rd party apps (as opposed to only those approved by the company), can multitask with 3rd party apps, has a real keyboard etc, then the Iphone is not a smartphone. If you take a definition broad enough to include it, then you include most feature phones.

    So what's the Iphone's real market share in Japan?

    Another point - presumably before this, another phone would have had the largest share in this ill-defined category. Note how we didn't get a story about that?

    This story is as laughable as that one we had when the Iphone was the best selling phone in one random country for one month (right after the release of a new Iphone model). Note how since then, we've never had any articles for any month, for any country, of what the best selling phone is? Even though clearly you could have a story for every country, every single month, for some reason it's only notable when it's the Iphone. (So the fact that the Iphone has only been best selling for one month, in only one country, is surely quite bad...)

    Today I bought myself a Nokia 5800. Great phone and at a decent price - but from reading Slashdot, I'd never even known it exists. News for nerds? Not anymore - I rely on the mainstream press now to find out news about the market leaders in this area.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll