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iPhone 3GS Is Number One In Japan

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the buddha-phone dept.

Cellphones 250

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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We Already Knew "Hatred" Was a Lie (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 5 years ago | (#29103953)

This is in stark contrast to reports from earlier this year that the Japanese hate the iPhone.

This "hatred" was debunked [slashdot.org] shortly thereafter:

AppleInsider has posted a great article explaining that Wired's story about Japanese iPhone hate [slashdot.org] was completely false and has been edited at least twice [appleinsider.com] . The comments in the article were recycled and taken out of context, with those interviewed blogging about [blog.nobi.cc] the mistakes [daijihirata.com] . The piece then goes on to analyze the iPhone's standing in Japan, as well as some of the major factors working for and against it. At last it points out that the Wall Street Journal tried the same myth of failure [roughlydrafted.com] just after the phone's launch in Japan, recycled from a myth the year before [roughlydrafted.com] , pushed by a research company with a possible anti-Apple agenda [roughlydrafted.com] .

There are three points to consider (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29104043)

Firstly, the Japanese, like much of the civilised world, have a distrust of the Linux operating system. The iPhone however runs using a variant of BSD, Linux's big, more professional daddy, and hence is trusted and enjoyed by those who value honour and pride, such as the Japanese.

Secondly, it is well known that phones running Linux-based OS's still require the user to drop down to a termnial screen to modify text configuration files to change things like their phone background or ringtone. This is unacceptable.

Thirdly, Linux requires the user to have a beard and/or a weight problem. People such as this are shunned by Japanese society, and rightly so. The natural consequence of this is that users of Linux phones are also shunned.

Together these reasons make it clear why the iPhone is acheiving such a success in those faraway eastern lands. They are so far away, aren't they?

Re:There are three points to consider (0, Redundant)

antoinjapan (450229) | about 5 years ago | (#29104807)

c'mon guys this is funny

Re:We Already Knew "Hatred" Was a Lie (3, Insightful)

BuR4N (512430) | about 5 years ago | (#29104147)

No "Hatered" needed if the phone is missing an important feature like MMS, it just makes it inferior to other offerings. But that have changed now and its on pair in that area and ahead in several others, so its no surprise it sell well. I personally prefer a simpler/smaller more rugged phone, but I understand the appeal (!) of it, its a great product.

Re:We Already Knew "Hatred" Was a Lie (1, Informative)

donaggie03 (769758) | about 5 years ago | (#29104363)

How is this a troll? The Japanese are notorious for their SMS and MMS use; even more so than Americans. Releasing a phone in Japan without these capabilities would not garner huge sales. Or is it a troll because previous IPhones DID have these features?

Re:We Already Knew "Hatred" Was a Lie (1, Informative)

mcvos (645701) | about 5 years ago | (#29104445)

How is this a troll? The Japanese are notorious for their SMS and MMS use; even more so than Americans. Releasing a phone in Japan without these capabilities would not garner huge sales. Or is it a troll because previous IPhones DID have these features?

MMS support is (or was, at least) useless on the iPhone 3G. My wife MMSed me a photo, and I had to pick it up at a website.

SMS support is excellent, however. Very nice interface. I like it a lot.

My main problem with the iPhone is that it's too restrictive: Apple blocks useful apps from the app store, and I can only buy an iPhone together with a 2-year subscription as a network that sucks. I think I'll try that HTC Hero with Android next.

Re:We Already Knew "Hatred" Was a Lie (1, Flamebait)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#29104593)

MMS support is (or was, at least) useless on the iPhone 3G. My wife MMSed me a photo, and I had to pick it up at a website.

"It Just Works" "It doesn't matter what features it has or doesn't have, what matters is that it 'integrates' them better, and makes them easy for normal people to use them"

I remember having similar problems on a £30 phone I bought nine years ago.

Re:We Already Knew "Hatred" Was a Lie (0, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 years ago | (#29105109)

I don't know how representative it is, but the build quality of the HTC Raphael is for shit. If the Hero is anything like it, you should give it a miss. (I'll keep saying this until someone gives me a reason not to... so far, no anecdotes about how durable HTC devices are.)

Re:We Already Knew "Hatred" Was a Lie (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29104459)

"How is this a troll?"

It can be interpreted (with a bit of imagination and bad English comprehension) as a Apple negative post.

Re:We Already Knew "Hatred" Was a Lie (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | about 5 years ago | (#29104969)

How is this a troll?

Shut up, Flamebait!! :D

Re:We Already Knew "Hatred" Was a Lie (1)

rednip (186217) | about 5 years ago | (#29104789)

Undoing a moderation misfire, I tried, insightful and got redundant. It amazed me that this was marked troll, but maybe the other guy did the same thing.

With the 3GS I'm on my second iPhone, and the only improvement I could see for it (besides better battery life), is to make it water proof, or at least moderately water resistant.

Why Wasn't There A Story For Last Month's No. 1? (4, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#29104387)

Indeed, although it's just as much a pro-Apple agenda that spread the news: if people don't like a product, it's much better if you can dismiss it as an irrational hatred, rather than considering the possibility that they might *gasp* actually prefer other phones.

For this news, I'd be curious to see market share. Since Apple only have one phone, and Nokia etc have loads of different products, looking at single phone sales whilst useful in some contexts, is not useful for judging who's number one (it's the multiple choice fallacy where votes get split between similar products).

There's also the obvious point that the phone has only just been released - it's misleading to claim "Number One", since this is a figure based on one month's sales, not quarterly or yearly, let alone total phones in existence.

And since the Iphone is the only phone that gets covered on Tech sites like Slashdot (god knows why), it's not surprising that they'll do fairly well. I fear we'll have a self-fulfilling prophecy where we end up with it being the most popular phone, precisely because of the coverage solely on this one phone. And then we'll end up with a monopoly platform on mobile platform that's more locked down and controlled by a single company. Nice one, Slashdot!

For all we know, those other phones may have been number one (indeed, one of them must have been), but we wouldn't have heard about it on Slashdot.

Consider - what was the Number One phone, last month in Japan, and why wasn't there a story about it? Or the Number One phone in the US, come to that? It's only news if it's unusual.

Of course I'll probably be modded down now for providing possible explanations that don't fit in with the pro-Apple viewpoint here.

Re:Why Wasn't There A Story For Last Month's No. 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29104883)

http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/08/18/canalys_q2_smartphone_sales/ [reghardware.co.uk]

Interestingly, this article suggests Asia-Pacific is by far Apple's weakest market still, with Nokia holding nearly 60% of phone sales and Sharp and Fujitsu taking second place.

So yeah, I can't help but feel TFA is as much pro-Apple propaganda as the anti-Apple propaganda the parent poster was talking about.

Apple's certainly doing well in NA and Europe, but in the context of overall marketshare it's not doing so well in Asia-Pacific. Of course, that includes more than just Japan but that only furthers the point that the iPhone hitting number 1 selling handset of an individual month in an individual company is a hell of a cherry picked statistic.

There was the argument that Japan matter in these contexts because it was a major tech. market, but that's a position that's been eroded over the last decade since the SNES/Megadrive era when Japan was at it's peak in this respect. The US and Europe are now the bigger markets, so grasping at Japan as evidence of something in terms of tech. trends and importance doesn't really hold water anymore.

Re:Why Wasn't There A Story For Last Month's No. 1 (2, Insightful)

riegel (980896) | about 5 years ago | (#29105049)

Since Apple only have one phone, and Nokia etc have loads of different products...

You didn't read the summary. It plainly states that the 16GB iphone is number 9. That would indicate 2 things

  1. Apple has more than one phone being looked at
  2. Nokia phones are looked at individually also

Re:We Already Knew "Hatred" Was a Lie (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 5 years ago | (#29104931)

I guess this also debunks the long-standing idea that Japan and Europe are so far ahead on cell phone development that no U.S. cell phone could possibly compete with their amazingly advanced technology.

Re:We Already Knew "Hatred" Was a Lie (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 5 years ago | (#29105263)

There is an element of truth in the reasons given. For example, my Japanese friends are all very big on using their phone cameras and sending the photos to each other. The 3G has a very basic camera with no auto-focus and pretty low image quality. I have not seen output from the 3GS camera but it is supported to be a lot better.

OS updates have made improvements in Japanese text input too. The web browser, while a big step up, was never quite as revolutionary there as most phones had one and most Japanese web sites have a mobile version designed for them.

"Hate" is too strong a word, but there are definitely genuine reasons why it didn't instantly become as popular as it did in the west.

Say it together.... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29103973)

1...2...3...WHO CARES?!?

Just get it over with and changed the site to an Apple fanboi site.

Re:Say it together.... (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#29104571)

The OP may have been phrased in a flamebait-manner, but it raises a point - why is this news? At first it sounds newsworthy, but the story is "X phone is number one selling phone this month in this country".

But there's always a number one phone!

So are we going to see a Slashdot story per month, per country, on what the number one phone is?

I note that Sharp occupy 4 positions on that list - it would be curious to know how their sales compare overall. Especially how they compared one month ago, or how they'll compare in one month's time. Chances are they were, and will be in future, number one.

So why have I never seen a story about Sharp phones on Slashdot? I didn't even know they made phones. This used to be "news for nerds" - a way to learn interesting news about all kinds of gadgets, not a place that promoted Apple stories.

Re:Say it together.... (1)

gullevek (174152) | about 5 years ago | (#29105139)

Because Sharp phones only sell in Japan. Like Panasonic, or Mitsubishi, or NEC. Of course there will be no story here. Who cares outside of Japan about phones that only work in Japan. Nobody. iPhone gets huge press because it is the current hyper cool thing to have in US & perhaps Europe too.

I really don't know about Japan though. My guess is that Softbank has a very very cheap plan for the iPhone, plus you get it super cheap with some 1 or 2 year contract.

But just from my short views is that quite a lot of my japanese friends who have an iphone, still use their old phone too. But well, iPhone is just something I really do not get ... I stick with my normal phone where i can use a sekigaisen to just transfer contact info :)

Obvious (1, Funny)

Lord Bitman (95493) | about 5 years ago | (#29103995)

it's small and expensive. That beats "feature-rich" any day of the week.

Re:Obvious (2, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 5 years ago | (#29104069)

it's small and expensive. That beats "feature-rich" any day of the week.

It certainly is feature rich. What features are missing?

Re:Obvious (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29104149)

TV, radio, swipe payment ability, quality camera: just a few of the common features in Japanese phones.

Re:Obvious (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | about 5 years ago | (#29104361)

What is "Swipe Payment Ability" with regards to a phone? 10s of Google revealed nothing.

Re:Obvious (2, Informative)

EdZ (755139) | about 5 years ago | (#29104511)

The FELICA system. Used to pay for train fairs, coffee, vending machines, etc.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29105011)

Perhaps you are doing it wrong? I tried Googling for these "10s of Google" but I found only one.

Re:Obvious (2, Funny)

uhmmmm (512629) | about 5 years ago | (#29104415)

It's still missing an infrared port for transmitting phone numbers and such too, isn't it?

Re:Obvious (1)

v1 (525388) | about 5 years ago | (#29105027)

It's still missing an infrared port

Bluetooth is probably going to bury IR eventually. The only benefit that IR has over BT is it requires line of sight which can increase security. (theoretically it can be quite a bit faster also, but it rarely works out that way, and there are two conflicting standards to boot) But if there's a confirmation on both devices to initiate the connection, that's moot.

Re:Obvious (1)

relguj9 (1313593) | about 5 years ago | (#29105137)

It's still missing an infrared port for transmitting phone numbers and such too, isn't it?

Ermm.. the "bump" app exchanges contacts.. it doesn't need IR, which is a dated shitty tech compared to both wifi and bluetooth...

Re:Obvious (1)

gullevek (174152) | about 5 years ago | (#29105169)

yes it is. back to oldschool typing and telling ... seriously. do. not. want.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29104503)

Ability to run applications without Apple's approval, ability to tether without hacking, copy/paste, Java, MMS, keyboard, video (oh wait, I think they finally added that one, as there was a big news post about it here like it was news).

Re:Obvious (0)

Saba (308071) | about 5 years ago | (#29104669)

Japanese phones are check lists of who has the most features: The one with the most sells the best.

Things like TV and radio are just silly features concocted to make the feature list even longer -- the next crazy idea is adopted by all the manufacturers in the next product iteration.

It's this mindset that people look for, unfortunately. And the industry caters to the demand.

PS: This also extends to other products too. Japanese motorcycles, for example, revolve around who has the largest numbers for that manufacturing year.

Re:Obvious (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | about 5 years ago | (#29104813)

But it does have one distinct advantage: it is now "cool" to take iPhone from your pocket, put it on a table and pretend-to-do-something with it.

I saw quite a few examples in bars and cafes.

Re:Obvious (1)

Frankenshteen (1355339) | about 5 years ago | (#29104881)

FELICA and similar systems will be free apps to help you spend more efficiently. Forward compatibility of Apple's phone is limited only by the i/o interfaces, and strap ons make even that limitation virtually meaningless.

Re:Obvious (1)

gullevek (174152) | about 5 years ago | (#29105205)

um, Felcia needs an RFI chip inside, does it have one? Not that I know ...

but there is a oneSeg attachment for the iphone in Japan.

Re:Obvious (1)

yabos (719499) | about 5 years ago | (#29105067)

Sure they could put a TV receiver in the phone but then you'd need either a gigantic battery or a small nuclear reactor. You already have streaming radio on the iPhone and it drains the battery pretty quickly.

Re:Obvious (1, Informative)

relguj9 (1313593) | about 5 years ago | (#29105203)

TV, radio, swipe payment ability, quality camera: just a few of the common features in Japanese phones.

"iheartradio" is a free app that lets you listen to just about any radio station you can imagine.

Who the hell wants local TV? You can stream any news you want from the internet.

Swipe payment is retarded, you don't need to swipe a card to make payments all you need is the credit card info. There are actually business apps which allow you to take the credit card info of someone and take payments from them.

The camera is all you've got, but if you're looking to take high quality images then you aren't really looking for a phone, you're looking for a camera. The quality lenses required for high quality photography are MUCH too large for a camera.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29104269)

Buttons

Re:Obvious (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Obvious (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#29104637)

Thanks for the info - I had no idea that phones could do some of these things.

See, these are the sorts of things it would be good to hear about on tech sites. Instead, I'll probably hear about them in five years' time when it gets added to the Iphone...

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29104683)

What good is facial recognition when everyone looks the same?

Re:Obvious (1)

CoolMoDee (683437) | about 5 years ago | (#29104783)

What good are those features if you can't find (and thus can't use) them in the (mostly) horrible interface that make up Japanese cellphones?

Re:Obvious (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | about 5 years ago | (#29104911)

well there good for:
watching TV
listening to radio
paying with your phone
recording videos/taking photos of a high quality
VPN, wifi-hotspot creating,...etc

Seriously not everybody needs everything to be dumbed down for them, some people can use menus, additionally the full voice control can work around the "horrible interface".

Re:Obvious (1)

gullevek (174152) | about 5 years ago | (#29105235)

To be honest, I love the japanese interface way over the iPhone one. I need to swipe and tap around. with a japanese interface all menus have shortcuts for the number keys. I am so fast to reply, write a mail, or do anything compared to when I try to do it on an iPhone.

Re:Obvious (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 5 years ago | (#29105315)

To be honest, I love the japanese interface way over the iPhone one. I need to swipe and tap around. with a japanese interface all menus have shortcuts for the number keys. I am so fast to reply, write a mail, or do anything compared to when I try to do it on an iPhone.

Could you point us to an example?

Re:Obvious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29104349)

I think a censor function so you can rewind and erase stupid comments you want to take back would be good.

Re:Obvious (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 years ago | (#29104121)

almost every feature is in there

Apple even went as far as licensing the ability to restore the OS on the iPhone as the magic fix for problems. It works so well in Windows, Apple decided to do it on the iPhone. I had to do it yesterday and the Apple support forums are full of people giving this magic fix advice.

Re:Obvious (1)

intheshelter (906917) | about 5 years ago | (#29105187)

Maybe there IS something to the user friendly interface that resonates with consumers? . . . . . Maybe the feature counting "experts" weren't so smart after all. . .

16GB Vs 32GB Really a Deal Breaker? (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 5 years ago | (#29103997)

The iPhone 3GS 32GB is currently the best selling phone in Japan (the 16GB version came in at number nine).

Is that indicative of storage being that big of a factor for phones? Or that the locally made devices compare to 16GB but not 32GB?

As a non-iPhone user, I must admit the iPhone is a touch bulky for me to use as a music device while I work out. Love my 2GB shuffle though. I guess I could see this with movies/videos on the iPhone but is there any reason I'm not getting that one would enjoy 32GB of storage? Maybe it's the stereotype that Asians take a lot more pictures than Americans? If these numbers are accurate, color me shocked that 32GB is #1 and 16GB is #9. I'm not saying that 16GB ought to be enough for anyone but you have to be using your iPhone as something else full time to utilize that. Are the applications at the app store really taking up that much space on your phone?

Re:16GB Vs 32GB Really a Deal Breaker? (1)

Calindae (1256922) | about 5 years ago | (#29104215)

It could be the price difference. Japanese consumers might just see the extra $-- (it's $100 in the U.S., right?) worth it for double the storage.

Re:16GB Vs 32GB Really a Deal Breaker? (2, Interesting)

cheetah (9485) | about 5 years ago | (#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.

MMS finally possible? (1)

Fjodor42 (181415) | about 5 years ago | (#29104001)

...which is often used in many countries, except for the US, where, I guess, the iPhones were designed?

Re:MMS finally possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29104359)

The US will seriously consider the iPhone when it can be used as a firearm. Third party option maybe?
A dock for your iPhone in your Glock? Imagine the possibilities.

Re:MMS finally possible? (1)

Fluffy Bunnies (1055208) | about 5 years ago | (#29105079)

...or Japan, who've used push email instead of SMS & MMS for years.

iPhone 3GS sold out (1)

MitsuMirage (825944) | about 5 years ago | (#29104003)

It's not just Japan where the iPhone is selling like hotcakes, the Globe and Mail reports that there is a worldwide shortage for the iPhone 3GS.

Technology progresses. Japanese are tech experts (0, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#29104047)

It's all about the quality of the technology. Compare the 3G to the 3GS. ARM11 vs Cortex-A8. Spotty coverage vs solid coverage. Dropped calls vs clear calls. The 3GS is a way better phone all around than the 3G was.

And the Japanese are the ultimate technology connoisseurs. They knew, unlike the dopes who lick Steve Jobs' nutsack here in the US, that it was crap the moment they laid hands on it. The Japanese aren't brand-motivated. They are quality-motivated. That's why Japanese cars are boring but last forever. Americans look for cool things, which is why American cars are flashy and muscular but also break down constantly and have terribly assembled trim.

So the reports that the iPhone was selling terribly.. Yeah, that was true. But Apple has done a good job this time with a phone that finally appeals to the Japanese consumer. Sure, it may be the same old Corolla on the outside, but on the inside it's running a VTEC with DOHC.

Re:Technology progresses. Japanese are tech expert (5, Insightful)

teg (97890) | about 5 years ago | (#29104173)

The Japanese aren't brand-motivated

Japan is the leading market for luxury brands [jetro.org] , like Gucci, Louis Vitton, Hermes etc. Brand motivation and recognition are sky high.

Re:Technology progresses. Japanese are tech expert (5, Funny)

omgarthas (1372603) | about 5 years ago | (#29104201)

Maybe because those brands produce quality products?

Re:Technology progresses. Japanese are tech expert (2, Insightful)

teg (97890) | about 5 years ago | (#29104305)

(about luxury products)Maybe because those brands produce quality products?

So do others. In this segment, quality is just a part of the overall package you are buying. If you compare a Timex and a Patek Philippe, they probably show the time equally well.

Re:Technology progresses. Japanese are tech expert (3, Funny)

nycguy (892403) | about 5 years ago | (#29104351)

Yeah, but with my Patek Philippe, I get the privilege of paying $1500 or so every time I have it serviced. You can't get that kind of quality in a Timex.

Re:Technology progresses. Japanese are tech expert (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 years ago | (#29104827)

The Japanese can afford that shit. Anyone who can't was already voted off the island. They've got a saying over there, get busy living or get busy dying. Those who don't agree are dead or moved to Brazil (no, really.) They have no space for large showy shit, so they have small showy shit like nine trillion dollar handbags.

Also, that kind of boutique stuff is often very high quality as others have said. You can tell the difference between the real stuff and the fakes because the fakes aren't top quality. If that's your differentiating factor, you are justified in charging what the market will bear.

Re:Technology progresses. Japanese are tech expert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29104187)

Civic, not Corolla. Good post, otherwise.

Re:Technology progresses. Japanese are tech expert (1)

mike260 (224212) | about 5 years ago | (#29104203)

Sure, it may be the same old Corolla on the outside, but on the inside it's running a VTEC

Bad analogy [google.com] just kicked in yo.

Re:Technology progresses. Japanese are tech expert (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 5 years ago | (#29104261)

So the reports that the iPhone was selling terribly.. Yeah, that was true.

Actually, no, it wasn't. [slashdot.org] The first post in this thread clearly shows that myth has been debunked. By several sources.

Re:Technology progresses. Japanese are tech expert (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#29104337)

Actually, those several sources you claim all point back to one article on Apple Insider which never actually disproved the sales numbers.

iPods sold badly. Get over it. Jeez, it's like a religion with you guys.

Re:Technology progresses. Japanese are tech expert (2, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 5 years ago | (#29104465)

iPods sold badly.

Uh, you might have a case with the original iPhone but you certainly do not have a case with iPods. They surpassed Sony's MP3 player in 2005 [mobilemag.com] and there's no shortage of information saying they're very popular in Japan.

Get over it. Jeez, it's like a religion with you guys.

You have to own all models of the iPhone in order to be eligible to be completely clear so that your OT (operating telephone) levels are uninhibited. Are you a suppressive person? Oh no, I've been in contact with you! Great Woz! Now Jobs won't let me get to the last OT level no matter how much I spend on his products!

Re:Technology progresses. Japanese are tech expert (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#29104657)

If it's not true, then why on earth is this newsworthy in the first place? (Lots of phones are number 1 in some particular country - after all, you obviously have one "number 1" per month, per country, which is a lot).

The only possible valid reason I can think this could be news is if the Iphone was selling badly, thus it's midly newsworthy that a bad selling niche phone gets number one (albeit in one country, for one month, on the month it was released in that country).

I Have to Disagree on a Few Things (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 5 years ago | (#29104373)

The Japanese aren't brand-motivated. They are quality-motivated. That's why Japanese cars are boring but last forever.

That's wrong. If you had spoken to a British or American consumer at the time of Japanese automotive boom, you would have found that they are just as quality motivated as the American consumer. And had you spoken to American or British or Italian automotive makers, you would have found some of them wanted quality but were just slightly misinformed as to how they should attain it.

As someone who's taken a course on this, we got the Japanese invention known as The House of Quality [harvardbusiness.org] pounded into our heads. It's basically a far superior way [wikipedia.org] to "define relationship between customer desires and the firm/product capabilities." The Japanese invented this, I don't know the exact origins (wish I did) but instead of it ended up as some weird business process patent it ended up being used by everyone over there. As a result, their cars didn't leak oil (like the British motorcycles) and they didn't slowly reject every screw that was holding them together. I'm sure the Japanese had many more tools at analyzing the engineering aspects of cars but the fact of the matter is that their engineering and quality control practices just exceeded anything anyone else had (if anyone else had quality control at the time).

Americans look for cool things, which is why American cars are flashy and muscular but also break down constantly and have terribly assembled trim.

This seriously got moderated up? Have you ever been to Tokyo? Have you seen how flashy that city is? Have you ever seen Japanimation, Japanese commercials or game shows? Flashy is all I can think of to describe that.

Your cultural stereotypes humor me. But I think you're suffering from some serious misinformation and anecdotes to which I could provide counter-anecdotes all day long. But both stances are merely an exercise in futility.

They knew, unlike the dopes who lick Steve Jobs' nutsack here in the US, that it was crap the moment they laid hands on it.

Well, if they laid hands on it, they've already purchased it and that's a win for Apple. Or are you saying that the (virtually) same reviews each culture read influenced them differently? The Japanese have more options than we do and they had things that were better than the original iPhones. Those weren't really marketed in America. The iPhone wasn't crap compared to what 90% of Americans were already using. That's the important point, not that American consumers are any stupider or smarter than Japanese consumers.

Re:I Have to Disagree on a Few Things (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 years ago | (#29104945)

That's wrong. If you had spoken to a British or American consumer at the time of Japanese automotive boom, you would have found that they are just as quality motivated as the American consumer. And had you spoken to American or British or Italian automotive makers, you would have found some of them wanted quality but were just slightly misinformed as to how they should attain it.

That is more than a little revisionist. I don't know what happens if you talk to Brits about car purchases, I don't have the background. But the American consumer might have claimed to be concerned about quality, but their purchasing history tells the truth: they were interested in style and power. The recession of today has changed that for many Americans, or perhaps caused them to somewhat reassess priorities; Car companies worldwide are however still focusing on making more powerful vehicles with mileage little better than their predecessors. The Nissan 350Z just gets more powerful and no more efficient all the time while Nissan claims that the future is all-electric. It has to do this, to make sales, because people do not put quality first. They buy cachet.

American automakers are in the fix they are in right now specifically because they got into a position of depending on service revenues. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that if your cars need more service, but only after the warranty period, you will have more opportunities to make money there. GM has been using the same shitty door handles across almost its entire line since time immemorial; they are over-cammed pot-metal designs with no stops (!) and they do not handle abuse well. When I broke the handle on my '86 Camaro I was able to get a cheap replacement, but on a 2000 Astro you have to buy whole modules. It's not like anybody makes the offending part itself. It's over $1000 to do the modules for the whole vehicle, and ALL of them are wearing out, even the passenger door. The van was a paint delivery van before we had it, so that door was little-used. I'm not going to replace them when they break - the rear one has already broken, and my new door handle is a screwdriver kept up front. I'm replacing the van, with a Dodge or even a Ford (if I can find a 4x4 turbo diesel.)

American automakers have been building cars to produce service revenues since they discovered such a thing is possible. If they make the cars too much better too fast, they will go under. If they don't, the Japanese will eat their lunch (the Germans having long since decided they could sell cars based on Marque, they make total shitboxes now too. Only 5 series BMW hold any value at all. Mercedes are dogshit.) Too lazy to link the article "Big 3 nervous about service" but the short story is that quality IS up... and they are already feeling the pinch.

Re:I Have to Disagree on a Few Things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29105217)

But the American consumer might have claimed to be concerned about quality, but their purchasing history tells the truth: they were interested in style and power.

Then how is it that Japanese automobiles rose to popularity in the United States if US citizens weren't buying based on quality? The grandparent is correct, the American auto industry stagnated and the Japanese killed them on quality. It turned out consumers around the world are interested in quality giving them a surprise edge.

Re:Technology progresses. Japanese are tech expert (1)

TobyWong (168498) | about 5 years ago | (#29104543)

The Japanese are among the biggest label whores on the planet (and I mean that in the nicest way possible). "The Japanese aren't brand-motivated" is one of the funniest things I've ever read on slashdot. I used to live in a well known ski resort town and watching the Japanese tourists descend on the luxury label stores like a horde of locusts devouring everything in their path was a sight to behold.

Re:Technology progresses. Japanese are tech expert (1)

rgviza (1303161) | about 5 years ago | (#29104567)

That's pretty much why I waited for the 32GB 3G[S] before I got an iPhone. The old ones sucked and had lousy storage space. I could get a free phone (used to have a Vu, which my mom inherited) that did just about what they did with a 4GB add in memory card. 32GB and video mail is hard to beat tho :-p. That and the dual core gpu did it for me. The gaming is ridonculous for a portable device.

It's really a mini mac with a phone radio added, rather than simply a phone. It's a bad ass device.

Gaming (3, Interesting)

EMeta (860558) | about 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Gaming (2, Informative)

nikolajsheller (553835) | about 5 years ago | (#29104497)

What's not to like?

Lack of openness?

Re:Gaming (4, Informative)

am 2k (217885) | about 5 years ago | (#29104595)

What's not to like?

The lack of proper buttons, which are fairly essential for many games? Every time you want the user to press somewhere on the screen, you lose some screen estate due to the finger covering the parts at and below that point.

Re:Gaming (1)

EMeta (860558) | about 5 years ago | (#29104791)

This is very true. Street fighter would be impossible. But you actually gain a lot by being able to make any of the screen a button. So I see this more as a trade-off than a direct disadvantage. Certainly you could never comfortably play civ on the PSP, and pinball is much more intuitive with the right half/left half buttons than I ever found it with control pad controls.

Re:Gaming (2, Informative)

Jeeeb (1141117) | about 5 years ago | (#29104957)

Sorry I don't think that's been a factor at all. The device has been promoted as a life style package with points such as easily being able to look up restaurant reviews, the nice cut and paste functionality, good navigation software and the ability to read manga on being emphasized in commercials.

Now of course none of those points are particularly original and infact I have a bottom of the range Japanese phone that can do all of those things. However the iPhone does make them convenient, does look good and isn't shockingly expensive. Especially in a nation where mobile phones play such a large part in day to day life.

Re:Gaming (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about 5 years ago | (#29104991)

They've put Civilization on it now

I was always afraid this would happen. I wonder how many people now are going to die from deep vein thrombosis because they were playing Civ while sitting on the can for hours on end? Just... One... More... Turn... UGHH! I AM DOOMED!!!

Hard to believe (1, Funny)

Stele (9443) | about 5 years ago | (#29104177)

There are no tentacle porn apps, so I really don't get the interest.

Re:Hard to believe (2, Funny)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | about 5 years ago | (#29104399)

There are no tentacle porn apps, so I really don't get the interest.

Are you kidding? If you jailbreak it you can have all of the transgendered multiendowed lolirape tentacle furry apps you can imagine... and some you can't imagine.

Re:Hard to believe (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | about 5 years ago | (#29104915)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of jailbroken transgendered multiendowed lolirape tentacle furry loaded iPhone 3GS...

They can all communicate with each other over WiFi, and make a large screen when all placed in a rectangle.

THAT, my friends, is advancement!

What local-made phones can beat the iPhone? (1)

Calindae (1256922) | about 5 years ago | (#29104227)

I want to see some examples of Japanese phones that out dance the iPhone. They should be quite beastly!

Re:What local-made phones can beat the iPhone? (1)

dmizer (1081799) | about 5 years ago | (#29105093)

Re:What local-made phones can beat the iPhone? (1)

intheshelter (906917) | about 5 years ago | (#29105289)

I assume that you are focused solely on a feature count, and not the ease of use for the customer? Those phones all have crappy UIs. I'm sorry, but you can pack a phone with features but if the UI sucks then people will only use a fraction of those features. A huge reason the iPhone is so successful is UI, it's a joy to use.

Emoji (5, Informative)

tmkn (1520967) | about 5 years ago | (#29104251)

Basically every Japanese cell phone supports "emoji" emoticons, but iPhone was long without the support. This definitely was a deal breaker for some people, especially younger consumers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoji [wikipedia.org]

It's officially only available for Japanese customers, but it can be unlocked: http://www.iphonesavior.com/2009/02/spell-number-app-unleashes-free-iphone-emoji.html [iphonesavior.com]

The instructions sound suspicious but I personally tested this on 2.2 firmware and it worked. I can now use emoji in text messages, tweets, or any other text field. It's also a great way to amaze your friends who have iPhones; every iPhone from 2.2 up supports viewing emoji by default.

Mod parent Informative? (1)

vilms (106676) | about 5 years ago | (#29104481)

Local info, with some context, seems to me to be worthy of some pointage?
Whereas citationless "It's because of the compass" (down there a little) is currently Score: 2.
Here's hoping.

Yeah yeah, I know, I must be new here.

Being Big in Japan will Spur Sales in China (3, Interesting)

donnacha (161610) | about 5 years ago | (#29104313)

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:Being Big in Japan will Spur Sales in China (1)

locoztx (1532715) | about 5 years ago | (#29104855)

... or until our two-year wireless contracts run out and there is a new shiny toy from another manufacturer to be had. I can't think of one single bit of technology, other than a phone and television, that I have used consistently for decades. But I think I get where you're coming from with this. I understand I will lose points for grammar and mild trolling/splitting hairs.

It's because of the compass. (3, Funny)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | about 5 years ago | (#29104369)

The Japanese dig the compass.

Aww, crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29104505)

Someone has cut the meaningful column off the table. The one with them percentages.

Sharp Phones? (1)

nloop (665733) | about 5 years ago | (#29104525)

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 or do the Japanese just really value a good camera? Sharp phones in general, can someone explain them?

Re:Sharp Phones? (1)

nloop (665733) | about 5 years ago | (#29104619)

and the Panasonic 830p as no. 3? Seriously, it's not much cooler than a Razor! Is that just the cheapest phone that peoples mom get when they get a phone?

I'm kind of disappointed with the Japanese. I was expecting much cooler gadgets. I'll take my Android based MyTouch over those any day.

Re:Sharp Phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29104687)

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 or do the Japanese just really value a good camera? Sharp phones in general, can someone explain them?

Sharp is a Japanese company and would be very well known for quality products as they make phones, TV's, Fridges, Wash/Driers etc and considering the phone has alot of features that are very important on a Japanese phone including amazing high res screen (sharp tv screen), MMS, Mobile internet, Mobile TV, 10MP camera. Mobile payment system (swipe phone over at 7/11 and pay for shopping or over metro gate to pay for train ride etc)

Upskirt video recording (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29104547)

There's even an app for that !

the answer is simple (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 5 years ago | (#29104973)

japan is identified by foreign consumers, apple users included, as a tech haven. high tech things come from japan and it is presumed only high-tech things will survive in japan and become popular.

for apple, having their iphone shunned by a japanese public was a death sentence in some sense for both asia markets and the US. if the japanese dont want it, word of mouth dictates the iphone is stupid, or inferior, or lacks features that superior japanese technology like nokia would have. the snub from the japanese could have been as simple as "the kanji support sucks" or "NTT Docomo is slow as shit so i hate using data on any cellphone" but it has repercussions to the global marketing machine of apple.

the product is consumed after money is spent by apple. perhaps the iphone is cheaper, perhaps it offers more features and perhaps its "more free" than its american counterpart but the final statement is this: "japanese love iphone!" meaning stateside mac fanboy otaku can squee in joy as consumer maintenance takes hold and assures them its okay to continue purchasing the apple line.

Re:the answer is simple (1)

Fluffy Bunnies (1055208) | about 5 years ago | (#29105207)

Nokia is not a Japanese company. In fact, Nokia recently abandoned the Japanese market completely due to their continuing dismal sales there.

market share? (3, Informative)

mshultz (632780) | about 5 years ago | (#29105021)

The 32GG 3GS may be number 1, but the article doesn't mention what sort of market share it takes to claim that spot. I was just in Japan for most of this summer, and I went looking at phones with some Japanese friends. There are just SO many feature-rich phone choices out there from all of the major carriers that no single model really seemed to stand out as a market leader. If the 32GB 3GS got even a small bump in sales, that could have pushed it into first place.

As for the swipe payment option, I expected to see things like Mobile Suica [wikipedia.org] used by lots of people, but it really doesn't seem to be too common yet. Most people still seemed to pay for train and subway trips with regular Suica [wikipedia.org] (or Pasmo, Icoca, etc.) cards in their wallets. It's certainly a cool feature, but it apparently hadn't been adopted by a large part of the population yet.

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