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iPhone Has 46% of Japanese Smartphone Market

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the it's-little-it's-lovely dept.

Cellphones 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."

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Great news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30488762)

And we all know why it's popular... It's so easy to watch tentacle themed animation!

Re:Great news! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30488828)

There's a CHINK in Apple's armor. And he's watching weird demon-fucking anime. Uh, I'll pretend I didn't see that.

Re:Great news! (-1, Redundant)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488866)

There is an app for that.

Re:Great news! (5, Interesting)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489152)

I'm actually confused, I thought from reading around on slashdot that Japanese phones were 10+ years ahead of American ones? How did we catch up so quickly? Who invented the Time Machine?

Re:Great news! (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489256)

I've always understood the "Japanese being ahead in cellphones" to be as much about the network and what you can do on it as much as phones with the latest and greatest hardware.

Re:Great news! (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489598)

Who invented the Time Machine?

I see what you did there.

Re:Great news! (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489714)

This is your on-scene reporter who just got back from Japan this month and this last August: There really are a LOT of iPhones here.

Re:Great news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489802)

Well, the REAL truth is that the Japanese just want to seem superior to the rest of the world, when those of us who have been there know they're just like any other country. Then again, this seems to be true for most of Asia.

Re:Great news! (4, Insightful)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489816)

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! (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489864)

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.

Re:Great news! (1)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489956)

they aren't advanced, they have more crazy features we don't care about here like reading your body sweat or buying a soda using a cell phone. the UI's have sucked for years since the companies have always been on thin margins. the reason why none of this stuff comes out in the US is because kids in Japan live with parents for a lot longer and have more money to spend. in the US kids like to move out and they have less disposable income since they have bills to pay. other features like buying from vending machines are useless since everyone takes credit cards or you buy a 24 pack at the grocery store and take it to work with you.

Better Article at Engadget Mobile (5, Informative)

teko_teko (653164) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490030)

Engadget Mobile provides a better perspective:

iPhone nabs 46 pecent of Japanese smartphone market, the tiny Japanese smartphone market

So you read a headline like "iPhone grabs 46 percent of the Japanese smartphone market" and the first thing you're likely to think is, "wow, Apple is really doing well for itself." Well, it is and it isn't. While it has made some considerable gains in the smartphone market at the expense of phones like Sharp's W-ZERO3 and the Willcom 03, it still hasn't gained nearly the same total mindshare or market share that it has over here. That's because "smartphones" as we know them are still a relatively small market in Japan, where carriers' lineups consist of a whole range of offerings including everything from mobile TV-equipped phones to true camera phones to perfume holders.

Source [engadget.com]

Re:Great news! (1)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490574)

Apple just did. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Great news! (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490706)

Sorry, but that Time Machine only goes backwards in "time."

gumbo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30488768)

First!

Japanese iPhone Commercial (0)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488784)

The localized Apple commercials for the iPhone feature archival footage of Mothra and Gamera fighting and crushing Japanese cities.

"Need to call Godzilla for help, there's an APP for that."

Seth

Re:Japanese iPhone Commercial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489452)

Smart phones for stupid people applies as much there as anywhere.

So why is XBox unpopular? (0, Troll)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488816)

Wait they like iPhone? How can this be? But I thought XBox is unpopular in Japanese because they hate foreign products. I guess all this time it was because XBox sucks.

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488858)

Maybe it's the 'youge' western games rather than the console itself.

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (0, Troll)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488908)

Wait they like iPhone? How can this be? But I thought XBox is unpopular in Japanese because they hate foreign products. I guess all this time it was because XBox sucks.

The Japanese will buy foreign products but they are not willing to put up with half-assed foreign crap like the XBox 360 which has a failure rate in the double digits. They only buy crap from overseas (windows) when there is no other viable choice.

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489202)

Veiled raging at Microsoft.

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30488910)

Japanese are completely racist. What is really funny therefore, is when weeabos go to live in Japan.

I don't know why Japanese culture, which is aggressive to outsiders, attracts outcasts so much. It's incongruous that they are attracted to a place where they become even bigger outcasts.

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488942)

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.

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489116)

iPhone is/was missing a bunch of features that have been standard on phones in Japan for many years.

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (3, Interesting)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489134)

Maybe people don't care as much about the extra features as much as (you|they) thought they did.

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489130)

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.

Actually, though, lots of J-RPGs are out for the 360 first. For example, Tales of Vesperia, Star Ocean: The Last Hope and other RPGs were released on the 360 then given an enhanced remake for the PS3.

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489252)

Oh I know, there are plenty of J-RPG's all around. But those exclusive titles to the PS3 seem to be a little more inclined towards Japanese Culture, I'm just saying.

With Final Fantasy making its way to the 360, it'll be interesting to see if the 360 will catch up in those markets.

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489524)

Isn't the next Final Fantasy PS3-only in Japan though?

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490292)

Yes. The 360 port is for the US and European markets only.

I don't know why though. Since they're making a 360 version of the game itself it seems like a decent development model would keep the text portions separated into a resource file that they could swap regardless of platform.

In general though with the 360's installed base in the US a developer is just foolish to ignore it, hence the FF13 360 port.

And truthfully, the more recent hardware revisions of the 360 have solved most of the big problems the console had. The failure rates at this point are being skewed by the earlier units. My only complain regarding the 360 is it's lack of a high capacity optical drive. Doesn't matter if it had been HD-DVD or Blu-ray - I don't particularly care, but something bigger than DVD would be nice.

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30490470)

Its obvious its not about development issues. Sony paid to keep ff13 ps3 exclusive at least in japan.

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489298)

It's simpler then that: The Xbox has games which mainly involve blowing things up. In terms of their culture, the Japanese prefer more subtle ways of inflicting damage.

Think of it like Pirate vs. Ninja. Would a ninja approve of the majority of Xbox games? No. Would a Pirate? Heck yes!! Are the japanese pirates or ninjas?

I think the answer is pretty obvious.

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (5, Interesting)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489494)

It's mostly because Xbox hardware is a piece of crap that dies easily. And the Japanese don't take that kind of shit lightly, especially when a company tries to hide he magnitude of the problem.

It doesn't help any that in Japanese culture, the "X" symbol indicates failure, and there is also a kanji with an "X" in a box (unicode 51F6) that means "bad luck" and "disaster".

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (1)

danomac (1032160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490300)

It's mostly because Xbox hardware is a piece of crap that dies easily.

The PS3 is not immune to this. A friend of mine bought a PS3 on release day. It died some time ago and after looking around a bit it seems the heat is too high in the PS3 and thusly has problems with its solder connections, quite similar to the Xbox. The catch? Microsoft fixes it under warranty, where Sony told him to pay $150 to fix it. His PS3 has been collecting dust since then. The PS3 failure rates are also in double digits (>10%) but not as high as the xbox.

Re:So why is XBox unpopular? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30490384)

It's mostly because Xbox hardware is a piece of crap that dies easily. And the Japanese don't take that kind of shit lightly, especially when a company tries to hide he magnitude of the problem.

Because that totally signaled the death of the PS2 after its massive rate of failure early on with defective DVD drives...

Where's the beef, er iPhones... (4, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488848)

You gotta wonder what those numbers actually mean. Are we just talking about being a big fish in a miniscule pond? My own personal observations don't correspond to the idea that a "Apple has a 46% share". They certainly don't seem terribly visible for "such a large share".

Re:Where's the beef, er iPhones... (1)

Mekkah (1651935) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488994)

Regardless how accurate it is, 46% or anything remotely close to that; it is a huge share considering release for the iPhone was in 2008 for Asia Japan... Release info [nconspicuo.us]

bullshit... (0, Troll)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489190)

*troll mods coming soon*

The way I see it, the definition of smart phone used in the article is to make sure iphone comes out on top. It is back when engadget suddenly declared '99% of smartphone traffic on our mobile-specific website is from iphone' - the reason was that blackberry was identifying itself as full browser while engadget only targetted mobile specific browser and did the calculation.

This number means fuck-all.

Re:bullshit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30490308)

hehe the first thing that popped into my mind when reading the headline was "Iphone has 100% of Japanase Apple-based Phone Appliance market"

Re:Where's the beef, er iPhones... (1)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489266)

The number may correspond to sales, not necessarily owned phones by the populace. Japan is no miniscule pond, especially when it comes to phones. I've seen endless stories about the highly advanced phone market in Japan. Phones there are more advanced, because the phone users have evolved (like a Pikachu) to become more advanced and demand more features (like a thunderstone). If you're talking about visibility from your perspective, I'd have to say that one perspective isn't relevant on such a large scale. SEE: Hasty Generalization.

Re:Where's the beef, er iPhones... (2, Insightful)

introspekt.i (1233118) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Where's the beef, er iPhones... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489550)

... have evolved (like a Pikachu)...

Pikachu don't evolve; they just become more annoying.

Re:Where's the beef, er iPhones... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489404)

There is no agreed upon definition of a smartphone for starters; practically all SE phones should qualify if iPhone does...

But there's another thing. Which probably can't be applied here, with 46%, but certainly is present in not so clear scenarios.

Namely - Apple has only one product. Yes, there's "non-3G", 3G and 3GS, but they are practically always presented as one device, "iPhone" (as in this case). Also on the lists of popularity of handsets (as in this case). But..."iPhone" belongs more in a chart with popularity of whole brands.

Re:Where's the beef, er iPhones... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489812)

Are ypu suggesting the figures are a bit slanted?

Re:Where's the beef, er iPhones... (4, Informative)

idolcrash (836925) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490076)

The problem is, I believe (from other sites carrying this story) that the smartphones altogether, have only a 22.7% marketshare. This includes the iPhone.

What about their bandwidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30488872)

Are their carriers getting crushed by heavy bandwidth users like AT&T?

Is there an app for that? (1)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488940)

It's my understanding that the average Japanese person is more likely to have a phone than a computer, and that the phone can do pretty much everything a computer can (albeit with a much smaller screen), including playing MMOs, watching TV, etc. While I can see why people might like the bigger screen, does the iPhone have the apps/functionality that the Japanese user wants?

Re:Is there an app for that? (1)

vcgodinich (1172985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489156)

. . . Are you somehow arguing the fact that the iPhone does have a large market share in Japan?

I am not advocating the iPhone, but a statistic (presumably accurate) can't be ignored / refuted with a vague cultural stereotype.

And -what- phone plays popular (non web) MMO's? (WoW)

My gut feeling is that even the Japanese have regular access to a computer, both for work and play.

Re:Is there an app for that? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489274)

Yeah... but it can probably be easily refuted by getting a JR day pass and riding the rails for the day.

Re:Is there an app for that? (1)

vcgodinich (1172985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489534)

Again, you CAN'T argue that real cell tower data is less reliable that looking around on a train.

I am not arguing the point that people using their phones on trains might not use iPhones at a 46% rate, but that is not all of Japan.

If you don't believe the data. . .say so.

Cue trolls (-1, Flamebait)

paimin (656338) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488972)

Can't wait to see how the huge anti-iPhone mob around here spins this. I'm guessing they will take the "iPhone is for conformist fags" approach.

Place your bets!

Re:Cue trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489008)

CmdrTaco's micropenis has 46% of the Japanese male escort market.

No, that doesn't make any more sense either.

Re:Cue trolls (0, Flamebait)

Povno (1460131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489170)

I myself can't wait to see how the iPhone mob around here spins this. I'm guessing they will take the "anti-iPhone sentiment is for conformist fags" approach.

What?! I'm just sayin'...

Makes you wonder (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489014)

how they can see all of their iPhone apps with those squinty Chink eyes they have. freakin' slopes!

Remember pearl harbor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489978)

It's a different version over there - it's called the slant-iPhone.

Math Skill - there appears to be no app for that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489046)

Ok. Iphone has 46% of smart phone market. It cut the leader lead from 27% to 13.5%. So the Leader has 59.5% of the market and Iphone 46%. Guess all the other smart phones are in negative numbers.

Re:Math Skill - there appears to be no app for tha (2, Informative)

zn0k (1082797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489356)

Ok. Iphone has 46% of smart phone market. It cut the leader lead from 27% to 13.5%. So the Leader has 59.5% of the market and Iphone 46%. Guess all the other smart phones are in negative numbers.

Maybe read the article? The 3G has 24.6% of the market. The 3GS has 21.5% of the market. That adds up to roughly 46%. The most popular phone in 2008 was the Sharp WillCOM W-Zero 3 Advance, and it held a 26.8% absolute market share. That is now 14.6%, meaning that the other smart phones share roughly 40% of the market.

Of course the article doesn't clearly define what 'market' that is.

Remember when smartphone meant something? (5, Interesting)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489070)

Am I the only one suspicious that they're using a rigged definition of "smartphone"? That is an awfully small list of phones for Japan. What is their criteria? How the hell could a Windows Mobile device even be number two? Beating that is like winning the Special Olympics.

Man, remember when people were pretending the iPhone was a smartphone before it had third party software, just to get it out of the feature phone category? Those were the days.

Re:Remember when smartphone meant something? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489344)

Yeah, because making fun of Special Olympic kids is so cool and funny.

Seriously that joke needs to die and quickly.

Re:Remember when smartphone meant something? (1)

RedK (112790) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489596)

Who's making fun ? It's pretty much a fact that any normal kid can win the special Olympics (except maybe Cartman) against all the special little children. It might not be a politically correct fact but it is fact nonetheless. I have nothing against reta.. err.. Special kids, but we don't need any more political correctness in today's society.

Re:Remember when smartphone meant something? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489658)

Seriously that joke needs to die and quickly.

Yeah, like special Olympics contestants.

Re:Remember when smartphone meant something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489846)

Lighten the fuck up, 'tard.

Re:Remember when smartphone meant something? (3, Insightful)

chitokutai (758566) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Remember when smartphone meant something? (2, Interesting)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489450)

Yeah, I've been googling those names, and every one I don't recognize is either running Windows Mobile (and most of those manufactured by HTC) or a rebranded Nokia device. Where are those amazing homegrown wonders that make the Japanese market so hard to crack?

Re:Remember when smartphone meant something? (1, Interesting)

SignalFreq (580297) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489588)

Their definition seems pretty broad, basically any phone that can run any of the smartphone OSs. More interesting is that the iPhone's main competitor, the W-Zero3, was built and released in 2005, 2 years before the iPhone American release in 2007 and 3 years before the Japanese release. The W-Zero3 has equal or better features with the exception of a touchscreen. So the iPhone is winning the market in Japan based upon marketing and the interface.

I own an iPhone. I am definitely moving away from it as soon as my contract expires... a few reasons: 1) horrible battery life with 3G usage, 2) lack of MMS, and 3) AT&T's network is sub-standard (I experience 2-3 dropped calls every day).

Interestingly, my wife refuses to use any iPhone, since the touchscreen never responds accurately to her touch. Most of her friends have similar issues, and now that I think about it, I don't see many women using an iPhone.

Re:Remember when smartphone meant something? (2, Informative)

RedK (112790) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489770)

Newsflash, MMS is available on AT&T, has been for a few months. That's one less complaint off your list.

Re:Remember when smartphone meant something? (1)

SignalFreq (580297) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490360)

Ah, I see that now, I haven't updated my iPhone since mid-August... it will be nice to finally have MMS... but the 3G (battery/coverage) issues and AT&T's network (though some analysts say it is the iPhone hardware) will still drive me to a different phone.

Re:Remember when smartphone meant something? (1)

AnotherShep (599837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490180)

Let me guess. She tries to use her fingernail and tap, right?

Re:Remember when smartphone meant something? (1)

Tak_1 (1684082) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490660)

Having worn acrylics, that was my first thought. many hardcore nails types, type with the tips of their super re-enforced salon nails. That WILL not work. Here I see a lot of women with iPhones, not so many with salon nails.

Re:Remember when smartphone meant something? (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489886)

Am I the only one suspicious that they're using a rigged definition of "smartphone"? That is an awfully small list of phones for Japan. What is their criteria? How the hell could a Windows Mobile device even be number two? Beating that is like winning the Special Olympics.

Man, remember when people were pretending the iPhone was a smartphone before it had third party software, just to get it out of the feature phone category? Those were the days.

If you take even just a weekend trip to Japan and walk around in public, you will see a TON of iPhones. I just got back last week, having been there for 15 days. The iPhone is very, very popular there. This is anecdotal evidence and a rather shoddy sampling, but for real statistics... well, that's why we have TFA ;)

also more turkey than iPhone purchases at Xmas (1, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489074)

Apple is a strange beast. It's always seemed to aim at building a quality desktop for a restricted market which can afford it. It once lampooned Dell for being a company which makes profit on volume rather than quality. Even the click-wheel iPod remained steadfastly associated with its superior UI and superior price tag, and though it reached a mass market on "cool", it remained a winner on trademark usability and profit margin.

Then comes the iPhone, and with the iPhone comes a slurry of a very Microsoft form of press release, always discussing proportion of some market captured, number of apps downloaded, etc. The trait has trickled into their computer division, as they boast about "highest revenue in retail stores in the US in quarter X", or similar misleadingly over- or under-specified statistics. It's not that you can't make a huge profit, especially short-term, on running a business in this way. It's just not the Apple I knew from the '80s and early '90s.

The current favourite for Apple is "% of smartphone market" - this one is an easy winner, because private consumers tend not to need/care much for the full detail of smartphone features, but they do buy what's cool. And there's never been a cool smartphone before the iPhone. What is more, the market of private consumers always exceeds the market of business users, so figures illustrating the iPhone's usage where it might actually be useful are drowned out by Joe Public wanting what's shiny. Finally, private conumsers without the desire for bling or the means to obtain it just go for non-smartphones.

To summarise, iPhones would be expected to win the "consumer smartphone" quantity battle because they are the only well-established consumer smartphone. As a result, they automatically win the "smartphone" quantity battle. But this doesn't necessarily mean they are the favoured smartphone in any particular group of existing users making an informed choice. There's a good reason why there was no "switch" advert for iPhone as there was for Mac.

Re:also more turkey than iPhone purchases at Xmas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30490060)

Is this an Apple fanboy thing? I agree with OP: Apple has turned from competing by selling to an elite crowd to competing on quantity. You might disagree with the details - for example, I'd say that Japan may be a special case, as the proportion of technophiles has outweighed that in the West for some time - but you can't mod someone down as a troll for commenting on a long-term trend at Apple.

It's also obvious that PR has changed to reflect this, as Apple in the past was not one to be hurt or pleased by its =10% share.

(Posting AC because I don't want to take the karma hit the OP did for daring to suggest that Apple's not perfect in every way.)

Re:also more turkey than iPhone purchases at Xmas (1)

real_b0fh (557599) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490704)

oooooh my precious slashkarma... must protect it...

seriously, grow up.

Broad definition (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489098)

From what I have found, the definition of 'smartphone' in the report was so broad so as to include nearly anything more advance than a digital watch. In past [researchonasia.com] research reports on the same subject, the definition was narrow:

"...smartphone refers to a device that is equipped with Symbian UIQ, Nokia S60/S80, Windows Mobile, Palm, Linux OS and BlackBerry."

Now the definition has apparently widened to include so much junk, that the iPhone seem nearly divine by comparision.

Re:Broad definition (2, Insightful)

paimin (656338) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489214)

So, you're saying it's even more impressive, given that it's 46% of such a large pool?

Re:Broad definition (1, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489660)

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.

Re:Broad definition (2, Insightful)

Mekkah (1651935) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489238)

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..

COLD TURKEY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489192)

You might expect appleinsider.com to have a small bias.

Interesting (5, Interesting)

mcsqueak (1043736) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489250)

I was in Tokyo this past September, and I do remember spotting the iPhone there. However, it seems that many more people had flip phones. The typical flip phone style I saw was larger than those found here in America, to accommodate a bigger screen, and flatter then you'd see here. Many could do things such as watch TV, as my friend demonstrated on his phone.

I don't ever remember seeing a TV commercial for the iPhone, or any subway/train ads for the iPhone. I do remember seeing subway ads for other phones. And for Google, heh.

Re:Interesting (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490298)

I got one of those flip-phones, and while they do have a rather impressive range of features they still don't do the kind of stuff you'd expect of a smartphone.

Re:Interesting (1)

Twizzle4Shizzle (1252100) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490310)

I was in Japan in September as well this year. They did have the iPhone as you pointed out, but I think most importantly is that every place that was selling was giving it away for free (0 Yen). That price was there for the full time I was there. I don't know if the carriers were fully subsiding the phone or if Apple was cutting prices because they were having a difficult time selling it.

Nice try, but no. (4, Insightful)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Nice try, but no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489724)

A huge share of the TINY phone market that counts. All other phone markets are immaterial.

sales? who cares! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489342)

slashdot. News for nerds - stuff that matters
hmmm, I don't really see how iphone sales in Japan falls into either of those categories?

maybe it should be:
slashdot. News for sales people - stuff that is irrelevant to technology

i wonder what the UI looks like... (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489420)

as traditionally touch phones have suffered in asian countries where things like the stylus still reign supreme for complex alphabets. Apple must be really dedicated to the market, or must see some serious competition against their stateside market.

It looks great (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490138)

as traditionally touch phones have suffered in asian countries where things like the stylus still reign supreme for complex alphabets.

Actually if you think about it, physical keyboards are a really bad idea for Asian countries - the input mechanism for Kanji and the like is actually really impressive on the iPhone, take a look:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzTYImxDzU8 [youtube.com]

The characters on the side are completions for the character you are drawing, plus there is completion of full phrases.

The smartphone market in Japan is tiny (2, Interesting)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489436)

Hardly anyone in Japan actually uses a "smartphone". The regular flip phones are so full featured that there is not much need to. You can even download full TV series to your basic phone to watch while you ride the train. Between that, and email, and a few basic online apps, most consumers seem happy with their "bog standard" phones. The fact that a WinMo phone is in second place should be evidence enough that the smartphone market there is pretty much non-existant. Not once would you ever see someone on a WinMo phone.

Furthermore, phone fashion is a huge thing. While the iPhone is pretty nice by our standards, it's got nothing on some of the glitzy and sleek phones available there. Fashion also changes quickly, while the appearance of the iPhone has remained largely the same.

What is a "smartphone"? (1, Interesting)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489490)

What exactly is the definition of a "smartphone"? Is it being able to install third party applications? In that case my previous phone from Sony Ericsson (released almost 4 years ago) and most phones sold are smart phones. Is it a touch interface? In that case there are several smartphones that run neither of the Operating Systems that a smart phone must have according to the article.
Before you can come up with a good impartial definition of the word "smartphone" you cannot know how large the market share of a specific smartphone is, or even if it qualifies as a smartphone.

Re:What is a "smartphone"? (1)

buruonbrails (1247370) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489994)

Smartphone is a phone that is powered by an operating system. So, it comes down to the definition of "operating system".

It doesn't matter whether you interact with it via touch screen, keyboard or your brain waves - smartness of a phone is defined by software, not hardware.

I call bullshit, until I see a second source... (1, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489710)

...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:I call bullshit, until I see a second source... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489810)

Oh, and another thing: With the article stating, that it got marketed in the Apple-typical crazy fashion of total life invasion, I wonder how many of those who bought one, actually hate it now, and upon trying a different one, wish they would have chosen otherwise.

I mean, I would, when I would later find out, that I can’t even remove the battery, or install anything I want. (Think a Joe Random, wanting to install a game he found on the net. [And if possible do so for free.])

/. 's marketing dept. (2, Funny)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489784)

And why is this news?

The summary lies! It's 24.6% Not 46%! (1, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489876)

Oh what a convenient lack of the number 2 and movement of the decimal point...

Here’s the translated report:
http://translate.google.com/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.impressrd.jp%2Fnews%2F091210%2Fsmartphone2010&sl=ja&tl=en [google.com]

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 [slashdot.org] , where I stated that the Apple reality distortion bubble would make people want it so much, that they would make things up.

Re:The summary lies! It's 24.6% Not 46%! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30489958)

I know that we're on slashdot, but.. at least, try to read. 3G: 24,6 3GS: 21,5.
24,6 + 21,5 = 46,1

It's math, my friend.

Re:The summary lies! It's 24.6% Not 46%! (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490412)

From the link you provided, the iPhone 3G has a market share of 24.6 and iPhone 3GS has a market share of 21.5%, together the number is 46.1%.

Monopoly (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490126)

Has there been any WHARGARBLE over Apple having a monopoly in the Japanese SmartPhone market?

Bogus survey? (4, Interesting)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490156)

As with the AdMob survey numbers based on web browsing hits this survey is suspicious.

Looking through my web server logs the only smartphone browser hits I get are from iPhone clients...

"Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A543a Safari/419.3"

But considering the iPhone has only 15% or so actual market share I found it curious that they seem to hold such a large share of web browsing as evidenced on my own server, so I looked closer at where these clients originated using a whois of the IP addresses of some clients, 72.44.57.255, 174.129.64.115, 174.129.143.218, 67.202.4.57, etc...

[Querying whois.arin.net]
[whois.arin.net]

OrgName: Amazon.com, Inc.
OrgID: AMAZO-4
Address: Amazon Web Services, Elastic Compute Cloud, EC2
Address: 1200 12th Avenue South
City: Seattle
StateProv: WA
PostalCode: 98144
Country: US

Uh, WTF! Every single iPhone hit is from the Amazon cloud computing cluster.

Amazon runs their EC2 cloud computing cluster off iPhones? Something really fishy is going on here.

Japanese buy smart phones? (4, Interesting)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490514)

I spent 2 weeks in Japan (most of the time in Tokyo, Yokohama and Kyoto) and not once did I see a smart phone. Most people there use advanced flip phones. So smart phones have what, 5% of market share total and iPhone is 2.5% total? And that seems like a very generous guess based on my experience.

And I spent lots of time on the subway and various local trains and buses.

I've seen them a lot lately (1)

hasdikarlsam (414514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490522)

..in anime, manga and other media.

If a phone shows up, chances are it's an iPhone, and often labelled as such. Given that anime is otherwise often home to such labels as Carbucks and McGonads (it's in english, therefore it's cool, never mind what it means), them being labelled correctly pretty much means Apple is paying for it.

So. Advertisement, and lots of it. Anyone closer to the country able to verify this?

'smartphone'? (1)

hao3 (1182447) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490668)

Can someone please define 'smartphone. Until then, such statistics mean little. The only meaningful ones are shares of the entire phone market. Which for Q4 2009 is about 2.5% globally. Probably higher in the US, but I couldn't find US-only (or North America) figures.

Better sales chart (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490696)

I took a minute to knock up a more informative sales chart, a stacked graph by year [flickr.com] .

I was in a rush so I skipped out the smaller sellers and a label for the Y axis.

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