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Apple's iPhone commands 46% of Japanese smartphone market

post #1 of 69
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Nearly half of all domestic smartphone users have turned to the iPhone in Japan, giving Apple a dominant position in the market, according to a new study.

New data released this week from Tokyo-based research company Impress R&D shows the iPhone 3G taking 24.6 percent of the consumer smartphone market. The iPhone 3GS, released this year, accounts for another 21.5 percent.

Most of those gains came at the expense of the Sharp WillCOM W-Zero 3 Advance, a phone with a 3-inch screen and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. In 2008, the phone was the most popular in Japan with 26.8 percent of the smartphone market. This year, its share tumbled to 14.6 percent while the iPhone 3GS was introduced, and the iPhone 3G saw a slight gain of 0.9 percent.

The success story soundly disproves reports from earlier this year that the iPhone was "hated" in Japan. It also demonstrates that the iPhone 3GS had a tremendous debut, just like the iPhone 3G did in 2008. This despite the fact that the Japanese market is notoriously difficult to crack for newcomers.

According to MobileCrunch, the iPhone has been aggressively marketed by carrier SoftBank Mobile, the exclusive wireless provider of the iPhone in Japan. "TV commercials virtually around the clock, print ads in major media, super-competitive pricing etc. do have an effect, it seems," the report said.



Earlier this month, it was reported that the iPhone had an exceptional debut in South Korea, selling 60,000 units at launch. That total represents about 15 percent of the 400,000 total smartphones sold in the country in the third quarter of 2009.

And despite a slow start for iPhone sales this fall in China, they have since sold at a steady pace, topping 100,000. And though numbers are difficult to track, various reports suggest the phone has sold well on China's gray market.
post #2 of 69
But I thought Apple would never break into the Japanese market
post #3 of 69
リンゴ素晴らしいです!アップルiPhoneを席巻している!
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post #4 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

But I thought Apple would never break into the Japanese market

Right, a total flop. How could it ever take off with no front facing camera?

My buddy was in Japan for almost two years and was telling me that with all the crazy tech there, the UI of the other devices was atrocious. Sometimes simple is better-- a UI is one of those times.
post #5 of 69
That is impressive.

RFID payment system here we come!
post #6 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

But I thought Apple would never break into the Japanese market

And how do Japanese iPhone users pay for anything if their phone has no RFID swipe capability? Some reports make it sound like thats the only way they pay for stuff in Japan. Apparently that's not as critical a feature as they made it sound.
post #7 of 69
iPhone phenomenon = iPod phenomenon.

It'll just take a bit longer.
post #8 of 69
Got a couple more months left on my crappy Sharp keitai, then I'll try to wait until the next iPhone in June. Want an iPhone so bad I'm getting nosebleeds.
post #9 of 69
I recall lots of noise about how the iPhone was going to fail in Japan...

Always thought it would do OK; it seems to be doing better than OK.

 

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Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

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post #10 of 69
About payments: I don't think that's actually true (though I don't live in one of the major cities). There are systems in place everywhere to let you pay by phone but personally I seldom see anyone using this method. I am aware that many commuters in places like Tokyo (some spend two hours on trains... each way) use swipe phones to get through stations quickly (if you've ever been to Tokyo Station at rush hour, you could understand the desire/need to move as quickly and easily as possible).

Live far away from Tokyo so I really don't have any idea what is considered normal up there; it is a different world from where I live.

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

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Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

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post #11 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

And how do Japanese iPhone users pay for anything if their phone has no RFID swipe capability? Some reports make it sound like thats the only way they pay for stuff in Japan. Apparently that's not as critical a feature as they made it sound.

Japan is for the most part a cash based society. RFID my ass. There are RFID systems linked to mobile phones [if you apply for them;not automatic] such as ID, Eddy, etc but I have never seen anyone swipe there phone for anything. Ok maybe once. HIDDEN RFID are gaining ground but that's the case all over the world. My new driver's license here is thicker because of the new chip.

Go to Yodobashi Camera and watch everyone buying 50" flast screens and household appliances all in cash cash cash... Of course there are people who have business credit cards or want to build points with credit cards but that's like 10%.

Oh and btw 46% of an almost non existent smart phone market is well...diddly. But really this "smart phone" market is not really well defined. What is it? I'm assuming that in general "smart phones" are PDA like which would be an iPhone and Droid duh. If that's the case then Japan's "smart phone market" is as I said above. Almost non existent". Ooh an iPhone and a WinMobile phone. Thriving market.

It's amazing how people will believe anything if it's what they want to believe.

.
post #12 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by technohermit View Post

Right, a total flop. How could it ever take off with no front facing camera?

My buddy was in Japan for almost two years and was telling me that with all the crazy tech there, the UI of the other devices was atrocious. Sometimes simple is better-- a UI is one of those times.

judging from the cowon d2 mp3 player that i had to return because of its atrocious UI, i have a feeling a lot of devices intended for sale in asia really do have some horrible user interfaces.

when i heard about the features the iphone was lacking that japan was used to, i thought to myself that most people in japan couldn't possibly want all these extra nearly useless features at the expense of ease of use. i doubted highly that the iphone would flop in japan considering it has the best ui of any phone period.
post #13 of 69
If you care to watch some of the ads from japan: http://www.apple.com/jp/iphone/gallery/ads
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"Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school." -- Albert Einstein
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post #14 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

And how do Japanese iPhone users pay for anything if their phone has no RFID swipe capability? Some reports make it sound like thats the only way they pay for stuff in Japan. Apparently that's not as critical a feature as they made it sound.

yeah, japanese people have cash and must have credit cards as well. if they've had RFID swipes on their cell phones, i would think it wouldn't be hard to get the same thing in a credit card.
post #15 of 69
Android phones are going to do to the iPhone what Gojira (Godzilla) does to Tokyo, stomp them flat. All because it's open, which we all know is so much better than the evil closed Apple way.
post #16 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnePotato View Post

Android phones are going to do to the iPhone what Gojira (Godzilla) does to Tokyo, stomp them flat. All because it's open, which we all know is so much better than the evil closed Apple way.

Please explain evil ways?????????? (If you can)

I'm sure glad you don't own any of the " Closed Evil Apple " products. You just like the forums.

BTW... Apple's entire developer platform (Mac, Safari, iPhone) is open to people who want to write powerful, elegant, and sophisticated Apps for a relevant and top of the line OS & Web browser. " Do you want to write code, or write the future " - Apple

Android will turn into another windows mobile, it's just a matter of when?
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post #17 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnePotato View Post

Android phones are going to do to the iPhone what Gojira (Godzilla) does to Tokyo, stomp them flat.

Either be stomped flat ORRRRRRR....

Since we ARE talking about Godzilla here....

Produce BAD products where audio/video is off and use fake model parts in construction, let alone all the bad actors and in the end, you'll have stinky, steamy smoke belching out of your mouth just before you fall over in your playtex suit and give your legs a few kicks before Godzilla dies at the hands...er wings of Mothra (code name of the next iPhone coming out in July)...

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #18 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

According to MobileCrunch, the iPhone has been aggressively marketed by carrier SoftBank Mobile, the exclusive wireless provider of the iPhone in Japan. "TV commercials virtually around the clock, print ads in major media, super-competitive pricing etc. do have an effect, it seems," the report said.

They must be quite some deals then, iirc softbank was giving the 3G away for free practically due to horrid sales, because atypically the japanese tend to reject products not their own or have slow adoption rates.

Still, according to current sales charts Sharp is on top with Sony then Panasonic (talk about trying to remember katakana from highschool lol) the the 32GB 3GS and 16GB 3GS.

With that being said, its hard to really say what a smartphone is in Japan...there are regular phones out there that rival even the iphone/blackberry/android it terms of specs, power, but they just have incredibly terrible software. What we would classify as a smartphone in the states is something they've had already for the past 2 years, hell most phones over there are packing 5MP cams while the majority of our highest tech smartphones dont even have that.

Also, it doesnt take much to top the sales charts in Japan unlike here in America where you need millions to be on top, you can easily be on the top 10 sales chart selling just a few thousand phones

EDIT: http://bcnranking.jp/category/subcategory_0010.html google translate if you cant read
post #19 of 69
It's interesting that most Japanese Symbian and Linux phones aren't included in these figures. Outside of Symbian and Linux, Japan has never really had a smartphone market. Windows Mobile and Blackberry devices have always sold in very small quantities.

Maybe I'm blind but I can't see any figures in the report for units sold. Anyone care to help?
post #20 of 69
It is great to see the iPhone successful in Japan. A great product and a well deserved success.

The Japanese are proud people , it takes a really exceptional product to make them consider foreign over domestic. Which is the main reason the XBox 360 is a failure there

Quote:
Originally Posted by MobileMe View Post

リンゴ素晴らしいです!アップルiPhoneを席巻している!

Machine translation actually translated Apple (アップル) into リンゴ (ringo)

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Mac mini Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz 8GB RAM, iPhone 5 32GB Black

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iPod nano 5th Gen 8GB Orange, iPad 3rd Gen WiFi 32GB White
MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.66GHz 8GB RAM 120GB Intel 320M
Mac mini Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz 8GB RAM, iPhone 5 32GB Black

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post #21 of 69
Congratulations Apple!

I don't have a iPhone, I'm waiting for a few things to occur first.

1: Price for the iPhone to drop to realistic levels.

2: More carriers and better pricing. This "we are overloaded and need to charge more to reduce use" by AT&T is not the customers fault. It's theirs by not building a fat pipe and growing into it instead of the other way around.

3: Better iPhone privacy and security. See my post in iPhone Forum to be scared sh*tless.

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showthread.php?t=105269

4: There is a problem with the small screen. Perhaps a MyVue type device will work, but then I can't see my hands. I could get reading glasses, but that's a pain too. So I would like to see a larger, perhaps a tablet 'kindle sized' iPhone version that can automatically scale the text/images/pages. Wide enough so a typical adult hand could hold it.

5: Yes a inward facing video camera too, so I can tele-conference using iChat.


So the iPhone is not ready for my needs. Perhaps the iTablet will be.
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The danger is that we sleepwalk into a world where cabals of corporations control not only the mainstream devices and the software on them, but also the entire ecosystem of online services around...
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post #22 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnePotato View Post

Android phones are going to do to the iPhone what Gojira (Godzilla) does to Tokyo, stomp them flat. All because it's open, which we all know is so much better than the evil closed Apple way.

You are joking, right?
post #23 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post

It is great to see the iPhone successful in Japan. A great product and a well deserved success.

The Japanese are proud people , it takes a really exceptional product to make them consider foreign over domestic. Which is the main reason the XBox 360 is a failure there



Machine translation actually translated Apple (アップル) into リンゴ (ringo)

.... and I wrote on the iTranslate App in Japan text...

Apple will do great in any market!!! They do no wrong
Apple!

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Apple!

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post #24 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

You are joking, right?

he/she made a mistake, he/she thought they were posting in the Android forums
Apple!

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Apple!

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post #25 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnePotato View Post

Android phones are going to do to the iPhone what Gojira (Godzilla) does to Tokyo, stomp them flat. All because it's open, which we all know is so much better than the evil closed Apple way.

"Open" has not proven itself against Apple's model. If anything, Apple has shown why and how its model can succeed, and is. "Open" is useless if there is no singular vision that effectively brings elements together into a seamless, simple, attractive package, consistent across all respective devices under the umbrella.
post #26 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post

It is great to see the iPhone successful in Japan. A great product and a well deserved success.

The Japanese are proud people , it takes a really exceptional product to make them consider foreign over domestic. Which is the main reason the XBox 360 is a failure there



Machine translation actually translated Apple (アップル) into リンゴ (ringo)

Who said it was successful? It doesnt take much to command half of smartphone user base when dumbphones are capable of doing more than the iphone and any other smartphone Japan has...

and the 360 is a failure over there because they cant get good japanese content out (Blue Dragon aint Final Fantasy, no matter if Hironobu Sakaguchi made it or not unfortunately)

I'm sure you know that ringo means apple as well (but the fruit, not the company)
post #27 of 69
post #28 of 69
Is it any surprise that, when data finally becomes available, it shows the iPhone doing just fine in Japan? Not at all. If there's one thing that all of the "iPhone is flopping in Japan!" claims had in common, it's that NONE of them offered any evidence whatsoever. Remember that in the most infamous case of all, the "Japan hates the iPhone" article, WIRED actually had to amend the article and offer an awkward half-apology...

That said, Success makes a good point: The impressiveness of the feat depends in part on how "smart phone" is defined. A brief scan of some articles on the Impress RD site shows that "smart phones" are 4% of Japan's mobile phone market, so it's not the case that the iPhone has found its way into every hand (but rather, about 1 on 50 hands). Still, as smart phone usage is very likely to grow, the iPhone is in a good place. I know I have no trouble spotting them on the streets and trains of Tokyo (and I'm certainly happy with mine; sorry to buck the majority opinion out there, but I'm not terribly impressed with the regular Japanese mobile phones I've seen and owned).

@Aizmov: "The Japanese are proud people"...

Are you telling us there are societies/races/nations of non-proud people? Who would those be?

"It takes a really exceptional product to make them consider foreign over domestic"

No, it doesn't. Contrary to ill-considered beliefs, there are many categories in which foreign products dominate in Japan. A classic example is software. Japan has had decades now in which it could have built a best-in-nation (or even best-in-world) OS. It even has a ready, open base (Linux) that'd take it 90% of the way there. What does the country do instead? Rely almost entirely on Windows. "Exceptional product" my arse!
post #29 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

iPhone phenomenon = iPod phenomenon.

It'll just take a bit longer.

Actually, the iPod phenomenon took longer.

Thompson
post #30 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac'em X View Post

IWhat does the country do instead? Rely almost entirely on Windows. "Exceptional product" my arse!


post #31 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifail View Post

and the 360 is a failure over there because they cant get good japanese content out (Blue Dragon aint Final Fantasy, no matter if Hironobu Sakaguchi made it or not unfortunately)

The Xbox 360 sells around 400,000 units a year in Japan. It isn't a massive failure. The console has a small but very, very strong fanbase. The queues for the latest Xbox 360 releases often dwarf those for Nintendo and Sony titles. Air Combat 6 attracted ridiculous lines of gamers when it went on sale.
post #32 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

Congratulations Apple!

5: Yes a inward facing video camera too, so I can tele-conference using iChat.

So the iPhone is not ready for my needs. Perhaps the iTablet will be.

If you think the networks are hurting now, what do you think is gonna happen when you get videoconferencing via iPhone?

Be careful what you ask for. This is still a few years from reality. Not because it can't be done... but rather because it can't be handled.

THompson
post #33 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by thompr View Post

If you think the networks are hurting now, what do you think is gonna happen when you get videoconferencing via iPhone?

Video chat, as implemented by the European and Asian carriers, hardly uses any bandwidth at all. Even a dial-up modem would be capable of providing adequate speeds.

Of course, it's a very impractical technology that no-one uses. Holding your phone at arm's length and shouting really doesn't have many everyday uses.
post #34 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

The Xbox 360 sells around 400,000 units a year in Japan. It isn't a massive failure. The console has a small but very, very strong fanbase. The queues for the latest Xbox 360 releases often dwarf those for Nintendo and Sony titles. Air Combat 6 attracted ridiculous lines of gamers when it went on sale.

Oh no doubt, the 360 isnt a total flop, there is a dedicated market of about 1.5-2 million users but i think most of them have American tastes (shoot em up instead of hardcore RPGs) i rarely see many Japanese developed titles made exclusively for xbox for that region, not to say the system doesnt have Final Fantasy XIII and Metal Gear Solid coming but those are mainstream titles now so they sell well regardless of region.
post #35 of 69
the japanese market is truly selective about its purchases. only (probably) the korean market is more difficult to crack.

having said that, an ace in the hole is apple's new move to providing games on the iphone. japanese love their games and while commuting on those crowded trains you can imagine everybody playing away,

plus, as sony found out, the ui is critical and apple's ui is simply the best by a lot.
post #36 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifail View Post

dumbphones are capable of doing more than the iphone and any other smartphone Japan has...

Since myself, and probably others here, are not knowledgeable about the Japanese cell phone market, could you please provide examples of the ways Japanese "dumbphones" are more capable than their smartphones? What sort of features and capabilities do they have, and if they are so advanced, why aren't they included in the smartphone category?
post #37 of 69
Its not easy to be a foreign company in Japan, last year Nokia pulled completely out of the Japanese mobile market because of poor sales.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ifail View Post

Also, it doesnt take much to top the sales charts in Japan unlike here in America where you need millions to be on top, you can easily be on the top 10 sales chart selling just a few thousand phones
post #38 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Since myself, and probably others here, are not knowledgeable about the Japanese cell phone market, could you please provide examples of the ways Japanese "dumbphones" are more capable than their smartphones? What sort of features and capabilities do they have, and if they are so advanced, why aren't they included in the smartphone category?

It's a load of crap. They aren't that advanced. I remember hearing this when the iPhone lauched and I asked all comers to show me one these Japanese iPhone-crushing uber-phones. There were a couple of hardware features, and and of course a faster data network, but front facing cameras with choppy video and battery-draining tiny TV screens was about all they could present to me. On the software and OS side of things, the user experience is regarded has horrible on these things - they make Symbian look friendly. I have no doubt that iPhones and Android will take over the Japanese market.
post #39 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Since myself, and probably others here, are not knowledgeable about the Japanese cell phone market, could you please provide examples of the ways Japanese "dumbphones" are more capable than their smartphones? What sort of features and capabilities do they have, and if they are so advanced, why aren't they included in the smartphone category?

Its really a lot of smaller brands to be honest, and i think their not included because they arent on much of a global scale and dont have a real ecosystem behind them. When you think smart phone makers, the first 4 things that pop into my mind are RIM, Apple, Google, Microsoft...not Sharp, Panasonic, NEC or Fujitsu (those are the popular brands i can think of in Japan)

Many of the phones that come out in Japan are old news after just a mere few months, while a phone has a year plus shelf life here in the states, after a few months in japan a revamped version of the phone is sitting on the shelves already. The iPhone is being heavily discounted by Softbank, not sure if this is true for the 3GS, whom is the 3rd largest carrier in the country iirc. The fact its still selling is a good sign.

As for phone features, most a few have web browsing, email, decent cameras (2MP-3.2 MP range) read QRcode (those square serial block things), MP3 playback. Some let you watch NTV, which is one of the major TV networks in Japan. This mind you is on a BASE PHONE. Kids in elementary school and middle school are walking around with these kinds of phones lol...

When you get into more advanced feature mobile devices, they have features like extended TV use, 5+MP cams, video cams, RFID (blowing up real big, hell even vending machines take it) reading Novels on your phone (yes books), saved videos and GPS and cell mobile gaming which is really big in japan.

So the only thing these phones dont have is a good OS foundation, they just have raw power and capabilities, the smart phone market (RIM,Apple,Google,MS) in japan only shipped according to one report 1.33 million devices.
post #40 of 69
If I read the report correctly, the survey size was 2800 smart phone users who answered an email survey in September. The survey was only sent to subscribers who had previously signed up. How valid is this?
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