As smart phones are finally starting to catch on in Japan, mobile phone powerhouse Au is introducing a smartphone running Google’s Android OS. Although the term smart phone is almost silly when considering that the majority of even Japan’s simpler phones have had cameras, music playing capabilities, texting, and applications or “apuri” for years. Videos and photos, SD cards, and internet capabilities are also nothing new. Au and other providers have also offered unlimited data plans for a long time.
One-Seg TV (allowing users to actually watch tv on their phones) has also been a part of phones for some time.
What was lacking, I believe is a real OS with more 3rd party applications and uses beyond what a typical teenager would want, without a lot of applications for serious or business-minded users.
With the eventual (contrary to what a lot of news outlets say, the popularity of the iphone took a while) success of the iPhone, now Japanese phone makers are also releasing smart phones that encompass the appeal of the iPhone while maintaining some of the unique features that customers in Japan expect from their mobile phones.
I don’t think we are going to see a huge market share go to smart phones as they are defined in other parts of the world. People tend to be relatively conservative about what they need if it comes down to a matter of the actual features of the phone. What they need to do is hype the games and social aspects of smart phones.
Check one of the latest smart phones to come out. This is an Android phone being put out to be used with Au form KDDI.
It was reviewed recently by Gizmodo Japan:
The first video shows the interface, the second video shows the internet browsing features.
The interface and everything about it seems a little like some of the cheap iPhone inspired phones I’ve seen in the US. The other downside of the phone is of course the price. It can be bought for about 27,000 after discounts through points and for getting a 2 year contract.
I am interested to see how this goes and to find out if eventually smart phones come to be used in the business world for things other than the norm such as phone calls, email, and texting. In fact, phones are just beginning to have strong, usable, efficient calendars (let alone To Do type functionality).