iPhone Coming to Japan in Softbank (not Docomo)

June 5, 2008

This according to an article in CNET Japan.

There are three major mobile phone providers in Japan. AU KDDI, Docomo, and Softbank. Softbank is owned by Yahoo Japan.

There were tons of rumors that the iPhone would come to Japan with Docomo. Softbank Mobile today announced that it would be releasing the iPhone within the year.

They offered no comment when asked for details about the price and release date.

Docomo (by national landline telephone provider NTT) had been in talks with Apple. In response to Softbank’s announcement they said it was a shame that Apple decided to go with Softbank, however Docomo’s PRADA Phone by LG offers a touch panel.

AU KDDI said that they had spoken somewhat with Apple, but hadn’t really been in negotiations.

If you’re reading this and you’re wondering how long it will be until someone hacks it so that you can use an iPhone with the provider of your choice, I don’t really think it’s going to happen. I don’t know much about that kind of thing, but I think that the actual mobile phone set up here in Japan would preclude that kind of thing.

Well, the iPhone is coming. Hopefully that means that we are going to get better mobile sites and betteraccess to mobile services and online programs with it.

One more opinion, if I may, I don’t think most customers like the touch panel display in Japan. I don’t know how smudgy they get, but I know I don’t like the smudginess. A lot will also depend on the keyboard interface… I mean really, this is a country where people write NOVELS on their cell phones. They need a good interface and a way to work those thumbs as fast as possible.

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