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Old Aug 17, 2009, 01:11 PM   #1
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32 GB iPhone 3GS Ranks as Top Selling Mobile Phone in Japan in July






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Electronista reports on data from marketing research firm GfK Japan placing the 32 GB iPhone 3GS ranking as the top selling mobile phone in Japan for the month of July. The 16 GB iPhone 3GS model claimed the ninth spot in the rankings. As the report notes, the achievement is particularly notable given the difficulties foreign phones typically have in penetrating the Japanese market.
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Making the top of the chart is a potential watershed for American phones in the country as a whole. While the iPhone 3G also saw strong sales in the country when it launched over a year ago on SoftBank and hurt rival carriers like KDDI and NTT DoCoMo, it struggled to unseat locally-made handsets. The Japanese market is known to be too insular and often excludes foreign phones in favor of domestics that are complicated but support many Japan-specific features like 1Seg digital TV broadcasts or FeliCa wireless payments.
The iPhone 3GS launched in Japan on June 26th.

Article Link: 32 GB iPhone 3GS Ranks as Top Selling Mobile Phone in Japan in July
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 01:18 PM   #2
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Good to hear that the iPhone is doing well in Japan, given the vast assortment of technology that customers have available over there.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 01:29 PM   #3
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I bet Japan has those blessed and widely available 7.2Mb/s network speeds.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 01:35 PM   #4
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I will find out how fast their data feed is next week. I will fire up my iPhone 3GS while I am there.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 01:40 PM   #5
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It's not that hard to be number 1 in these rankings in Japan:

(1) new handset models come and go every 3-4 months;
(2) all the handsets are basically carrier exclusives --- so the sales numbers are all spread out.

Imagine that AT&T RAZR, T-Mobile RAZR, Verizon RAZR and Sprint RAZR are counted separately --- it's a lot easier to beat that.

iPhone lost to Blackberry Curve in the US --- because the Curve is available on all 4 carriers and the Curve is counted as a single model.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 01:55 PM   #6
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never would guess this, in Japan. i saw maybe 3 iPhones last time i went.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 01:58 PM   #7
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Two things:

1) The Japanese are no longer ahead of us with their "fancy gadgets" when it comes to mobile phones. (we are now equals)

2) With the huge U.S. Trade deficits, it's about time we came up with something that the rest if the world wants to buy (popular consumer products; I know we sell a lot of other things).

-typed on iPhone, please excuse any typos
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 02:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iphones4evry1 View Post
Two things:

1) The Japanese are no longer ahead of us with their "fancy gadgets" when it comes to mobile phones. (we are now equals)

2) With the huge U.S. Trade deficits, it's about time we came up with something that the rest if the world wants to buy (popular consumer products; I know we sell a lot of other things).

-typed on iPhone, please excuse any typos
The iPhone is far ahead of the phones in Japan just as it is here as far as usability and the interaction and GUI experience. That is why it is doing so well there.

I am so tired of hearing people say the iPhone is a failure in Japan and asia when it is not at all. Yes even their gadet designs and UIs suck compared to the iPhone!
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 02:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by MacFly123 View Post
The iPhone is far ahead of the phones in Japan just as it is here as far as usability and the interaction and GUI experience. That is why it is doing so well there.

I am so tired of hearing people say the iPhone is a failure in Japan and asia when it is not at all. Yes even their gadet designs and UIs suck compared to the iPhone!
By the same token, hitting number 1 for a single week or a month in Japan --- ain't the success many people stated either.

iPhone would have beaten the Blackberry Curve in the US --- if we counted the Curve separately by the individual carriers.

Every single cell phone model in Japan is a carrier exclusive model --- makes the threshold for hitting number 1 sales on the chart for a single week or a month very easy.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 02:41 PM   #10
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It's a pretty good accomplishment, but the question remains whether the iPhone will stay high on this list over time, or whether the iPhone had a moment of glory and will quickly be supplanted by other models.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 02:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by iphones4evry1 View Post
Two things:
2) With the huge U.S. Trade deficits, it's about time we came up with something that the rest if the world wants to buy (popular consumer products; I know we sell a lot of other things).
um, since the iPhone is made in China, it does not help US trade-deficit at all. All those sold iPhones increase Chinas exports, not USA's.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 02:54 PM   #12
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Still a accomplishment for a U.S. phone

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Originally Posted by samab View Post
By the same token, hitting number 1 for a single week or a month in Japan --- ain't the success many people stated either.

iPhone would have beaten the Blackberry Curve in the US --- if we counted the Curve separately by the individual carriers.

Every single cell phone model in Japan is a carrier exclusive model --- makes the threshold for hitting number 1 sales on the chart for a single week or a month very easy.
The threshold may be "very easy", but this is still a big accomplishment for a U.S. company in Japan.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 03:52 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by samab View Post
By the same token, hitting number 1 for a single week or a month in Japan --- ain't the success many people stated either.

iPhone would have beaten the Blackberry Curve in the US --- if we counted the Curve separately by the individual carriers.

Every single cell phone model in Japan is a carrier exclusive model --- makes the threshold for hitting number 1 sales on the chart for a single week or a month very easy.
I think they are pretty legitimate, just not ideal. The iPhone is not on the dominant carrier in Japan which says something. It is also pretty important considering that Japanese phones are more catered to the their users. At the same time it's also the reason why Japanese cell makers have struggled outside their home market.

While the Japanese are eons ahead of us in mainstream tech, they are horrible at the UI and design. I would hope that both the US and Japan could learn from each other and make the world a better place in terms of technology adoption.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 04:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Evangelion View Post
um, since the iPhone is made in China, it does not help US trade-deficit at all. All those sold iPhones increase Chinas exports, not USA's.
Let's see, yes
all iPhones contribute to China's exports
but no.
All iPhones also contribute to the USA's since the phone is an American product, sold abroad with money coming in...
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 04:14 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post
I think they are pretty legitimate, just not ideal. The iPhone is not on the dominant carrier in Japan which says something. It is also pretty important considering that Japanese phones are more catered to the their users. At the same time it's also the reason why Japanese cell makers have struggled outside their home market.

While the Japanese are eons ahead of us in mainstream tech, they are horrible at the UI and design. I would hope that both the US and Japan could learn from each other and make the world a better place in terms of technology adoption.
I never claimed that they are not legitimate.

But if you want to be picky about it --- this one is from a marketing survey which is a lot more less legitimate than the story about the iphone being number 1 for the first couple of weeks of the 3GS launch in Japan a few weeks ago. That older story got their ranking data from live sales figures from Point of Sales scanning.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 04:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jav6454 View Post
I bet Japan has those blessed and widely available 7.2Mb/s network speeds.
Yup, but they've started throttling heavy users.

Quote:
Originally Posted by finnns2000 View Post
never would guess this, in Japan. i saw maybe 3 iPhones last time i went.
Having owned an iPhone since the day (the hour!) they were released in Japan last year, I've always noticed other iPhone around me on the train, in public, etc. I can tell you this: since the 3GS launched, the number of iPhones I see on a daily basis has skyrocketed! I used to see one or two a week (if that!) whereas I now see three or four a day. My wife says it's the same on her commute, as well. I think the iPhone is doing quite well in Japan, finally.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 04:37 PM   #17
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I'm glad the iPhone 3Gs is doing great in Japan.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 05:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djdjek View Post
I'm glad the iPhone 3Gs is doing great in Japan.
Indeed - you and me both. 1) The iPhone's success virtually guarantees Japanese carriers' continued interest in the platform (meaning I'll be able to be buy future iterations of the device because it will continue to be sold here!) and 2) it will force Japanese manufacturers to finally modernize/improve their horrid UIs a bit. The hardware is impressive but the user interface on a lot of these Japanese phones looks like it was designed by someone with about as much expertise as my two year old. Actually, that's not really fair, because my two year old has spent enough time with my iPhone to know what an intuitive, well-designed UI looks like. He could probably do a better job designing one - in his sleep - than most of the "engineers" at the big Japanese phone makers.

Anyway, the iPhone's success in Japan is a huge win for everyone, IMO.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 06:29 PM   #19
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i guess

I guess in Japan they don't like blackberries...haha
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 06:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iphones4evry1 View Post
Two things:

1) The Japanese are no longer ahead of us with their "fancy gadgets" when it comes to mobile phones. (we are now equals)

2) With the huge U.S. Trade deficits, it's about time we came up with something that the rest if the world wants to buy (popular consumer products; I know we sell a lot of other things).

-typed on iPhone, please excuse any typos
1. no we aren't equal. can your iphone read barcodes, watch streaming television, pay, have a 10MP camera, conduct solar charging, send emoticons, MMS, video chat, and be waterproof at the same time? if not, then we aren't equal.

2. the iphone is popular in japan not because it is better than what we have in japan. it is the mentality that because it is foreign and that it is from apple. because it is different from what we are accustomed to, we are interested in it and buy it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_branding
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 07:00 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by markredf150 View Post
I guess in Japan they don't like blackberries...haha
we don't like it because it's ugly.
wide, long, display wide open, with small buttons. what's to like? if it's e-mail, we've had push e-mail for two decades.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 07:27 PM   #22
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Anyway, the iPhone's success in Japan is a huge win for everyone, IMO.
Winning a week or a month is very far from being a real success.

You live in Japan so you know from personal experience the vast number of cell phone models being launched every few months. For all we know, selling 10000 units may be enough to be number 1 in Japan for a week.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 09:06 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by itou View Post
1. no we aren't equal. can your iphone read barcodes, watch streaming television, pay, have a 10MP camera, conduct solar charging, send emoticons, MMS, video chat, and be waterproof at the same time? if not, then we aren't equal.

2. the iphone is popular in japan not because it is better than what we have in japan. it is the mentality that because it is foreign and that it is from apple. because it is different from what we are accustomed to, we are interested in it and buy it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_branding
And I am sure that there are phones that also make real good toast and pay your taxes and brush your teeth, but that is not what makes it (I believe) a better phone than most of what I have seen in Japan - and I have seen a lot. it is the GUI. GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE. The OS. Not all the other bells and whistles (granted, a 10 Mp camera is definitely a plus). But there is a HUGE difference between a phone that can also open your beer bottle to one that is a joy to use and interact with. I can't tell you how many phones (including many while I was in Japan) that had god-awful GUIs. One took me almost 12 minutes to find out how to turn the volume down. 12 minutes! For the volume control! And that is saying a lot considering as a designer, GUI is my specialty. If it wasn't my friends phone, I would have tossed in under a car in a second. Others were just awful to look at.

Plus, I had seen phones that had apps that simply did not work or if they did, they did not work well.

Now don't get me wrong, there were lots and lots of really cool phones out there. But there is much more I believe to what is going on in Japan than the iPhone being a "foreign" item that makes it #1. Much more.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 09:07 PM   #24
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um, since the iPhone is made in China, it does not help US trade-deficit at all. All those sold iPhones increase Chinas exports, not USA's.
Absolutely. When you order from Japan apple store they ship directly from Taiwan. There will be no boost for the US economy on this one i fear.

"Now don't get me wrong, there were lots and lots of really cool phones out there. But there is much more I believe to what is going on in Japan than the iPhone being a "foreign" item that makes it #1. Much more."

I would disagree. The whole softbank marketing model is based on a foreign image. It is so because there is a profound level of admiration and desire for foreign that is socially ingrained in the social consciousness of Japan. Iphone is the new fad and when the two year contract are up and Docomo has mastered the art of making the iphone os "Japanese" it will be another story.

A GUI is much easier i believe to improve than it is to improve the hardware and technology that make the physical phone. Its just a matter of time now for docomo to get things together and provide something that will once again dominate the market. The iphone will not last for the fundamentals of their model. You cant have a walmart style cookie cutter one size fits all product succeed locally against another product that has been tailored to meet the specific needs of a market in Japan.

Last edited by RHDJapan; Aug 17, 2009 at 09:19 PM. Reason: responded to another post
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 09:13 PM   #25
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1. no we aren't equal. can your iphone read barcodes, watch streaming television, pay, have a 10MP camera, conduct solar charging, send emoticons, MMS, video chat, and be waterproof at the same time? if not, then we aren't equal.
The good thing about the iPhone reaching the top position is that it shows some of the consumers care about usability more than they care about useless features like emoticons.
While the iPhone may not have the features listed by itou, it does have other features that those phones don't have.
The difference is whether you place a higher priority on what the iPhone offers or what a typical Japanese phone offers.
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