Importance of emoji for iPhone's success in Japan

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by kaician, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. kaician macrumors member


    Mar 8, 2008
    I would just like to give ancedotal eveidnce as to why emoji is such a big priority for apple and the iphone's success.

    I made a new friend that I didn't know very well and was communicating with them by mail. They sent me a message one time late at night which ended with "goodnight." I sent a one word "goodnight" reply, which due to it being the iphone had no emoji.

    This prompted a swift apology from my friend and a couple mails back and forth smoothing everything out letting them know that i wasn't mad and that it really was to mean just "goodnight"...

    Thing is, however you slice it, Japanese culture pushes to look past just what is written/said in communication, and emoji puts a face to words, like we do on this forum :D

    I think more than a few people would be pissed if the forum were to take away the smilies, don't you? :mad:

    Japan has push email for near EVERY phone over here, and if it doesn't have it, it's a big bag of fail. That's why there's no complaining about sms or mms here. It's just a big push email fest, so no one cares otherwise.

    Every phone registers the emoji, even windows mobile phones for softbank due to them making a font for their phones.

    Even google knows what's up and since about a year ago has been able to see emoji sent from cell phones on a computer. And just recently (about a week or so ago) the ability to send them from computers as well has been added. Not sure if it's on language settings other than Japanese, but it should be...

    This is business. If an entire nation says they're not gonna use your device ONLY because they can't put smilies in their mails, what company in their right mind would pass that easy to change oversight up?

    And for those people thinking it won't directly affect you, you're the same people who say you don't need push email because you have mms...

    When you have free, ubiquitus push email, your mindset changes... No message limit because it's all data plan (which is unlimited from the start anyway), and not only can you send full html messages to any phone, but to any computer mail address as well, any where in the world, for the same price as sending a message to your friend sitting next to you. mms's pics, movies, sounds, etc... same deal. Think voip for mms and it's probably a good image. Trust me, once you get it, you'll use it, like it, and wonder how you ever got along without it. :apple:
  2. deimos256 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 9, 2008
  3. kas23 macrumors 603


    Oct 28, 2007
    Emoji aside, what if the reason for poor sales is that the phones in the Japanese market are just vastly superior to the iPhone? As you said yourself, if it doesn't have push, its a big bag of fail.
  4. kaician thread starter macrumors member


    Mar 8, 2008
    good point

    I also find it slightly interesting that the two main reasons for the iphone's unpopularity in Japan are both mail centric. The fact that there is no push mail and the fact that there is no emoji.
    The fact that the phones in Japan have a lot of hardware that goes above phones found most anywhere else is true. I'm sorta a phone fiend, and now don't even blink when seeing wvga resolution phones or oled display phones. Thing is, resolution aside, you don't use most things on the phone on a daily basis, if at all.

    I'm a tech fiend, and even as such, the two main things I use my iphone for are mail and music. everything else i need to be able to do, but almost nobody around me actually uses their phones to their full capabilities.

    AU phones come with an itunes type program across their entire line. It's not very hard to use, so people do. But setting up your phone to use the credit services, and then keeping tabs on it is just a hassle if you don't depend on it daily, and not worth the effort (was on my last two phones)

    There is a phone over here called the sh906i from docomo. It is, essentially, a phone that is hardware-wise similar, if not superior to the iphone. Capacitive touch screen, satellite tv, credit card chip, touch sensitive keypad (for movement, jogdial), revolving screen, etc... the list goes on.

    Thing is, the phone feels like just like any other phone out there. The software is HORRIBLE in terms of using any of the features besides the phone and mail. The tv is unresponsive, the photo app is the same, everything feels as though it's going through a 1-2 second time lag from any input. There's no database for the photo application so it rereads all the pics you have to display, every time you access it. Makes for a VERY slow experience... Don't even ask about loading music and movies...

    It's like having a big delicious steak in front of you to eat with no utensils. Sure you can just grab and bite it, but do you really want to...

    Japan is a very important market to Apple, and they know this. Which is why they are fixing the two problems the Japanese are most vocal about (push and emoji) The push side of things for most mail accounts when the push API comes out. But even now, nobody said that there was no instant notification of new mails. Softbank rigged a system to notify for new mails if you're using your softbank phone mail account, and someone wrote some jailbreak software to make it work almost like push.

    With emoji and push, you won't be able to stop the Japanese from buying an iphone.

    (btw, yahoo-mail push works over here too. the only problem is that one of the main three cell companies didn't promote unicode for their phones, so mails from yahoo experience character corruption. gmail is fine, but no push... the holy grail is push gmail... c'mon push api...)
  5. kaician thread starter macrumors member


    Mar 8, 2008
    one more thing....

    The app store is something that blows other phones out of the water.
    Trains over here are one of the most reliable forms of transportation. Timely and reliable, if you live over here you WILL use them in time.
    There is an app on the appstore which lets you search for train schedules, fares, transfers, and almost anything trainwise for nearly all the train systems that exist, in typical beautiful iphone style.
    My friend needed train schedule info, and using that app, I was able to get it faster than he could on the computer, easily. Think he didn't want an iphone after that?

    That's not even touching on the other handy apps, and games you can get on the iphone.
    Most phones over here allow you to add software, but most of them are very basic java programs, and any of the good ones. like some of the games, make you pay a subscription to use them.
    Tell me truthfully, would you pay $3 a month just to play sonic on your cell? and another $3 a month for final fantasy 6? It adds up quickly.
  6. ob81 macrumors 65816


    Jun 11, 2007
    Virginia Beach
    That emoji crap won't do as much for the iPhone over there as people think. The iPhone is too freaking expensive. After my first phone over there, I got every single phone for free. ALL NEW and the latest tech. This is the same for most cell phone users there. Japanese people absolutely adore the freaking iPhone, especially after they have played with one in person.

    It simply is that in Japan, Apple stuff is still thought to be for "rich" people, as they figure you have to be to drop your habit of getting free quality phones to pay for an iPhone.
  7. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    But the iPhone DOES support push e-mail.

    Most people in the U.S. don't have it because their mail providers don't support it. But if someone in Japan has push e-mail on another phone then it should work on the iPhone just as well.
  8. kaician thread starter macrumors member


    Mar 8, 2008
    free amazing phones...

    One myth that needs to be dispelled is the myth that Japan is the land of free amazing high tech phones.

    Japan's phones used to be free, but the cost of month to month service was so high, especially the price of minutes, that people started using mail as an alternative to talking, because it was cheaper than talking by a long shot.

    These "free phones" were actually super expensive pieces of equipment that were subsidised by the cell companies. But the world is connected now, and an outcry came out over the high cost of services compared to other countries.

    You can't have your cake and eat it too, so it's either low cost phones and high cost service, or high cost phones and low cost service. The pendulum over here is swinging towards high cost phones and low cost service.

    I believe every single carrier over here now (three main and all subs) now sell their phones by way of monthly payment, and subsidy. You either buy the phone up front and get the subsidy monthly with lower fees, pay for the phone over two years and get the subsidy monthly with the normal high fees, or just pay for the phone upfront and get dirt-cheap service (an option that nearly nobody uses)

    People still haven't wrapped their heads around the fact that their all in one super credit card, touch screen, 5 megapixel ccd, wvga monster of a phone is a crazy expensive piece of equipment, and now the carriers are having a hard time driving that point home while lowering monthly phone costs. One thing to think about is that most people here don't bat an eye at phone bills that amount to $50-$60 a month, before extra minutes...

    The phone i mentioned earlier (sh906i wvga monster) is $200, i repeat, $200 more expensive then the iphone over here. People think the iphone is expensive, and spread it like a rumor. But when you actually look at the price comparisons of the phones over here, the iphone actually costs the same as your average run of the mill phone. That's because the hardware is actually the same as you average run of the mill phone here (which is still above the phones in the US or elsewhere. As an aside, the phone before my last one, two years ago, was a vga one with 3.2mp ccd 3x optical zoom camera)

    The iphone is an amazing piece of engineering, and once they take care of the things the average person looks to as important, they can start to trumpet the actual advanced features and gain more traction.
  9. daisuke07 macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2008
    When we get emoji for the iPhone, will we have to keep switching to the Japanese language to send them? Can people's cell phones even read them if they do not have an iPhone? I would hate to see that website.

    The iPhone 3G in Japan could still do bad because they use their cell phones as debit cards, do bank stuff, get on the train, 2d barcodes to get pictures or songs and ringtones, etc..
  10. kaician thread starter macrumors member


    Mar 8, 2008
    the possibility of having to switch to japanese to input them is high. Even the team that coded the smilies/emoji for gmail was apparently the google Japan team...

    There's an app store app to read the qr codes (square barcodes), but the IC chip (credit card) thing has no reponse.

    Though not all phones have IC chips over here either. Around roughly 40-50%, and of that percentage, the number of people who actually know what the mark means, much less how to use the function is much lower. I can honestly say that I don't know one person who actively uses (or even registered) their IC chip. I heard the story is different with trains in Tokyo with Suica, but not so much elsewhere...

    As far as I know, the credit services are generally ones that you have to fill up somewhere like a convenince store or something, and the only real places where you can use them is at said convenince stores or train stations. Japan is still a cash society. You can pay for an equivalent $1 item with a $100 bill and no one blinks an eye. It's normal to pay up to maybe $1000-$1500 dollars cash for something. I am still amazed that there are huge supermarket chains that don't accept credit cards (besides their own brand) let alone allow for phone IC chip payments.

    There is only one service that allows you to link your bank account to your IC chip, but even that is just for one service provider (docomo) and only with one bank.

    What it boils down to is a feature that's on a lot of phones, but outside of Tokyo, no infrastructure to support said feature. Which is why most people can't really figure out the point anyway... It's good that the IC chip installation base is going up, but it can't really be touted as a feature till infrastructure catches up... :(
  11. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    The iPhone could also use.

    An IR port to send contacts to other cellphones in Japan.

    A loop to attach charms to.

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