[Merged] iPhone "Flops" in Japan, Carriers Provide Free Phones With Activation

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by SatanLover, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. SatanLover macrumors member

    Nov 28, 2008
    This is an article from FOXNews.com from today:


    "Apple's iPhone is a hit everywhere in the world — except for Japan.

    It turns out that Apple's video-playing, music-downloading, motion-sensing handset is just too, well, backward for the Japanese market.

    In fact, the iPhone is such a flop in the Land of the Rising Sun that it's being given away free with a 2-year contract, Wired News reports.

    Adding insult to injury is the fact that carrier charges are a lot cheaper in Japan than they are in the U.S., and Apple hasn't learned to compete.

    Few Japanese want to pay $60 per month to use a phone that can't shoot video, receive TV signals or text-message photos.

    "The pricing has been completely out of whack with market reality," one expert on the Japanese cell-phone market tells Wired News. "I think they [Apple and its partners overseas] are in the process of adjusting to local conditions."
  2. =MuLti-CeLL= macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2009
    I assume this "expert" is referring to the pricing rather than any hardware upgrades.
  3. ballnluv23 macrumors newbie

    Dec 29, 2007
    continued (with video)

    Actually, I believe that FOX story was a follow up to this one found on WIRED.com:


    In the article, they mention one of the top phones in Japan. Although not as "pretty" or sleak as the iphone, there is no comparison when it comes to features and hardware. It has a 3.5" TV, motion sensors, 3G, GPS, and a 5.1 megapixel camera, with of course STANDARD options like multimedia messaging, which the iphone lacks.

    Check it out here:

  4. northy014 macrumors regular

    Aug 26, 2008
    The Japanese like getting new gadgets as soon as they come out, and changing when the next big thing is released. The iPhone is updated much less frequently and has far fewer features than their phones...and is more expensive. Why get it then?
  5. cwwilson macrumors 65816


    Jan 27, 2009
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Does this surprise anyone? I mean Japan is real high tech and the iPhone is a joke compared to the phones they have there for the same price (if not cheaper). The mere fact the iPhone lacks carrier supported MMS and fancy hardware features like TV, 5MP video cam and other stuff is probably laughable to them.

    But i'm not in Japan so I'll continue to love my iPhone.
  6. sysiphus macrumors 6502a


    May 7, 2006
    Not really a shocker. The features are nothing special (at best) by Japanese standards, and it's not really designed around Japanese usage--no 1Seg, a mid-spec screen (by JP standards), very limited software feature set, and an appalling camera (again, remember that 5+Mpixel is common there, not to mention autofocus, decent lenses, and - even optical zooms- are widely available. Oh, and in a country where text/email is far cheaper than voice calls, no big shocker that a "virtual keyboard" isn't a big selling point.
  7. Aurial macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2008
    Bit like the Nokia N96 then? ;)
  8. Stratus Fear macrumors 6502a

    Jan 21, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    In Japan, they call this "e-mail." The iPhone has that. Japanese do not use the MMS standard. The difference between the iPhone and the e-mail on carrier-provided phones in Japan, though, is that the latter type's e-mail is push. You need MobileMe for that on an iPhone.

    Last time I was in Japan, high megapixel camera phones that put out anything better than the kind of grainy crap you see from an iPhone was pretty much non-existent. Has that changed? I wouldn't imagine so; you can't get a decent lens in a cell phone without the phone being the size of a brick.
  9. NT1440 macrumors G4


    May 18, 2008
    Is this a surprise? Japan is and pretty much has always been leaps and bounds ahead of us when it comes to electronics.
  10. Hutch1 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2008
    Guelph, ON
    Hello Kitty:p
  11. Auzburner macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2008
    Syracuse, NY - USA
    Well, it's good for us because we may see some of those changes needed to compete in Japan on our iPhones outside of Japan.
  12. Masquerade macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2007
    well, Portugal isn't advanced as japan and we had 3g phones since 2004, for 99euros without contract.

    in fact i remember to watch mobile tv for 1 euro /day had one of these:

    ah, and have mms, cam, etc... it cost me about 100euros, on the summer of 2005 without contact.
  13. yoyo5280 macrumors 68000


    Feb 24, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia & Bay Area
    Well actually, I would say its been a hit in Japan

    Besides having a bad camera, the iPhone pretty much does everything else Japanese phones do now. Except felica. :(
  14. cjm3113 macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2008
    Japanese technology is extremely overrated. Especially amongst the average consumer. There are tons of students from Japan at my campus and they almost all use iPhones, wish they had an iPhone because they think they aer so fantastic.
  15. Theaser macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2008
    They aren't living in Japan, are they?

    Mobile TV is everything, MMS is everything, a good camera is everything to the Japanese. Their products are constantly upgraded and revolutionized, while we sit here waiting for products that came out a year ago or Apple trying to make another leapfrog product. We should be researching, developing better stuff for our cell phones. Almost every tech product company is based in Japan. Whenever they come out with a product, we go wow! Whenever we come out with a product, a bunch of hos and hums go out in Japan. Example, iPhone, Xbox 360. If you are to compete in the Japanese Market, you must go above and beyond and constantly try to make things better. That is why the Japanese workforce actually has such long working hours and stress is upon you when you are working there.
  16. Nemesis90 macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2004
    The cultural aspect

    I seem to recall reading (though I can't find the article now) that there is a cultural bias in Japan towards a more complex/configurable/"powerful" UI as opposed to a US bias towards simplicity. I believe it was specifically referencing consumer electronics, but I think it can easily extend to phones.
  17. yoyo5280 macrumors 68000


    Feb 24, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia & Bay Area
    MMS is NOT a problem I believe, because in Japan you use your phone number for SMS to people who are on your carrier, everybody else you use a mobile phone email address which iPhone supports.
  18. cjm3113 macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2008
    That has absolutely nothing to do with it. The average person is not blessed with amazing technology. Very few people in Japan (according to the students I have talked to) are able to have/use the gadgets that we believe them all to be using.
  19. yoyo5280 macrumors 68000


    Feb 24, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia & Bay Area
    True, but Japanese phones are something that everybody has and they are WAAAY more powerful than any other phone in the world.
  20. Theaser macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2008
    I don't think you should say that if you have never been to Tokyo.
  21. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    Ignoring the iPhone there, the Xbox 360 isn't doing to bad. Admittly MS focused a lot on Western game, but last week it bet Wii and PS3 sales(due to a new game...it won't last, but I'm saying the game market is more based on games then the consoles themselves)
  22. davyreins macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2008
    Ann Arbor
    This doesn't surprise me. I visited a few cities in Japan over the summer for a couple of weeks and having streaming TV on their cell phones is surprisingly popular (among the young crowd), as well as MMS.
  23. Theaser macrumors 6502


    Dec 30, 2008
    The Xbox 360 IS doing well, but just not in Japan.

    Microsoft was so desperate they had a complete makeover of the Xbox 360 OS to make it look like a Wii. It was horrible and I despise my Xbox 360's operating system.
  24. sergiuria macrumors 6502a


    Oct 21, 2008
    Near a bunch of T-Rex
    So do I :(
  25. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    This is a common phone in the corporate world. Of the managers that I know, that have this model, most just use the phone and maybe a feature or two.

    Of the ones that purchased this phone on a personal basis, pretty much the same holds true but they use a few more features.

    Over the years, being here in Japan, I've found the cell phone advancements fascinating compared to the rest of the world. On the other hand, I've also found out that many use the cool features for 1-2 months and then go back to the basics.

    Don't fool yourself on this particular phone. It looks cool. But in use it leaves a lot to be desired. The menu system is very clunky. That is true with many cell phones here. The phone itself is flimsy with the dual hinge. They break easily and are not very durable. The battery life is short. For example, when using the TV function it around about 30-45 minutes according to my friends.

    From what I've seen, many Japanese change cell phones about as often as they change underwear. :D

    Seriously, the Japanese rarely hold onto a cell phone for more than 6 months to a year. It's a fashion statement. Plus they like the latest and greatest.

    Of the friends who have purchased an iPhone, they love it. It works well for them. Sure they miss some features but overall they like how easy the iPhone is to use.

    I would say this is spot on.

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