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iPhone most sought-out smartphone in Japan

updated 09:25 am EDT, Wed July 2, 2008

iPhone Sought in Japan

Japanese cellphone users are most eager to have the iPhone 3G over any other smartphone in or coming to the market, according to a new study by iShare. The research group says that 57.9 percent of all those responding to a survey said they most wanted the Apple device, which placed well ahead of others despite the study method allowing multiple answers. Second place belonged to the Japan-made Willcom D4 UMPC and phone crossover at 35.8 percent, while the more conventional Willcom 03 was third at 33.1 percent.

Other phones in the top six were from foreign companies and included Emobile's S11HT, known as the AT&T Tilt or HTC TyTN II; the HT1100 or HTC Touch DUAL; and the BlackBerry Bold, the first version of the smartphone capable of running in Japan.

In spite of the stated preference, most of the respondents say that dimensions are more important in their choice of phone than the interface, iShare says. Approximately 68.6 percent chose the weight of a given phone as their top motivating factor, with 38.1 percent picking an overall small size as a similar incentive and 37.2 percent the slimness of the device. Just 11.9 percent cited the touchscreen as a reason to buy a phone, according to results from the multiple-answer question.

The same group also downplays the cost of the phone itself as a factor. About 26.1 percent saw this as a concern while 60.7 percent were more concerned with obtaining a reasonable, flat-rate access fee for the network.

iShare's examination comes just weeks after a poll that suggested most Japanese were uninterested in the iPhone, though this was conducted just before the official announcement of the iPhone for Japanese carrier Softbank and before all of the phone's features and pricing were made public. A similar turnaround occurred with the iPod, which initially faced stiff resistance from Sony's Walkman MiniDisc players but eventually became the dominant media player in Japan.

While the news suggests a turnaround in Japanese perception of the iPhone, the poll is small at 713 respondents and was taken in a country has typically skewed towards advanced non-smartphones from native brands such as Fujitsu, Hitachi and Sharp. Most of these are smaller than the iPhone and have traditional number pads but still feature relatively large screens nearing three inches, and offer mobile TV in addition to music and offline video.

By Electronista Staff


  1. mgpalma

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2000



    And I thought no one in Japan wanted one ;-)

  1. tomodachi

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2002



    There was an article a few days ago that scientifically proved the 95% of Japanese didn't want an iPhone at all ;-)

    Point, of course, being that (1) often times these studies are pure BS, and/or even if both of them are accurate, (2) things can look totally different depending on how you look at it.

  1. yticolev

    Forum Regular

    Joined: May 2002



    The studies are not incompatible. There is a large difference between planning to buy something and expressing a preference. We might express a preference for a Lamborghini but few of us will actually buy one.

    But 5% of the Japanese population planning on buying an iPhone would be huge! That would represent over 6 million in sales in just Japan. Or 15 million in the US if that was also true here.

  1. Constable Odo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007


    Is this really true...?

    Most of the surveys I've read claim that hardly anyone in Japan wanted an iPhone since it doesn't have enough features or a real keyboard. I'd have a difficult time believing someone would give up a Willcom D4 for an iPhone due to Willcom's bigger screen and running WinXP or Vista. A Willcom is a MID device.
    I hope the Japanese do trade in all their current devices for iPhones, but it doesn't seem likely since they must have 1-Seg and MMS and purchase products using their smartphones. We'll see.

  1. Toyin

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Nov 2000



    And we know how accurate surveys were before the release of the iPhone in the US and Europe. Lack of a keyboard or MS hasn't stopped the iPhone from spreading in the US or in Europe.

    As of late, one thing is for sure. Everyone seems to underestimate Apple. Only time will tell how the iPhone will do in Japan.

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