updated 03:50 pm EDT, Tue July 20, 2010
NTT DoCoMo chief expects Android ubiquity to win
NTT DoCoMo president Ryuji Yamada in an interview today tried to downplay the effect of the iPhone in Japan [reg. required]. He believes that Android is starting to "catch up" with Apple and that it was likely Google would eventually get the upper hand. As Android isn't tied to one company, it's likely to get larger before long, the executive thought.
"When you have more people working on it, you are more likely to have better ideas," Yamada said in speaking to the WSJ. "Some new functions that are absent in Apple's operating system will emerge from the Android side. Historically that has always been the case."
The carrier has been one of the most conservative with phones and has one both the oldest phone users on average as well as one of the smallest mixes of smartphones. It recently had modest success with the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 but has been lagging well behind SoftBank, whose iPhone exclusive has routinely given it faster growth and a younger audience. Yamada did reveal that NTT DoCoMo would have the Galaxy S by the winter, albeit only months after the phone is available in Europe and North America.
An i-mode app store is also part of the plans.
The Japanese market has traditionally been closed to outside phones as they rarely if ever get features that are specific to the country, such as 1Seg mobile TV and FeliCa wireless payments. Apple is believed to have cracked the market by providing a much more intuitive interface than usually difficult Japanese phones but still providing much more powerful Internet and app support.