updated 08:45 am EST, Fri March 9, 2012
Apple gets absolute lead in Japan phones
Apple now has the top-selling cellphone of any kind in Japan, IDC Japan determined late Thursday. The iPhone 4S launch helped Apple claim 26.6 percent of all cellphone shipments in the country this fall. It may have been the first non-Japanese company to top local ranks, ending a longstanding emphasis on local makers.
The Fujitsu-Toshiba alliance was next closest at 18.3 percent courtesy of its Arrows smartphones, while Sharp (15.7 percent), Kyocera (9.8), and Panasonic (8.8) were next. Year-long, the spike was enough to give Apple 14.2 percent of the country's cellphone sales. Sharp (20.1 percent) and Fujitsu-Toshiba (18.8 percent) were still larger, but it did see Apple eclipse Panasonic (10 percent) and Kyocera (9.7 percent).
For Apple, it represented a turnaround after a year of inroads by Android. Adding KDDI, Japan's second-largest carrier, may have been key both by widening the addressable base but also by eliminating a 'safe' area for Android similar to how Sprint and Verizon access improved American share.
The Japanese market is well-known for a hesitance to embrace outsiders, partly out of a preference for country-specific features like 1Seg TV tuning and FeliCa NFC payments. Apple's success in sales without having any of these features might indicate a turning point where the OS and overall experience outweigh feature checklists. [via Mainichi Daily News]
Full 2011 market share