I know I shouldn’t be surprised. I know I shouldn’t. And I get it, I really do. Feature phones (flip phones) back in the what? the 90’s in Japan had mind-blowing technology. I remember being in awe every time I visited Japan from the states. I couldn’t believe what flip phones could do. How beautiful the large screens were. How colorful everything seemed. Even ringtones, were better on Japanese phones.
Japan always felt like I time warped into the future.
Fast forward to 2007 when Apple introduced the iPhone and the
world USA* adopted to smart phones. While Sony and NTT Docomo and Sharp and Panasonic and the rest of the Japanese portable electronic giants looked the other way, iPhones now have the largest market share in Japan.
But still. The rate of smart phone market penetration is just insane. I look at the numbers and can’t help but be awestruck by how behind Japan is…
I mean… really????????? (chart via here)
And I look at most recent figures of people who purchased a smartphone from April to September of 2013. 82%. Of those, 68.5% of people switched from a feature phone (flip phone) to a smart phone. (chart via here)
I have no words…
But the good news is, because Japan is slower to adopt to smart phones than other developed nations, there is massive room for disruption. The Japanese are just now getting accustomed to visually appeasing, gesture friendly user experiences, so think of all the possibilities.
You know? I am so so so glad to be here right now.
This is one of the most exciting times to be in Japan.
*edited — Karl, you are correct indeed :)