While the rest of the world goes weak at the knees for smartphones and netbooks, Japan appears content with the functionality of regular mobile phones to be getting on with. A recent online survey by Japan's goo search engine* concludes that 49 per cent of respondents say "mobile phones are enough" when asked what kind of mobile …
I have a smartphone and a Nokia 1100 (about as unsmart as it gets). After using the smartphone for a few months I'm going back to the Nokia.
Why? Well all the stuff I really want to do with a phone - receive or make a call - is way easier on the dumbphone. I very rarely have any desire to do web browsing etc on a phone. and it is easier to just do these on a computer.
If phones were smart they wouldn't be sitting in our pockets...
What's so dumb about Japanese phones?
One big difference to the "dumb"phones anywhere else seems to be that in Japan, devices have been optimized for mobile mailing from the start.
Blackberry? Sneered at. Smartphones? Nobody gets the point.
A whole generation of Japanese have learned to type blazingly fast on mobile phone keyboards and many people do not even have other email addresses than the one tied to their mobile phones.
While everybody has been ridiculing or roundly ignoring WAP, the Japanese providers have quietly build their own solutions which cater to every (carnal) demand of their users whilst allowing them to roam the Internet freely as well.
Japanese phones have been loaded with an astomishing number of features over the time, none of which seems to have made it off the island however. Examples include mobile digital TV, radio, wireless payment and lately apparently even car key functionality (Nissan smart key).
Summing up, it's always been another world over here. Plus, there's the Japanese tendency to incrementaly improve and tune an existing system until there is positively NO way to get more performance/functions/money out of it.
So...the question is, whats so smart about *smart*phones.
I'm with Charles Manning.
The wife keeps trying out so-called smart phones (free, for the most part, except the iPhone), but I have stuck with my nearly 10 year old Nokia 5185 (same battery, even!). She eventually gets tired of the glitter and gets her 5185 reactivated.
These phones work where others despair ... For example, Sonoma Valley is notorious for it's "dead zones". Our old Nokias work in them ... which, when you think about it, is pretty much all a phone is supposed to do ... make and receive phone calls. All y'all can keep the glitter. I'd rather be able to make or receive a call.
Are indeed a step ahead of the rest of the world.
One good example is that every Japanese phone has an address book that will store a picture of your contact. I have been looking for an PC address book that could do that but have not found anything yet except the Mac exclusive picture book.
What is the definition of a smart phone anyway ? A phone you can use for browsing ? Editing documents ?
A few days ago El Reg ran a piece about how the iPhone was doing surprisingly well in Japan, given that they don't usually take to the kind of phones that do well elsewhere. But now we're told the Japanese don't like smartphones?
And this article points out that Japan has a great mobile network and internet access on phones is seen as standard? What on Earth are they using to access this?
None of the pieces seem to fit together...
This doesn't surprise me..
Having worked with the Japanese in a Japanese company for a few years I found that most of them were tech' luddites with very few of them even having a mobile (and this was the semiconductor industry as well!). And I can't say I blame them. Making phone calls is so much easier on a dumb phone...smartphone manufacturers have forgotten that the primary function of a phone is to make calls.
.most people use a mobile phone to ...drum roll....make phone calls and text. well blow me over....
Can't see the point of 90% of the other shite on there. Oh great I get to watch eastenders on a 3" screen...may as well kill myself now.
Oh look I picked up that oh so urgent email about what I will be doing in three weeks time and need to reply within 6 days, better get to it.
Some need the smart phones, most of us don't.
While I too have a smartphone for the UK but while I am working abroad I have a disgracefully old standard mobile which gets a local SIM inserted. Oddly enough, the whole point of a phone is to make and receive calls and the old one can do that for days at a time before it needs charging up whereas the smartphone tends to need topping up daily if used otherwise every other day. No contest really..
Another vote for dumbphones
My phone makes and receives calls; sends and receives texts and doesn't put stretch my pockets too much (in both senses). That's all I want. Generally people don't /need/ mobile internet, they just use it because it's there. I'm happy to have a break from the fecking thing!
The "smartphones" over here are more than a little out of date when compared to what the Japanese would call a normal mobile phone. Its like trrying to compare Nintendo WII to a NES.
The service provided over there is total bitching and practically like something out of a sci fi book. Kinda wish our service providers would pull their fingers out and catch up to the technology.
I wanted to get the most basic phone available whilst living in Japan, and it had a million bells and whistles. I could have spent a bit more and got one with a respectibe camcorder in it, with TV, any number of things.
No doubt an old phone for them has wifi, bluetooth, toaster, tv, camcorder, and a nice browser.
Cheap phones, good phone
I got the cheap nokia i could find and its great. cost about £20(so if i lose it no biggy) , battery lasts for about a week when fully charged and has the best extra function i have ever had in a phone, a led light which I was surprised how often i use , especially when digging around the innerds of a PC. I love it.
Bound to happen
They're quite ahead of us when it comes to tech stuff, so it's no surprise they've gorged themselves already.
What's new anyway at the moment? Sure, there was a bit of a kerfuffle about Apple's touchy interface, but that's about the only 'innovation' I can think of for quite some time. (Doubtless many Reg readers could put me straight there)
If I get another smartphone gadgety thing, it's gonna have to have a folding screen. The last phone I bought was the HTC Athena because of its 5" screen and qwerty keyboard, but it still isn't quite a realistic option for remote support.
A netbook is too big to use as a phone, so what's required is, an Asus Shell-like folding screen/keyboard netbook with a wirelessly connected, encrypted, permanently paired dockable LTE micro-handset (ala Modu Mobile) for dialing and making calls, then, I can do whatever work or play thing I need to do from anywhere, comfortably.
Could this be because...
...in Japanese cities, everything around you is probably a computer of some kind, so smartphones aren't necessary? I mean, why carry an expensive gadget around with you when you can probably get an answer out of the wall you're leaning on.
Not surprised. Their typical mobile phones has more functions and is easier to use than Windows Mobile or iPhone.
The whole point of carrying a smartphone, for me at least, is to as completely as possible avoid having to make and receive calls. I much prefer the self-documenting nature of email and use the ssh client with the tiny-tiny screen to fix problems myself instead of trying to talk some idiot through the steps of killing the last shards of the samba server and restarting it. Dont' call and invite me for a pint. Send me a meeting notice instead, along with everyone else, so I can see who's going, where and when it will be and propose changes back to the whole group.
@Peter H. Coffin
Don't worry... I wont be calling you or sending you an invite...
@Peter H. Coffin
"Dont' call and invite me for a pint. Send me a meeting notice instead, along with everyone else, so I can see who's going, where and when it will be and propose changes back to the whole group."
In the trade, this is known as "tragically hip".
Pick up the fscking phone, dial your friends, allow as to how "I'll be down the Milepost at 5:30, care to join me?" and be done with it. Or just go to your local ... surely you have friends there?