It's no secret that Japan has better mobile phones than the rest of the world. The country has also had access to better phone-based Internet services since the launch of NTT DoCoMo's i-mode service all the way back in 1998.
Recent data from japan.internet.com (translated by whatjapanthinks.com) suggests that Japan's mobile phones offer users enough functionality that 49 percent of the respondents to a recent survey say a "mobile phone is enough" when asked what kind of mobile device they would most like to carry.
- Mobile phone is enough 49.2 percent
- Smartphone 22 percent
- Netbook 16.3 percent
- Notebook computer 8.9 percent
- MID/UMPC 0.3 percent
- Other 0.3 percent
- Don't want to carry anything 3 percent
In addition to the wealth of services and games, with the character-based typing you really don't need an iPhone or other smartphone unless you need to access corporate e-mail. While this can also be delivered directly to mobile phones, in my experience most companies don't allow access unless it's through a VPN.
So, let's assume that everyone has a phone. When asked "what mobile devices other than a standard mobile phone do you usually carry with you?" the responses are what I would consider aligned culturally with the way Japanese consumers commute as well as the fact that most access the Internet directly on their phones.
- Nintendo DS 44.3 percent
- No mobile devices 39.3 percent
- Notebook computer 19.7 percent
- Sony PSP 16 percent
- Netbook 4.7 percent
- Smartphone 3.4 percent
There is an interesting play in Nintendo's future as the dominance of the DS brings in a new realm of converged game phones that can't be too far off as game companies realize that the mobile Internet is the final frontier of completely obsessive game play.
And while I don't expect to see such magical devices in the U.S. anytime soon, I suspect that there is a market for such a thing in Japan.
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