Sunday, September 7, 2008

When Will We See Japanese Features on American Mobile Phones?

iPhone has a place in the hearts and minds of our Japanese mobile warriors.  But perhaps, not quite yet despite the initial rush of folks waiting to get their hands on Apple's 3G offering.

Why is that?  According to Daily Tech, Softbank and Apple will likely fall short of their goals of selling 350K units by the end of the year.  This is due to traditionally available features on mobile devices that the iPhone is missing.
  • Unable to use pictograms in texting.  Due to the high cost of actually talking on a phone, texting has become a more economical mean of substitute to convey oneself.
  • Unable to use Felica technology that would have let the iPhone double as a wallet.
  • Plans - Softbank has already adjusted their plans in an attempt to attract more users.
  • Unable to watch television on the iPhone.
However, this comes as Softbank's competitors acknowledged the iPhone effect in their earning reports.   What we'll likely see over time will be more of these missing features appear on the iPhone.  When will that be?

Based on Apple's past behavior, they'll weigh feasibility with one aspect of technology that has plague the iPhone since the iPhone 3G came out:  battery life.  With the iPhone barely holding its charge through a day's use, imagine watching a few hours of television while the average Japanese spend waiting and and riding subways.  

We'll likely see pictograms fairly soon.  However, I'm a little hesitant on Felica or any other implementation to allow the iPhone double as a wallet.

But make no mistake, mobile convergence is the only route available to device makers and Apple knows this.  It's a matter of putting the Apple touch on these features and future devices than rushing unpolished features to the market.

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