Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
This week it's Japanese phone makers shuddering at the news of NTT Docomo finally agreeing to push Apple products, and guess what, among a laundry list of supertech geniuses, one of the iPhone’s senior engineers speaks Japanese and spent time as an exchange student in Japan.
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Welcome to Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
It’s already Friday west of the international dateline – here in Japan, it’s totally the future. The weekly JTFF is our somewhat Technosnarky coverage of 2-5 particularly important, specifically Japan-related tech stories. Get yourself hip to the micro & macro that went down while North America was sleeping – check in with Akihabara News every Friday morning and BOOM! Ahead of the game, you win.
:: JTFF – September 20, 2013 ::
• iPhone 5S/C as Harbinger of Doom (now that NTT Docomo’s on board)
It’s not well known around the world - it’s quite non-intuitive, actually - but Japan was really super late to the whole smartphone game. Sure, there were some very high-tech feature phones with mobile TV receivers, mobile payment, maybe some GPS, and various rudimentary web browsers (a format to which a number of Japanese websites still cling), and Japan was happy with that. But, though they didn’t know it yet, Japanese consumers longed for the sweet connectivity of the smartphone. So, when something big from Cupertino, CA arrived, consumers were wowed and Japanese makers, empty handed and shocked, were starkly embarrassed. See, a few token Blackberries aside, the iPhone 3GS was really the first smartphone in Japan that mattered, and by the time the 4 dropped, it was game over; smiling amongst the dominant carriers' head scratching, relative upstart Softbank quickly made the iPhone Japan's best-selling mobile telecommunications device among all phones, smart or... challenged. It took years for Japanese makers and non-Softbank retailers to catch on and beging desperately pushing models from Samsung, Toshiba, Panasonic, Sony, and a few others. Ladeling insult onto the injury, nearly all of the iPhone alternatives run some flavor of Google's Android. J-carrier au - KDDI eventually jumped onboard the iPhone boat, and now that NTT Docomo’s also offering up their dominant market share to the iPhone ecosystem, the hat trick is complete. The J-public wants iPhones, and for the time being, it doesn’t look good for Japanese makers.
[J-HANDSET MAKERS SERIOUSLY FRETTING - JAPAN TIMES]
• iPhone 5S Design Engineer Studied in Japan
Continuing the iPhone in Japan theme, the JTFF has learned that senior Apple engineer Daniel Jarvis, part of the team behind a whole lot of iPhone stuff and most recently the iPhone 5C’s fingerprint technology, is a Japanese speaker who spent time studying mechanical engineering and the Japanese language and culture at very well regarded Kyushu University, located in Fukuoka City, the hub of Japan’s 6th largest metropolitan area. Given the try-to-catch-up-and-flail performance of domestic smartphone makers, the JTFF has to wonder... How many of the Engineers behind Sony’s latest flagship Xperia smartphone spent any time studying languages and cultures abroad? Hey, Sony... any comment?!
[IPHONE 5 ROCKSTAR DESIGN TEAM - TELEGRAPH UK]
That was the JTFF, and live from the future – that is all.
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Tokyo at Night via PhotoEverywhere.