Yukari Kane of the WSJ pops the bubble of the iPhone in Japan.
According to market-research firm MM Research Institute, Apple sold about 200,000 phones in Japan in the first two months. Since then, however, demand has been falling steadily, and analysts now widely believe sales are unlikely to reach a total of 500,000 units. That is half the one million units that they previously thought Apple could sell.
“Japanese users don’t know what to do with an iPhone,” he said. “Sales could grow if Apple provides specific examples of how it can be used.”
It’s interesting to think that Japanese users don’t know what to do with an iPhone. I suspect that is true because Japanese users are accustomed to being inside the walled garden of their carrier, so to have the full Internet is not appreciated or understood. Japanese mobile phones have browsers but they’re basically only used for the walled garden of the carrier. I have the option of using a “full-browser” on my phone, but it would cost me 1500 yen/mo. or 18000 yen/yr. which I am certainly not willing to pay.
I believe that Roy Amara‘s quote is appropriate here: “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” I think that the effect of the iPhone on the global mobile market in the long run, specifically providing a real browser on a mobile phone (note that full-browsers are coming on Android as well as Mobile Firefox), will be the most important legacy of the iPhone.