Feature Frenzy in Japan

This interesting article lists the top features that the Japanese cell phone users want then they're upgrading. Highly interesting:

Q2: When upgrading your mobile phone, the existence of which features are important? (Sample size=1,000, multiple answer)

1. Memory card             29.4%
2. One Seg television      23.2%
3. Music playback          20.0%
4. Infra-red transmission  16.6%
5. FeLiCa, Osaifu Keitai, 
   electronic cash         14.0%

Notice how infrared beats Bluetooth hands down, and WLAN is not popular at all. GPS is bubbling strongly under at number seven, but what I find interesting is the popularity of smart card services and electronic cash. The Japanese market has been enjoying cell phones with embedded smart cards for a couple of years now, and you can already do a lot of things from paying a subway trip or at the local grocery store to reserving seats in a train... It's great to see that they've gained consumer acceptance so fast.

It's also interesting to see that mobile TV is a big hit. No wonder really, you need to keep yourself entertained on those long subway trips... Which also explains the memory card and the music playback. In fact, it's not a big surprise that the most wanted features are the ones which relate to the daily life, which, for many people, consists of work, home, and the trips between. Which, in Japan, can be very long and boring. Now if I could figure out why infrared is so popular... Synchronization? Backups?




Comments

Infrared? Why? Are they using it for those payments or something?

--erkka, 31-May-2007


As far as I know, no. ~FeliCa is the payment system (very similar to the Helsinki public transport card).

--JanneJalkanen, 31-May-2007


If infrared is considered easier to use and more secure than BT to send information to others? In BT you need to put BT on, find the other device from a list of devices (that can be potentially very long, if you are in a crowded place. Are there other kind of places in Japan?) and then the information will be sent. In IR, you do not need to find the other device. It is also easier to trust IR to be secure channel than BT. In BT you have to trust the technology to keep you safe from eavesdropping whereas in IR undetected eavesdropping is next to impossible.

--Nimril, 01-Jun-2007


Hi Janne:

I noticed your link referral (thanks), although suica only relates to the JR (Japan Rail) version of RFID.. try FeliCa: http://wirelesswatch.jp/index.php?tag=felica

Meanwhile, a couple of other quick comments..

While we see many data apps here (digital tv now of course too) it's interesting to note that while of course everyone can see everyone else using their phones on the train, actually the most popular usage location - by far - is at home!

As for your question about what people do with IR.. mostly it's P2P swapping of contact info. and photos.. 8-)

Cheers.

Lars

--Wireless Watch Japan, 01-Jun-2007


Yes, I remember hearing the same comments from elsewhere too: that mobile tv use is most common at home. Something about having a "private" tv instead of a "mobile" tv...

Thanks for the info!

--JanneJalkanen, 01-Jun-2007


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