Charles, a jkOTR reader, shot a me a link to this MSNBC article that’s well worth sharing. Brad Stone spent the summer in Japan where he used a Vodafone 905SH phone; don’t be surprised if you don’t recognize the model as it’s made by Sharp. Of course, hearing "Sharp" makes me think of calculators and small word processors of the past, but actually, they’re a very competent wireless manufacturer as evidenced by Brad’s insights. Some highlights for Japan’s wireless consumer:
- 50% of the consumers have 3G connectivity
- Phones like the 905SH can receive several digital (not analog) television channels
- Several hours of digital television over a phone can be recorded on the phone for later playback
- 90% of all music downloads are done on the phone, not something we know as "the iPod"
- Phones can easily be used as electronic wallets and GPS devices
Why are we "behind"? Culture is surely a part, as are the U.S. wireless carriers themselves. Consumers here tend to be multi-device users; yes there’s likely a phone in their pocket, but there’s also a laptop or desktop involved in daily computing. Hopefully, if we’re truly 1.5 years behind, we can expect a big wireless bang in 2008 when we "catch up!" ;) Thanks for the tip, Charles; this article was a great read.