Lost In Translation: Japanese Market Not Sold On iPhone Cool Factor

In Japan, like elsewhere, gadget fans lined up to be some of the first to buy the new iPhone last week. However, after the initial rush, it appears that consumers there aren’t completely sold on the device, AP reports. The biggest reason is because the Japanese market is very unique. Phones have their own icons for email and other services; they have infrared capabilities to beam contact info to each other, and they have digital TV broadcast receivers; and other common functionalities, like recording video. Even the highly praised form factor of the iPhone doesn’t fit the culture there — there’s no loop for hanging trinkets and most Japanese are accustomed to using only one thumb, not two. As one person in the story says: “I don’t want my friends to think I’m this uncool.” Still, the iPhone presents a much more open world than what the Japanese are used to — most don’t access true Internet sites, especially for things like YouTube. It’s unclear how many devices have sold there, but Softbank, which is selling the iPhone in Japan, said it sold out on the first day.

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