iPhone 3GS Keeps No.1 In Japan On Its 2nd Week

This is a follow-up article on the news of iPhone sales in Japan.
BCN weekly ranking [J] is updated and now we are seeing a weekly ranking for June 29th to July 5th.

BCN Japan cellphone sales ranking 2009-07-07
BCN Japan cellphone sales ranking 2009-07-07

The newly introduced iPhone 3GS 32GB stays at the top position, whilst the 16GB loses No.2 position taken back by Sharp SH-06A.
Although over 100 types of new cellphones are sold in year in Japan, luckily for Apple/Softbank there were only two new other Softbank cellphones [J] released during the week, Sharp 935SH (ranked No.82) and Panasonic 931P (No.99). If they can keep this high rank more and more weeks, iPhone will be the real No.1 cellphone in Japan this year.
The next week, iPhone 3GS will face off against another smartphone, DoCoMo’s first Android phone HTC HT-03A [J] on July 10th, which I personally don’t think making huge success, again by not supporting Japanese standard functions.
This is DoCoMo’s “quick spec table” which shows customers what features the cellphone support. The red ones are supported.
DoCoMo Android HT-03A spec sheet
DoCoMo Android HT-03A spec sheet

You can compare it with DoCoMo’s other latest cellphones from this listing page [J]. All are in Japanese but click any cellphone images give you the same spec chart with a lot more red in each page.


  1. Hello Akki,
    I always see this criticism that foreign phone makers don’t “understand the Japanese market”, and so they’ll have always a hard time in Japan. But with the recent success of the iPhone everywhere, isn’t it possible that the Japanese services will start to be more open to non-Japanese phones? I’m not sure websites can afford not to support the iPhone, or the more open Android phones which are expected. And this trend can only continue when carriers are required to open up their networks next year.
    BTW, I’m currently using an unlocked HTC Magic with Softbank. It works quite well, but it’s no iPhone.

    1. > isn’t it possible that the Japanese services will start to be more open to non-Japanese phones?
      I don’t understand what “open” you mean. i-mode specification has been always open since its beginning, 1999, based on HTML. i-appli is Mobile Java. You may freely build mobile sites and applications on the internet. And any cellphone can support them. If you want to promote them on career’s menu page, you can ask and make a contract with DoCoMo and others, such like iPhone developers do with Apple. In iPhone case, you only have official place but for Japanese mobile sites, you can just publicize it on the internet.
      The problem is such old specification forced mobile websites to make some special treatments, and without them service providers cannot keep security and service level with full-fledged browser like Safari. As the user share of the imported smartphones are very little, web service providers do not have much incentive to support them. If I were in charge of foreign cellphone sales here, I would negotiate with 3-5 really major mobile websites and support their site modification by sending engineers “before” the new device launch.
      Cellphone wallet, One-seg TV and others are the same, too. No specification is hidden by anyone. Foreign vendors can purchase their parts and assemble them, but those foreign vendors just do not want to make customization for such a (comparatively) small market, when they can sell single hardware to the world market. You don’t like if iPhone price increases around the world because by its supporting e-wallet which only works in Japan, do you?
      I think both Japanese vendors and consumers are gradually heading to the dead end. Someday, Japanese people will need to switch into foreign cellphones and foreign-friendly web services, and when it happens it really happens on most customers. In the long run, the volume of the business will lead the world-level players (happens to be American for now) win against the local players. Similar things happened when everyone switched from Japanese originals to IBM-PC/MS-DOS/Windows, Word/Excel, Yahoo/Google. I don’t know if that successful cellphone is iPhone or something else.

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