What does “No.1 smartphone” mean in Japan?
In Japan, “smartphone” is a cellphone category which does not support common Japanese cellphone features, especially accessibility to three major carriers’ official websites networks. Many phones from Willcom (No.4 carrier, though they have their own official network) are the typical smartphone before iPhone.
It’s not about a screen resolution, as recent Japanese cellphones have 800×480 pixels.
Roughly speaking, you may say “No.1 smartphone” is “No.1 foreign-OS-based cellphone”, Gizmodo.
So how much is the “smartphone” share among all cellphones?
Your favorite research company BCN told that the smartphone share jumped this year from 2.2% (Jan. 2009) to 12.5% (Jul. 2009).
BCN ranking does not include sales at carrier’s shop so not really accurate. But that increased share must be achieved mostly by iPhone. If you trust both BCN and impress(talk later) numbers, iPhone share among all cellphone is 0.125 x 0.461 = 5.76%. Not a bad number but it might have not caused sensation on those big blogs.
What Engadget points out seems more likely for me.
Does iPhone really take 46.1% share among those non-Japanese cellphones?
Misleading. That research is nothing about sales. The Impress’s research was just a questionnaire against PC users. They got 8,805 participants from their news site/e-mail readers on PC, and 2,886 of them are smartphone users and their answers were used for the “share”. So it counts no mobile-only and mobile-centric users, who are said bigger than PC internet users in Japan.
The question was “Which smartphone do you use the most?”. So Impress seemed to give a list of smartphone on the questionnaire.
# high smartphone owner ratio (2,886/8,805) may be because many tech-savvy people owns smartphone as their second cellphone.
Against whom iPhone is winning?
Not against Blackberry, Windows Mobile or Android. If you want to name a loser, it is Willcom, No.4 cellphone carrier on PHS network.
Blackberry and Android were not here in Japan before and Docomo is not so eager to promote them, as Docomo does not have much incentive to destruct their own eco-system, long lasting app/contents store which charge directly on top of your phone bill (Docomo is planning to have their own Android App Store).
How many iPhone units have been sold in Japan?
No official numbers from Apple or Softbank Mobile.
As CrunchGear introduced, iPhone unofficial evangelist Nobuyuki Hayashi(@nobi) tweeted it is 3 million by his original research and his three different undisclosed sources support it.
Softbank Mobile has been extending intensive free iPhone campaign. That plan is not really “free” but initial cost being very low attracts some kind of people, resulting the No. 3 carrier keep getting the No.1 position on number of increased users for months.