Softbank gives Japan free iPhones
Far East immune to Jobsian hypnosis
Softbank Mobile, the iPhone's Japanese carrier, will begin a program tomorrow that will provide a free 8GB iPhone to customers who sign up for a two-year contract. The "iPhone for Everybody Campaign" will last until May 31.
Softbank will also reduce the price of the 16GB iPhone from ¥34,560 ($350, £245) to ¥11,520 ($117, £82).
When Apple lowered the price of the original iPhone from $599 to $399 in September of 2007, AT&T made up the difference by raising the monthly subscription rate.
Not so in Japan. Softbank is also dropping the price of its internet service plan from ¥5,985 ($62, £43) to ¥4,410 ($46, £31).
Although Apple doesn't release figures for Japanese iPhone sales - and forbids Softbank from doing so as well - there have been rumblings that the iPhone isn't taking the gadget-crazy Japanese market by storm.
According to The Wall Street Journal, sales of the popular-most-other-places-in-the-world smartphone are unlikely to reach even half of the one million units originally projected for it's first Japanese year.
One analyst cited by The Japan Corporate News Network is even more pessimistic, suggesting that sales would be more in the 100,000-unit range.
In Japan, it seems, the iPhone is no big deal. Its 3G capabilities are old-hat in a country that's now moving to 4G and where many handsets have such niceties as RFID technology that lets them act as credit cards and train tickets, fingerprint scanners for improved security, and broadcast-TV tuners.
And so Softbank is essentially giving iPhones away.
Whether this move presages similar price-deflation in Europe and the US, only time will tell. Remember, though, that when the Motorola RAZR was introduced in 2004, it cost $500 - and eventually service providers started giving it away with a two-year contract as well. ®
Japanese love iPhones
Looks like the japan doesn't like iPhones rant is going on again due to typical journalistic blundering.
Yes, Nobuyuki Hayashi is the same man quoted by Brian X. Chen in his hit-piece and/or hit-whoring piece for Wired today that's headlined, "Why the Japanese Hate the iPhone."
It seems Chen used an old article to quote Hayashi thusly, "Hayashi's cellular weapon of choice? A Panasonic P905i, a fancy cellphone that doubles as a 3-inch TV. It also features 3-G, GPS, a 5.1-megapixel camera and motion sensors for Wii-style games."
The none-too-happy Hayashi reports, "My cellular weapon of choice, of course is an iPhone... I can't agree with what Brian's article had to say and here is how I view the iPhone market in Japan."
Read Hayashi's full article
iPhone Mattters today also has a related report, "The Japanese hate the iPhone so much they start four iPhone magazines."
I don't get it, Aren't the 8GB's free in the UK with a 2 year contract as well? and the carrier here just orgasmed all over the press about the profits generated by it's free iPhone sales.
As far as I can remember, the iPhone still can't do cross carrier emoji - only within carrier. (It may have got this in the last update - but it certainly didn't have at launch.)
This is a very big deal. You and I may not think it is important, but to the Japanese it is. That is the feedback I get from my Japanese friends and colleagues when I show them my iPhone.
It does not have what is considered here-abouts to be basic functionality.
Why look for complex explanations for failure when there is a simple one?