Archives for the category: Mobile Success Explained: Japan, Europe, USA, China, Korea
February 6, 2012
Excerpts from Tomi Ahonen talk at the Mobile Web Africa conference in Johannesburg last Thursday via TechCentral.
-- Mobile is a far speedier way to reach consumers than other digital channels. A study conducted in New Zealand found that the average e-mail is read 48 hours after it is sent, while the average SMS is read in four minutes. “SMS is literally 720 times faster than e-mail in message-opening throughput.”
Read full article.
February 3, 2012
Home to sun, surf, margartias, rain forests, coffee, and cocaine…but there’s something else Latin America is becoming famous for – mobile tech. Mobisights reports.
Like much of the developing world, mobile phones have become the cheapest and easiest way to connect the masses. Led by the boom of Brazil that put the B in BRIC nations, the entire region is taking off. By 2015, Latin America is expected to boast over 750 million mobile users and is already one of the worlds largest markets by volume according to GSMA’s Mobile Observatory report.
November 28, 2011
TextToChange reports on their text messaging campaign in Uganda which aims to stop corporal punishment against children.
At the moment there is no law that stipulates and enacts a full ban on corporal punishment in Uganda. As a consequence, children all over the country report that the practice continues without much consequence for the perpetrator.
October 9, 2011
The evolving design of the digital devices that are starting to fill our stores and schools will change the way we think, behave, and buy.Favorite Jan Chipchase for The Atlantic
... The ubiquity of the mobile phone in South Korea is prompting innovation that bridges display screens and hand-held screens. Consider the recent installation of a completely virtual store by Korean supermarket Home Plus, a division of Tesco, in a Seoul subway station. At this store, life-sized images of food, milk cartons, and other groceries appear on a screen, as if placed on shelves. Busy commuters use their mobile phones to snap QR codes on the ersatz sundries to quickly order the real products online. The groceries are delivered by the time they reach home. Home Plus has reported that during a recent trial run of the virtual store, the company saw a 130 percent increase in online sales.
Read full article.
June 14, 2011
If you were to say to someone from overseas: "Soon you will be able to send texts via SMS to anyone with a cellphone in Japan," they may ask, "What are you talking about? You mean you couldn't do it before?!" The Japan Times Online explains why you couldn't and how now this is changing.
On June 1, Japanese cellphone carriers Docomo, KDDI, SoftBank Mobile and eAccess (Emobile) issued a joint press release, which announced that from July 13 their Short Message Services will be interconnected. The agreement was first announced in September 2009, so it has taken almost two years to implement.
Read full article.
May 11, 2011
From Smoke to Text, What's Next? displays how telecommunications changes our lives and world. The show, created by The Telecommunications History Group, Inc., guides viewers from smoke signals and invention of the telegraph in the 1800s to smart phones and the internet today. It asks viewers to envision “What’s Next?”
The exhibit features several interactive displays including a telegraph sender and a receiver, an early operator switchboard to connect calls, and a switch that shows how calls moved automatically through early mechanical equipment.
January 23, 2011
Urban Cambodia is so over-saturated with mobiles and telephone numbers that it’s often impossible to get anyone, anywhere on the line, according to the Global Post.
Rice farmers own two mobile phones for no apparent reason. Markets teem with dozens of mobile phone shops all hawking the same ware.
Read full article.
November 11, 2010
Newseek, on five ways cell phones are changing the world. Their impact extends from politics to business, medicine, and war.
1. Exposing Secrets - The repression and horror happening in North Korea leaks out by cell phone.
2. Advancing Democracy - Cell phones present a problem for oppressive regimes everywhere.
3. Enabling Commerce - Enabling a common method of banking using a cell phone where there are no banks.
4. Distributing Medecine - A new project in Africa, called Stop Stock-Outs enables activisits to report which drugs are out of stock.
5. Waging War - How the Taliban have forced local cell-phone-service providers to shut down their towers at night stopping locals from reporting Taliban movements to Coalition forces. And how NATO troops, also black out entire areas of cell coverage before an offensive to prevent insurgents from remotely detonating roadside bombs.
Read full article.
To this list I would add:
6. Cell phones are a boon to philanthropy - The mobile-giving industry has the potential to change the face of global philanthropy.
7. Cell phone are bridging the deafness divide - Over the last decade, text messaging has changed life profoundly for millions of deaf people.
8. Smartphones and apps - are changing Internet access and cell phones as we know them.
August 11, 2010
Spotted on a Gizmodo, a review of Brian Ashcraft's new book called Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential where he explores and explains how Japanese schoolgirls have changed and shifted Japanese society. Among the most important things they've influenced? Cellphones.
July 21, 2010
The success of the Japanese cell phone explained. By TechNewsDaily
Japanese cell phones into all-in-one devices that go beyond voice, text or browsing functions. Read "10 Cool Asian Cell Phone Features You Can't Have – Yet."
Read full article.
April 10, 2010
Because it reaches so many people, because it is always with you, because it is cheap and shareable and easily repaired, the cellphone has opened a new frontier in global innovation.
A wonderful article from The New York Times, rounding up how cell phones are used around the world. From Obama's Cairo speech to the Muslim world released in 13 languages via text message last year, to India's citizen election monitoring by cell phone to Africa, Iran and Moldova...
The cellphone has also moved to the center of community life in many places. In Africa, urban churches record sermons with cellphones, then transmit them to villages to be replayed. In Iran and Moldova, cellphones helped to organize popular uprisings against authoritarian governments. In India, the cellphone is now used to allow citizen election monitoring and to equip voters, via text message, with information on candidates’ incomes and criminal backgrounds.
Read full article.
February 3, 2010
Japanese phones used to be years ahead of anything we had here in Europe and decades ahead of those in the US, but not any more. The latest US and European smartphones are super-slick devices with gorgeous user interfaces, while the latest Japanese phones are almost the exact opposite.
[via Mobile Mentalism]
February 3, 2009
OTM producer Mark Phillips took a look at Japan, one of the world’s most cellular nations.
When you say email to today’s young people, they would never think of emails you do on the computer. To them, cell phone emails are emails. There are even some users who would say, oh, I didn't know you could do email on a computer, too.
June 8, 2008
It was, to say the least, an unusual brand-recognition campaign. Amid the ruins of towns and villages of Sichuan province, the big Chinese telecoms operators had set up shop alongside rice kitchens and rows of blue tents to provide a service as vital as food and shelter. The Times Online reports.
"The mobile phone came of age in China last month when a devastating earthquake ripped through Sichuan province. Its vital role showed why the Chinese government has recently ordered a radical restructuring of the telecoms industry to prepare for the next generation of technology.
Victims used their phones to call for rescue, soldiers used civilian networks to organise supplies, families used text messages to exchange news of survival or loss and an increasingly angry group of citizens spread word of protests against corruption and lax building standards. The national conversation kept going thanks to a military-style logistics operation by the rival phone companies."
Read full article
June 7, 2008
An interesting read in Wired on what Japanese consumers want from their cell phone: multiple and complex features.
"There are tons of buttons, and different combinations or lengths of time yield different results,'" says Koh Aoki, an engineer who lives in Tokyo.
... Japan is a culture of spec sheets. When consumers go to electronics stores to buy a cellphone, they frequently line up the specifications side by side to compare them before deciding which one to buy.
Experimenting with different key combinations in search of new features is "good for killing time during a long commute," Aoki says, "but it's definitely not elegant."
So it's unclear whether Japanese consumers will ditch their complicated cellphones for Apple's easy-to-use iPhone, which will be sold in Japan by SoftBank by the end of the year.
December 7, 2007
Compared to the English-speaking world, the Japanese have gone blog wild, writes The Washington Post. They write Web logs at per capita rates that are off the global charts.
"Although English speakers outnumber Japanese speakers by more than 5-1, slightly more blog postings are written in Japanese than in English, according to Technorati, the Internet search engine that monitors the blogosphere.
By some estimates, as much as 40 percent of Japanese blogging is done on mobile phones, often by commuters staring cross-eyed at tiny screens for hours as they ride the world's most extensive network of subways and commuter trains.
Blogging in Japan, though, is a far tamer beast than in the United States and the rest of the English-speaking world. Japan's conformist culture has embraced a technology that Americans often use for abrasive self-promotion and refashioned it as a soothingly nonconfrontational medium for getting along.
Bloggers here shy away from politics and barbed language. They rarely trumpet their expertise. While Americans blog to stand out, the Japanese do it to fit in, blogging about small stuff: cats and flowers, bicycles and breakfast, gadgets and TV stars. Compared with Americans, they write at less length, they write anonymously, and they write a whole lot more often.
December 3, 2007
E-mail has become the new snail mail for many Chinese as they turn to the immediacy of text messages on cellphones and instant messages on personal computers.
The most affluent and educated use e-mail, but by and large people here rely much more heavily on the shorter, faster and more conversational methods of electronic communication .
E-mail here is treated with the same disdain as the telephone answering machine, said Guo Liang, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. "You won't have a direct response; you have to wait," he said.
During the mid-autumn festival, people here exchanged 2 billion short message greetings and well-wishes in a single day.
... As with all other forms of communication in China, the government is watching. Some Chinese say officials expanded censorship over phone messages after the 2003 SARS epidemic, in which millions of text messages were sent alerting people to the virus and exposing a national cover-up.
"Once in a while, you'll get friendly reminders from the public security bureau," Ogilvy & Mather's Kuo said. "You always know what the event is that they're referring to, but they're very elliptical about it, reminding you not to spread rumors."
[via China Post]
Links to related articles on the death of e-mail
March 14, 2007
File under nice. Guangdong Mobile, China Mobile Communications Corporation's Guangdong branch, has launched its "Appreciation to Guangdong" program, a series of activities including 15 minutes of free long-distance call service for each migrant worker in the province every weekend. China TechNews reports.
" Migrant workers who don't have a mobile phone can come to Guangdong Mobile's Communication 100 Service Halls to make their free calls, while those who have mobile phones can enjoy the free service with a Shenzhouxing card. ... Guangdong Mobile will also arrange traveling service vehicles next month from which the migrant workers can make their calls.
In addition, Guangdong Mobile says that it will build 500 Communication 100 Service Halls to provide free internet service for migrant workers."
February 26, 2007
Pictured left, a charging station seen in many Chinese cities, selling power for cell phones. via Lunch over IP in an article on evolving business models.
Over 420 million Chinese have cell phones, but in many areas electricity supply is non reliable. So this company, for a modest fee, lets people plug in their phone and charge the battery
Soon after starting the business, they noticed that while the phone was plugged in, the clients were hanging around, waiting for the battery to be at least partially recharged, and they figured that they could exploit that idle time by displaying advertising and other commercial content on screen placed on top of the booth.
... The hotel, restaurant or shopping mall hosting the charging station has the option of sharing in all the revenue streams or simply taking the charging fees and allowing the operator to take all the advertising related revenues."
-- Street Charging Services in Uganda - Jan Chipchase reports on shared phone use in Africa and brings to light what we never even think twice about, how easy it is for ur to charge our cell phones and how in some parts of the world, access to power requires major ingenuity.
-- Access to Power, Phone Charging Services - future perfect shows how cell phones get recharged in Soweto.
-- Romania. Five mile walk to recharge phones - Mobile phones have become popular in a remote Romanian village - even though users have to walk five miles to recharge them
February 16, 2007
China Tech News reports on China's growing number of "Telephone Cafés".
These "cafes," which are similar to Internet cafes, provide an ideal place for people from all walks of life to economically make long-distance calls to their families in a quiet, friendly atmosphere.
They are owned by Jinan Yinquan Technology Company, who today has 77 facilities in operation. Jinan Yinquan now services four provinces and 23 cities with Shandong Province its primary base of operations.
Above picture is the storefront of an Internet Café from Virtual China. Couldn't find any images of Telephone cafes.
September 12, 2006
Japan's $30 billion e-commerce market is one-fifth of the size of the market in the United States, reports Reuters, but the $3.5 billion mobile commerce, or m-commerce, market is flying ahead of other developed markets and is expected to show explosive growth in years to come.
... "The habit of buying items such as accessories and supplements through Web sites via cellphones typifies a growing trend in Japan, where mobile phones serve a multitude of purposes, such as credit cards, portable music players and train tickets.
Last year, the number of people using cell phones for Internet access exceeded personal computer users in Japan. According to government data, 80 percent of e-commerce by teen-agers aged 15-19 was done on cellphones in 2005.
The size of Japan's mobile commerce market more than tripled from 2002 to 2005 to reach $3.5 billion.The mobile commerce market in the United States and Canada combined is expected to reach only 75 percent of that size by 2009.
... The growth of the m-commerce market is supported by a spread of high-speed third-generation phone services. "One of the changes that came with the 3G services is an increase in flat-fee users," said Jun Hasebe, an analyst at Daiwa Institute of Research. "Impulse shopping accounts for most of the purchases done on mobile phones, and that would not usually happen unless users are on flat fee-based services."
June 27, 2006
“In Europe, a mobile phone is still a phone,” says Ericsson’s Atsuhiko Ohkita, senior market analyst in Tokyo. “In Japan, the ke-tai means web access, e-mail, games, and so on – that’s the definition. Voice is just a very small part of the handset’s function.”
...In Japan, operators design service-compatible handsets, and their unique capabilities become the selling point – the internet phone, the camera phone, the music phone, and so on. This synchronized development spans back to the beginnings of Japan’s mobile revolution.
... The Japanese are more advanced than their global peers when it comes to mobile application development and service adoption. But the size of the gap largely depends on the user group.
Ohkita says: “The difference between high-end users in Japan and Europe is perhaps less than a year. But on average, there is a gap of about two to three years. Low-end European users still only use voice and SMS, and don’t want to try web access.”
“In Japan, 75 percent of the most popular mobile content is pure entertainment – games and music – while 25 percent is known as ‘save time’ content,” Ohkita says.
September 6, 2005
An interesting article from the FT on the Japanese cell phone market.
"The domestic mobile phone market is no longer rising. That is a clear fact, so each company is suffering," Ben Nakamura, who heads NEC's mobile phone business, says. "Japanese handset makers face a shake-out."
The handset market is crowded with more than 10 manufacturers, ranging from heavyweights such as NEC and Matsushita, number one and two in the market respectively, to smaller competitors such as Casio.
But few companies are able to generate profits from a business where research and development costs are high, product shelf-life short and competition fierce.
"Mobile phones are not a profitable business," concedes Toshinori Hoshi, director of the mobile terminal division of Matsushita's Panasonic Mobile Communications.
Mobile phone penetration is about 70 per cent in Japan and manufacturers have had to introduce ranges of slightly different models to lure buyers.
And with Japanese consumers so keen to get the latest fads, manufacturers have had to provide the most advanced features to remain competitive, Mr Hoshi points out.
Consequently, manufacturers have seen volume sales of each model decline while development costs have remained high because of the demands of consumers."
June 6, 2005
Telecoms Korea reports that ultra-low cost handsets will sweep the Chinese market, according to BDA China, a Chinese research firm dedicated to telecom business.
"There are a several reasons why cheap phones are increasing in China:
-- The government is fueling competition by increasing licenses to manufacturing handsets.
-- Leading handset makers such as Motorola and Nokia are trying to expand their market by introducing low cost phones, thereby increasing competition.
-- Handset makers increasingly release ultra-low cost phones to enhance their price competitiveness.
The cheap phones are not only the case of GSM but also with CDMA.
BDA China projected that fierce competition over low cost phones will drive up the number of mobile subscribers."
May 10, 2005
Interesting insight on China from World Changing:
"As China continues to urbanize (its urban population having exploded from 19% in 1979 to 40% in 2003), huge numbers of workers are being drawn from the comparatively poor countryside to booming urban job markets.
Qi Wang and his colleague Jonathan Anderson calculated that at least 100 million people now work away from their primary residence, and that number will swell to 200 million by 2010.
Traditionally, Wang explained, Chinese people have very strong ties with their families and hometowns. The family home is a spiritual center. So maintaining ties with one's roots is a very big deal to the almost 10% of the population which is working away.
And providing communication services for that mobile population is in turn a very big deal.
50% already have access to mobile technologies, with low-cost options spreading and the total number of mobile phone minutes used in China going up 20% a year. But, Wang said, while the urban market is exploding, rural areas lag behind, PC penetration in the hinterlands is "essentially none," and there are few if any efforts to develop village technologies like the simputer, Jhai or hole in the wall approaches."
March 13, 2005
Interesting insight from The San Francisco Chronicle on how South Korea is today's world technology leader.
"Pick up your mobile phone and watch your favorite TV show. At home, on your computer, download a feature-length movie in no time at all.
If you live in South Korea, it is an everyday reality to have always-on superfast Internet -- broadband -- both in your cell phone and in your home.
South Korea has managed to leapfrog the United States in both broadband and mobile phone usage thanks to a population density that makes connectivity easier and government policies that promote development.
South Korea also has a culture where people are crazy about playing online games and don't go home after work. Instead, they go to dinner, to karaoke or to a bar -- all the while using their mobile phones".
December 27, 2004
For those of us in the West who have so often wondered and envied the immense uptake of mobile voice and internet services in Japan, Mizuko Ito offers a wonderful insight into this particular phenomenon in her paper titled "Personal Portable Pedestrian: Lessons from Japanese Mobile Phone Use". (PDF Download)
"A strongly recommended read, anyone active in the mobile arena (and not familiar with the Japanese tech culture) should be able to take away some valuable learnings.
"In Japanese, the mobile phone is called a keitai, which might be roughly translated as " a portable" or "something you carry with you". In contrast to the "cellular phone" or the "mobile" which stress technology and function, the Japanese term stresses the relation between user and device."
reBlogged from TheFeature.com.
November 16, 2004
Mobile phones have replaced computers as the de facto e-mail terminal of choice for many Japanese who are not in technology, finance, engineering or other computer-intensive occupations. This is particularly true for the young, who most clearly prefer handsets to handhelds, according to receiver .
via [ KoBot! ]
November 6, 2004
This week in Keitai Log, we get an exchange student's perspective on Japanese wireless culture. DesRochers, a Pomona College (Calif.) student, is studying Japanese at International Christian University in Tokyo.
[...] The process of writing keitai e-mails also brings forth another advantage -- the fact that keitai can turn hiragana (the Japanese syllabic alphabet) into kanji (characters that represent whole words). This means that while I'm standing in the middle of a crowded train platform desperately trying to remember the kanji for "Ikebukuro," I can simply begin to type it into an e-mail, and all of the kanji that match the phonetic spelling of Ikebukuro will immediately appear.
[...] As a foreigner to Japan, meeting new faces is part of the daily experience. Entering each person's data into my keitai as we part ways can be extremely helpful. Not only can I take pictures of their faces for their entries, but this process of exchanging information is also the appropriate time to clarify the spelling and pronunciation of their names.
[...] For me, owning a keitai has been simply another way to make the transition between complete outsider and "that foreigner who knows a thing or two about Japan."
October 1, 2004
Two years ago, there were few mobile handsets visible at Colombo's Pettah market, Sri Lanka's fresh produce hub. Today, around 75 percent of market workers -- from stall holders to workers lugging sacks of carrots -- have one.
A mobile line rental costs around a fifth of that of a land line, and a sharp fall in handset prices has spurred sales.
"There is a rise in mobile usage in rural areas because of the low cost and because they can carry it with them," said C. Maliyadde, secretary of the Telecommunications Ministry.
But now a boom in the mobile telecoms market is pulling the informal sector into the economy and even influencing food prices, reports Reuters.
Sri Lanka's Central Bank says prices of key commodities such as paddy and vegetables have gone up because of better access to demand and price information thanks to mobile telephones.
"What you see is an improvement in the efficiency of the markets... We can't yet quantify the impact but certainly in terms of access to market information this is a significant improvement," said Anila Dias Bandaranaike, head of the bank's statistics department.
"They are not chatting with their friends but optimising and increasing their production," she added.
Dialog GSM, Sri Lanka's largest mobile network operator is devoting half of its planned investment in the next two years to rural services, and says customers will soon be able to access wholesale fruit, vegetable and grain prices via voice and messaging by simply dialling in a product code."