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Japanese smartphone market grows rapidly

Jul 3, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Smartphones will account for 13 percent of Japan's overall handset market in 2010, according to a new report from Research and Markets. Between 2005 and 2010, unit sales of the devices in Japan are forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 78.6 percent.


Smartphone market forecast (Japanese shipments, 2005-2010)
(Source: Research and Markets)

The report estimates smartphone sales in Japan during 2005 and 2006 to have been 90,000 and 620,000 units, respectively. It forecasts the next four years' shipments to be 1,108,000, 1,978,000, 3,534,000, and 6,313,000 units.

Interestingly, Research and Markets does not consider NTT-Docomo's “MOAP” phones to be smartphones. Based on a 2.4-series Linux kernel together with an application stack co-developed by NEC and Panasonic, MOAP phones currently sell about 20 million units per year.

The research firm's smartphone report does consider some Linux-based phones, though, as well as phones running Symbian UIQ, Nokia S60/S80, Windows Mobile, Palm, and BlackBerry software platforms. “Mobile handset functions are becoming more diversified and advanced, therefore a need for high-performance operating systems is increasing,” say the authors.

The authors note that Microsoft's Windows Mobile smartphone software platform gained a stronger footing in Japan during 2006. “In 2006, NTT DoCoMo [story] and Softbank started to introduce Windows Mobile-powered smartphones supplied from HTC, a Taiwan-based device manufacturer. HTC established its branch in Japan in April, 2006, and now seems ready to expand its presence” [story].

Also noted, however, is continuing competition by Symbian and other operating systems. NTT DoCoMo started providing Blackberry devices and related services in September 2006, and these are reportedly “popular among European and US businessmen,” according to the report's authors.

To arrive at its projections of future growth, the firm looked at Japanese adoption curves for notebook PCs and mobile handsets in the early 1990s. “Smartphones equipped with messaging and office applications that are comparable to the personal computers are attracting attention in the Japanese business market,” the authors conclude.

Further details on the report, entitled “Japanese Smartphone Market: Emerging Opportunities,” can be found on the firm's website, here (3-page PDF download).


 
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