& cplSiteName &

Land of the Rising Smartphone

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
9/25/2006
50%
50%

Extending its strategy for world smartphone domination to the world's most highly developed smartphone market, BlackBerry today said it will release a Japanese-language version of its popular BlackBerry device in early 2007.

The kanji-based device will follow RIM's English-language BlackBerry, which goes on sale tomorrow from Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM)

"We're working to have a solution for entering Japanese fonts in the first two quarters of next year," said RIM president and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis at a press conference in Tokyo this morning.

RIM has made no secret in the last year of its plans to establish beachheads in the major markets of East Asia. Last May the Waterloo, Ontario-based mobile email giant inked a deal with China Mobile Communications Corp. to bring BlackBerry email service to the mainland, using SIM (subscriber identity module) cards that attach to China Mobile's existing cell phones.

The move into Japan, says Carmi Levy, senior research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group , is inevitable as competition in RIM's core market -- North American enterprises -- continues to heat up, and as big cell phone makers Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) develop smartphones for the global market. (See RIM Dominance Slips, Slightly.)

"The faster RIM can set up shop and gain some initial momentum in Far East markets," says Levy, "the more able it will be to carve out market share in advance of the larger and deeper-pocketed handset manufacturers."

Gartner Japan analyst Kanae Maita predicted earlier this year that Japan's smartphone market would expand by nearly 50 percent to 370,000 units by the end of 2006.

That doesn't mean that RIM's success in Japan -- easily the most sophisticated mobile device market in the world -- is assured. Many Japanese smartphones already have push email capability and other features offered by the BlackBerry, and RIM has only recently added the ability to run over high-speed 3G networks like NTT Docomo's W-CDMA system. (See Device Trends Cross Pacific.)

In June, after RIM said it would begin selling the BlackBerry in Japan, a poster on mobile-device-geek Website Engadget compared the move to "a minivan competing in a sports car race."

Earlier attempts by Western wireless operators to penetrate the Japanese market have faltered: In March, Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) unloaded its wireless network in Japan for $15.5 billion to SoftBank Corp. .

In fact, the initial demand for BlackBerry in Japan is expected to come not from Japanese firms but from expatriates: "It's hard to judge how much demand will come from Japanese natives since few have any experience with the BlackBerry," points out Todd Kort, principal analyst at Gartner Inc. But, he adds, "the move into Japan makes good sense because there are so many multinational companies doing business there who wish to use the BlackBerry."

NTT Docomo said it has taken 1400 pre-orders for the Japanese BlackBerry -- most of them from foreign multinationals. Expat workers, however, would constitute a niche market at best: There are probably a total of around 30,000 English-language expatriates currently working in Japan.

RIM can take heart from the success of Japanese carrier Willcom, which has sold more than 150,000 of its W-Zero3 smartphone, which features mobile email via Microsoft Exchange.

Like pop music, however, mobile device usage is highly dependent on local tastes, habits, and fads. And RIM's bread and butter -- mobile email for busy executives -- will likely not be enough in Japan to provide the chart-topping success it has enjoyed in North America.

"The relative sophistication of the Japanese market in general will likely mean users there will demand more sophisticated services," adds Levy. "Basic voice and data packages won’t fly in Japan."

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, September 14, 1:00PM EDT
What Is Agile?
Kent J. McDonald, Product Owner, Agile Alliance
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, September 16, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement Agile
Alan Bateman, Director, Agile Transformation
Wednesday, September 21, 1:00PM EDT
What Is DevOps?
Colin Kincaid, CTO, Service Provider, Cisco
Friday, September 23, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement DevOps
,
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: UXP Systems' Gemini Waghmare

8|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
LRTV Custom TV
F5 Virtual Network Function Integrations With Partner Orchestration Platform

8|24|16   |   6:38   |   (0) comments


F5's Kishore Patnam, product manager for F5's service provider solutions, discusses why service providers are moving towards virtualization and how his clients are utilizing F5's solutions.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: Intel's Alexis Black Bjorlin

8|17|16   |   06:23   |   (0) comments


Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Accelerating Telecom Digital Transformation With Nominum DNS

8|1|16   |   12:04   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Steve Saunders gets an update from Nominum CEO Gary Messiana on how his company is helping carriers on the digital transformation journey.
LRTV Custom TV
Reinventing Operations for a Virtual, Software-Defined World

7|28|16   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Jim Hodges speaks with Accenture's Larry Socher and Matt Anderson about what service providers must do to transform their business to get the benefits of SDN and NFV including: leveraging DevOps, introducing real-time OSS and implementing analytics.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu Sales Leader Shares Lessons Learned

7|27|16   |   5:12   |   (1) comment


As Fujitsu's only female sales leader, Annie Bogue knows the importance of asking for what you want, being flexible (she's been relocated five times), keeping a meticulous calendar, 'leaning in,' working harder than everyone else around you, being aware and more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
VeEX Test & Measurement Solutions

7|25|16   |   08:57   |   (0) comments


Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX Inc., talks test and measurement with Light Reading's Steve Saunders at BCE 2016. This includes innovative products such as VeSion Cloud-Based platform for network monitoring; MTTplus Modular Test platform for Access, Business, Carrier Ethernet, Transport and Core services; and OPX-BOX+ for Fiber Optics.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live From BCE 2016

7|25|16   |   03:20   |   (0) comments


VeEX's Senior Director of Business Development, Perry Romano, explains how VeEX provides tools to help install, maintain, monitor and manage network infrastructure efficiently and effectively. The portfolio of products on display include the RXT-6000, MTTplus and TX300s.
LRTV Custom TV
Real-Time Telemetry & Analytics for Intelligent SDN Orchestration

7|25|16   |   03:09   |   (0) comments


Packet Design CEO Scott Sherwood discusses how real-time network telemetry and analytics are enabling a new breed of SDN orchestration applications.
From the Founder
The Russo Report: Driving Disruption

7|25|16   |   07:44   |   (2) comments


In the first episode of a four-part series, Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders and Calix President and CEO Carl Russo drive around town discussing the disruptive mega-changes in the communications industry and where hope lies for service providers to meet the escalating demands of the cloud.
LRTV Custom TV
NetScout: Maximizing Enterprise Cloud for Digital Transformation

7|20|16   |   04:53   |   (0) comments


Light Reading Editor Mitch Wagner talks to NetScout CMO Jim McNiel about maximizing the benefits of enterprise cloud and digital transformation while minimizing potential pitfalls with a proper monitoring and instrumentation strategy.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Ciena's VP Offers a Career Crash Course

7|20|16   |   4:14   |   (2) comments


How did Ciena's Vice President of Sales, Angela Finn, carve out her career path? Simple, she tells WiC. She stayed true to her company, customers and principles. She shares her advice for women on how to be authentic and credible, as well as for companies that want to make a real change to their culture and practices.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cisco Developing 'Monica' Digital Assistant
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 8/22/2016
FirstNet: A Billion-Dollar Boondoggle?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/26/2016
WiCipedia: Should Men Be Included? & Olympians Face Discrimination
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 8/26/2016
Google Fiber Can't Be Called a Failure
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/26/2016
Google Fiber Downsizing Not Confirmed
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Bridging the tech skills gap is a major challenge for service providers and suppliers alike today – and the challenge is two-fold when it comes to increasing the number of women in the comms space. Level 3 Communications has made it a priority to overcome both challenges by implementing several unique programs focused on building the right candidates from within – in addition to filling the funnel by supporting STEM and other education programs. During this radio show, you’ll learn about these programs from Mary Beth McGrath, SVP of Global Talent Management at Level 3, and the best ways to bridge your own skills gap so that you are motivated and equipped for change. Plus you’ll have the chance to ask Mary Beth your questions live on the air.