Japan’s mobile environment today

Sorry for not updating the blog for a long time. These days I’m hanging out on Facebook and Twitter, rather than writing blog entries. Please visit my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/masayuki.kawagishi or follow @_Yuki_K_ on Twitter 😉

I see that the world of mobile phones is rapidly changing for years. Nokia, one of the dominant mobile phone manufacturers, is disappearing, and Apple is expanding the market with the iPhone, its flagship mobile phones with a music player, games, and other applications all-in-one. Following apple, various mobile phone manufacturers, from Samsung to small makers in China, are releasing smartphones with the Android operating system developed by Google.

In Japan, I think that mobile phones are rapidly “globalised” in recent years. A few years ago all you could see here was the “Galapagos” handphones sold only within Japan and unavailable once you brought them out of Japan. But recently on the train or the streets, you see the same devices as those seen in the rest of the world — iPhones, Android smartphones, and even Blackberry phones (scarce though).

More than that, this month I had good news showing Japan’s globalisation of the mobile phone environment. News says that from 13 July this year you can send text messages (SMS) to the mobile phones of the different carriers from yours. That is normal in the rest of the world, but that isn’t here in Japan — if you have a mobile phone sold by NTT DoCoMo, you can send SMS only to NTT DoCoMo users, not to au, Softbank, or any other carrier’s users. As the SMS gateways are closed to different carriers, you can rarely see here such services as balance enquiry, network configurations, service registrations, and purchasing something by sending text messages to service providers as you can see in Singapore, Hong Kong or some European countries. The opening of the SMS gateways will probably enable you to have such services even in Japan soon.

Japan and the countries other than Japan don’t stand in the opposite. Japan is an extension of other countries, and any country is an extension of Japan. Anything available in the world must be available in Japan too.