Monday, November 17, 2014

Phones, Tablets, and Tokyo Rush Hour

During rush hour in Tokyo packed in a train car, you'll also find yourself surrounded by electronic devices. While there are some people who still read the newspaper or books, most (by my observation) were engaged with electronic devices. More specifically, phones.

You'll see a lot of different types of phones on the trains in Tokyo these days. While you still see some people with the older Japanese version of flip phones, the majority of phones that I saw were touchscreen smart phones. Lots of different brands -- Samsung, Sony, Apple. And it goes without saying, lots of different colors, cases, and attachments. I even saw one young woman one morning using a phone with a cracked screen. Wherever you go, phone frustrations are universal.

One thing that surprised me though -- with all of the electronic devices that you see on the train, I saw very few iPads. Or any other brands of tablet for that matter. I think I could probably count on one hand the number of times that I saw somebody use an iPad on the train over the course of the week. It's just too big. Even the iPad Mini.

I think that the majority of phones that I saw looked about like the iPhone 6 size -- either new iPhone 6 phones, or Samsung/Sony/misc other Android equivalents. I saw some of the larger 6 plus / Note models, but that didn't appear to be the preferred size in Japan either.

Here in the states, the iPhone 6 is outselling the 6 plus 3:1. While they are clearly selling some of the larger sized phones, it still seems to me like Apple was chasing an over-hyped competitor niche more than designing the perfect product -- like so many of the "Designed by Android" features in iOS and Yosemite.

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