CEATEC: iPhone finds a little love in Japan

Japanese companies are starting to experiment with iPhone applications

The iPhone may be a runaway hit in most markets, but not in gadget-crazy Japan.

Apple's smartphone received a lukewarm reception when it was launched here last year and has seen only moderate success since then. But there are signs the future might be brighter for the iPhone in Japan -- and not just because Japanese operator Softbank now gives some models away for free with any new two-year contract.

At the Ceatec exhibition, where Japanese electronics companies show off the latest prototypes from their research labs, auto maker Nissan and audio specialist Yamaha demonstrated prototype iPhone applications for the first time.

The demonstrations give a hint of what the iPhone's potential in Japan could be with the right applications.

Nissan showed off its eco-driving application, which is going to be tested in a trial program run by the city of Yokohama. While the iPhone isn't particularly popular here, Nissan chose to use the iPhone because it's a very easy platform for developers to work with, said Stephane Bouet, who works at the Nissan Research Center and developed the application.

Nissan's eco-driving application monitors changes in the speed of a car, tracking acceleration, deceleration and changes in cruising speeds to estimate fuel consumption. Bouet spent about a week developing the basic functionality of the application and had the finished version completed in three weeks, crediting excellent support from Apple for smoothing the development process.

"They were very supportive and professional," Bouet said.

One of the iPhone's challenges is that most Japanese users prefer clamshell and slider handsets, but that didn't stop Yamaha and partner Densan System from experimenting with the touchscreen phone.

Densan and Yamaha developed the Finger Share Piano application on the iPhone because its large touchscreen was better suited to displaying a virtual piano keyboard than other, more popular Japanese handsets, said Misao Tanaka, a spokesman for Yamaha.

On display at Ceatec, Finger Share Piano is a concept application, designed to highlight how a mobile application could work with Yamaha's MIDI-equipped pianos. But Finger Piano Share also taps in the geotagging capabilities of another Japanese iPhone application, Sekai Camera.

With Finger Piano Share, users can record and upload a music file which is then geotagged. Any iPhone user with the same applications can then see and download the music file to play on their own handset.

It's not clear whether Nissan's eco-driving application or Finger Piano Share will ever be turned into commercial products. Both applications are still at the prototype stage.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Japanapple iphonenissanyamahaceatec 2009iphone apps

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sumner Lemon

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?