Japan Stories July 13, 2016

SYNC 3 and Android Auto

Since its 2014 introduction, Android Auto has launched in 30 countries and is already supported by 40 car manufacturers and other partners. Now Google’s car entertainment OS is going live in Japan with local app support and availability on several car models and after-market head units.

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Japan Stories February 24, 2016

xperia z5

After much rumor and speculation floating around over the last couple of days, Sony has now confirmed in a statement that its Z series of flagship smartphones is now dead. The Z line has “reached its culmination,” according to the Japanese company, and it’s now time for a “new chapter and evolution” in its product strategy…

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Japan Stories May 15, 2015

nexus-6-design

Google has added Taiwan to the list of countries where its Nexus 6 smartphone is available to purchase through the Google Store. It’s also now selling the new LG Watch Urbane Android Wear smartwatch in Japan. expand full story

Japan Stories May 14, 2015

HTC J butterfly HTV31 specs and reviews | HTC Japan 2015-05-14 12-52-30

HTC has today brought to the world (or just Japan, actually) the announcement of its HTC J Butterfly flagship, likely to come to other parts of the world under the Butterfly 3 moniker. The phone is a colorful new handset with a waterproof plastic build, packs some very powerful internals, and even brings with it some features that HTC left behind for its One M9 flagship…

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Japan Stories February 12, 2015

Google Japan choir of 300 Android smartphones and tablets sings a hymn (Video)

File this one under ‘only in Japan.’ Google has posted a video to its Asia Pacific Blog of its Tokyo team connecting 300 Android smartphones and tablets in order to have them sing a hymn. The obvious thing to do, really.

300 different Androidify characters singing the same song using only the device speakers. We call it “Android Chorus”

The result is, says Google, just another illustration of how Android is about being together not the same. Ookay …

Japan Stories January 29, 2015

Nexus Player coming to Japan by end of February, its first market out of North America

Earlier this month, Google’s Nexus Player became available from a variety of new online retailers and big-box stores, and now the company revealed the first market outside of North America in which the device will be available. In a post on its Asia Pacific Blog, Google has revealed that the Nexus Player will be available in Japan by the end of February.

Japan Stories September 23, 2014

Google expands local inventory ads to UK, France, Germany, Japan, Australia & desktop users

Google just announced that it’s expanding its local inventory ads first launched for users in the US last fall to more countries starting today. The ads, which promote items from local nearby retailers to shoppers on Google, are now available in the UK, Germany, Australia, Japan, and France.

Google said today that it will also start showing the ads to desktop users:

We have also expanded support for store-only products and campaigns to desktop devices, enabling retailers to promote stores to the right customers at the right time. For example, you can prioritize showing local products to get shoppers in your doors during the weeks and days leading up to the holidays. As items go out of stock online and last-minute shipping costs increase, retailers who can provide cost-effective, quick in-store purchase options stand out in the crowd

Retailers can get an overview on the program here and users will in the countries above should start to see the local “in store” ads appear in search results.

Japan Stories September 5, 2014

Google Play offers discount on Nexus 5 + LG G Watch bundle in GB, IE, FR, DE, AU, KR, JP

Google is offering a new bundle through Google Play in some countries that offers a discounted price for customers that purchase both a Nexus 5 and LG G Watch. Discounts vary with local currencies, but discounts general range from $100 in Australia to £60 in the UK.

We reached out to Google to find out where exactly the deal is available, and it offered up a full list of countries: GB, IE, FR, DE, AU, KR, JP.

You can head over to Google Play now if you’re in a participating country to take advantage of the deal.

Japan Stories August 18, 2014

A mid-range phone powered by a Snapdragon 400 processor isn’t going to excite many people, but the Sharp Aquos Crystal coming later this year to Sprint does have one very appealing feature: a near-invisible bezel …  expand full story

Japan Stories August 11, 2014

 

google_fiber

Google is contributing to a $300 million project to develop and operate a Trans-Pacific high-speed internet cable system called “FASTER.” Other companies involved in the venture include China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, KDDI and SingTel, with NEC acting as the system supplier. This group effort will utilize a high-quality 6-fiber-pair cable and optical transmission technologies.

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Japan Stories August 5, 2014

Photo: ibtimes.com

Photo: ibtimes.com

Samsung and Apple just announced that they have agreed to drop all patent suits against each other in countries outside the United States, Bloomberg reports. The two companies will drop suits against each other in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Netherlands, the U.K., France and Italy. This agreement does not include any licensing agreements, though. This has no effect on United States battles either.

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Japan Stories July 17, 2014

Image via TechSmartt

Image via <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ml1LzNFn8kc">TechSmartt</a>

According to figures released by market research company BCN, Asus sold more tablets than Apple during the first half of 2014 in Japan. Asus’ market share rose 8 percent year-over-year during the first half of 2014, the report claims, giving it a 38.9 percent portion of the tablet market in Japan. Apple, on the other hand, holds a 36.4 percent share (via Nikkei). This is the first time Asus has ever held the top spot in Japan, according to the report. expand full story

Japan Stories June 24, 2014

appannie

New data from App Annie shows that revenue from apps downloaded via the Google Play store more than doubled between the first quarters of 2013 and 2014 – and that a staggering 98 percent of it comes from in-app purchases in apps that were free to download.

Games continue to dominate the charts, accounting for 40 percent of all downloads but 90 percent of revenues, up from 80 percent last year …  expand full story

Japan Stories May 27, 2014

Chromecast coming to Japan on May 28th

In order to take the world by storm, Google has to expand the Chromecast’s availability and that’s what the company appears to be doing. The media dongle recently became available in South Korea and tomorrow it’ll officially go on sale in Japan for  ¥4,200 (around $41). Local content providers such as Docomo will provide support for Chromecast, as well as Google’s in-house brands like YouTube and Google Play. to prepare Japanese customers for the Chromecast experience, Mountain View has released a promo video showing off some of its media stick’s capabilities. Here’s a look at what will be available in Japan starting tomorrow. 

(via Google)

Japan Stories April 15, 2014

LG-isai-FLshot

This slim-bezel smartphone we have here, is said to be the LG isai FL headed to Japan at some point in the future. The press shots surfaced on Twitter via @evleaks and may hint at LG’s design philosophy for 2014.

This could indicate a possible design format for the Nexus 6 or LG G3. The isai FL features the same backside volume rocker design that was first introduced on the LG G2, but has a body style similar to the Nexus 5. Either way, there’s no way to ignore those beautiful slim bezels.

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Japan Stories January 17, 2014

Smartphone sales expected to fall for the first time in two years

TrendForce is predicting that total worldwide smartphone sales will fall by around five percent in the first quarter of this year. If so, this will be the first fall in two years.

It doesn’t mean demand for smartphones is actually dropping, but rather than the upward trend has slowed to the point that the seasonal effect – people buying smartphones as holiday gifts – is now bigger than the overall growth rate.

Samsung and Apple of course maintain their lead, though Sony saw significant growth in its home territory of Japan, and LG’s share grew 57 percent year-on-year to a 4.2 percent market share thanks largely to sales of the Nexus handsets it makes for Google.

Via re/code

Japan Stories March 13, 2013

Kindle-pricing-Fire-HD-8.9Amazon announced today in a press release that it is lowering the price of its the largest tablet in the U.S., the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″.  The price of the entry level WiFi only model drops from $299 to $269, while the 4G variant will now sell for $399 (down from $499 previously). In addition, the company is also rolling out the device to a handful of new countries including: the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, and Italy.

The 8.9-inch tablet  includes a1920x1200, 254 ppi display, TI OMAP4470 processor, 1GB of RAM, Custom Dolby audio and dual stereo speakers, 10 hours of battery life, and of course access to Amazon’s ecosystem of content.

You can already find the updated pricing for the both the entry level $269 model and the $399 4G model on Amazon. expand full story

Japan Stories October 24, 2012

LG reports ‘solid’ Q3 earnings with $138.57M in net profit

LG is out with its Q3 earnings today, and it is reporting what it called “solid third-quarter performance” thanks to strong handset sales. The company took in $138.57M in net profit for the quarter, while recording 19.42 million operating profit for its mobile business:

LG Mobile Communications Company improved significantly in the 2012 third quarter, recording operating profit of KRW 22 billion (USD 19.42 million) due in large part to healthy sales of LTE smartphones in Korea, Japan and the United States. In addition, Optimus L-Series continued to expand into 3G markets, contributing to the sales increase. Revenues increased by 5 percent quarter-to-quarter to KRW 2.45 trillion (USD 2.16 billion) as shipments exceeded 14 million units, an increase of 9 percent from the previous quarter. The company expects to further increase its shipments and revenue in the fourth quarter with the global launch of the Optimus G superphone and sales of Optimus Vu: 2 in Korea.

LG’s full press release below:

Japan Stories October 16, 2012

We have heard a ton of rumors regarding a 32GB version of the Nexus 7. Earlier reports pointed to an Oct. 24 launch, and we even saw a 32GB unit allegedly ship to a customer in Japan. Today, the 32GB variant has once again appeared online—this time on the Staples Advantage website for business customers. AndroidPolice linked us to the listing that currently has the 32GB Nexus 7 listed for $250. It also has an availability date of Oct. 18, although, that could likely be just a placeholder at this point. The pricing is slightly less than the current 16GB model that Google is selling, indicating the 32GB model might replace the 16 entirely—including taking over its pricing.

Japan Stories October 11, 2012

Report: Softbank in talks to buy Sprint for $19B

According to a report from Nikkei (via Bloomberg), Japan’s Softbank, the third-largest mobile carrier in the country, is currently seeking to acquire two-thirds of U.S.-based Sprint Nextel Corp. The price is rumored at roughly $19 billion USD and would make AT&T the last fully U.S.-based carrier:

Softbank Corp. (9984), Japan’s third- largest mobile-phone company, is in talks to buy control ofSprint Nextel Corp. (S), according to two people familiar with the matter…The deal would give Softbank a base for entering the U.S. market with a compatible carrier that uses similar equipment made by Sweden’s Ericsson AB, the Nikkei reported.

Japan Stories September 25, 2012

Google has updated its Books app experience on Android, which already features over 4 million books in the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, Italy, France, Korea, Spain, and Japan. The latest version of the app introduces a number of new features including: highlighting, dictionary, notes, and new “Places” info cards.

In addition to including dictionary definitions when tapping on words, Google highlighted some of the new features in a post on its official Android blog:

Starting today, when you come across an unfamiliar geographic location—a faraway city or distant mountain range—you can tap on the location to learn more about it. You’ll see an info card with a Google Map and the option to get more information by searching on Google or Wikipedia.

Also in the update is the ability to translate words and phrases to a number of currently supported languages. Other features include: expand full story

Japan Stories August 19, 2012

LG’s 5-inch Vu phablet launches globally

LG ANNOUNCES GLOBAL AVAILABILITY OF OPTIMUS VU: Largest LG Smartphone to Be Launched in Europe, Asia, Middle East/Africa and Latin America

SEOUL, Aug. 20, 2012 – On the heels of its successful debut in Korea and Japan, the Optimus Vu: will make its global debut starting in select markets in Europe, Asia, Middle East/Africa and Latin America starting in September. With the world’s first 5-inch 4:3 aspect ratio display, the Optimus Vu: blurs the line between traditional tablets and smartphones for a truly unique smart device experience.

Since its March debut in Korea, the Optimus Vu: has sold over 500,000 units, demonstrating public acceptance of its form-factor. The reception the device received in Korea prompted LG to launch the Optimus Vu: in Japan this month, where it has also been received positively by Japanese consumers.

For the global roll-out, the Optimus Vu: will be equipped with NVIDIA? Tegra? 3 mobile processor, the super 4-PLUS-1™ quad-core with 5th battery-saver core, that offers a superb balance of performance and power requirements. 4 cores are used for high performance tasks such as games and multitasking. For voice call, email, music and video playback, only 5th battery-saver core is enabled and it consumes very less power.

When paired with the high-resolution 5-inch, 4:3 ratio IPS display, the Optimus Vu: becomes something special – a device that’s both pocketable and spacious. The Optimus Vu: will come with an upgraded version of QuickMemo™ and Notebook, two features which make great use of the large display real estate.

“The different form factor makes Optimus Vu: unique even in the 5-inch smartphone category which we expect will catch on once they become more widely available,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company.

Key Specifications: Operating System Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Network 3G Display 5.0-inch 4:3 ratio XGA IPS with 768 x 1024 pixels Memory 32GB Cameras 8.0MP rear / 1.3MP front Size 139.6 x 90.4 x 8.5mm Weight 168g

Japan Stories July 31, 2012

OUYA announces Square Enix’s Final Fantasy III as console’s launch title

OUYA, the Android-powered alternative gaming console that raised millions of dollars in mere days on Kickstarter, just revealed that it partnered with Square Enix to release Final Fantasy III as its launch title.

Check out the announcement below. Kickstarter [via Engadget]

Japan Stories June 13, 2012

‘Rage of Bahamut’ game reaches No. 1 on Android and iOS, pulls similar revenue from both platforms

Japan-based DeNA announced that its “Rage of Bahamut” app became the No. 1 grossing game on both Android and iOS yesterday, while earning roughly the same revenue per day from each mobile platform.

The game’s success pokes holes in recent findings from Flurry, which claimed revenue generated per active user is four times greater on iOS than Android. The analytics firm noted that for every $1 earned on iOS, a developer could expect to earn about 24-cents on Android.

“Contrary to what we read, we’ve been very happy with Android monetization. There is not a big discrepancy between the two now,” said DeNa Director Neil Young to TechCrunch.

Rage of Bahamut is a free trading card game that lets users battle either through a live single or multiplayer action mode against a “database of battle hungry foes.” It is on the Google Play Store and boasts a 4-star rating on nearly 11,000 reviews as of press time.

TechCrunch further elaborated:

The game had the top slot on both platforms yesterday, but Kabam’s Kingdoms of Camelot took back the #1 iOS slot in the U.S. this morning. […]Young says Rage of Bahamut is seeing some impressive revenue numbers per day per user. In casual games, you usually see an average revenue per daily active user of a couple cents to 10 cents per day on mobile. The better games can get to 15 to 25 cents per day per daily active user. But Young says Rage of Bahamut has been able to do 4 or 5 times that. He didn’t say how much revenue overall the title is earning, but we’ve seen dual platform hits like Draw Something earn anywhere between $5 and 10 million per month through in-app purchases and advertising.

Those numbers are welcomed news for developers with growing concerns about mobile platforms lacking solid business models that encourage monetization.

This article is cross-posted on 9to5Mac.

Japan Stories May 2, 2012

For quite a while, Android users on many carriers in a handful of countries have had access to direct carrier billing for apps. Google is rolling out the option today to all content available through Google Play including music, movies, and books to certain carriers in the United States and Japan. While direct carrier billing is available to AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile (everyone but Verizon who operates its own Android store), Google’s announcement seems to indicate the expanded service will launch first on T-Mobile in the United States with Sprint coming soon. It will also roll out to Softbank, DoCoMo, and KDDI customers in Japan. You can check out a full list of countries and carriers that support direct billing here.

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Japan Stories April 24, 2012

Japan inches closer to Android/iPhone duopoly

As of the latest research from Nielsen, we know the United States smartphone market has quickly become an iOS/Android duopoly with 90 percent of devices on either one of those platforms. While smartphone usage in Japan is still at 1-in-5 mobile phone owners, new numbers from comScore today show Japan’s smartphone market is also quickly becoming dominated by Apple and Google. To be specific, 95.6-percent of smartphones in the country are Android or iPhone, and Apple has outgrown Google in the last three months while Android’s share remains steady.

Japan Stories March 23, 2012

Google launched its Street View galleries this past week for Amazon and Thailand without a hiccup, but the Internet giant was not-so lucky elsewhere, as it has faced many obstacles over its mapping applications throughout the globe—especially in Asia.

Reuters published a lengthy reported today detailing how Google often meets hurdles worldwide, such as the recent debacle on its privacy policy, and it fully described the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company’s tenacious attempts to chart the streets and landscapes of Asia while consistently meeting privacy, political, and cultural barriers.

For those that live under a rock: Google Street View is a service highlighted in Google Maps and Google Earth that offers panoramic views of streets. It launched in 2007 in the United States and has expanded to many cities and rural areas worldwide.

A round up of Asia’s criticisms is below.

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Japan Stories January 30, 2012

Ever since the original iPhone redefined the smartphone and Android became popular, carriers in the United States were caught flat-footed and they have constantly been whining about an undesired network impact caused by data-hungry owners of iPhones and Android devices.

While U.S. carriers are to blame for their years-long reluctance to upgrade their infrastructure and prepare for the inevitable surge in traffic, wireless operators elsewhere have mostly been able to mitigate the issue. Nevertheless, with 700,000 Android devices being activated each day, and the rising popularity of Google’s platform in Japan, it was only a matter of time before Japanese carriers faced similar hurdles as their U.S. peers.

According to a Reuters report citing a local newspaper story by the business daily Nikkei, Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo said a recent network outage is to blame for a heavy surge in traffic caused by some data-centric Android apps that move large chunks of bits through its cellular network. Specifically, the carrier made claims that VoIP apps disrupted the service and is now requesting that Google do something about it:

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Japan Stories December 15, 2011

For the eleventh year in a row, Google publishes its annual overview of the fastest-growing search terms of the past year, providing a pretty accurate overview of search trends on the Google.com search engine. Called Zeitgeist, it “sorts billions of Google searches to capture the year’s ten fastest-rising global queries and the rest of the spirit of 2011”, says the official Zeitgeist site. We find the initiative pretty interesting. Not only does it offer a valuable insight into what searches revealed about the interests of users, it also reveals the issues that have troubled the world throughout the year.

A couple interesting highlights, per Google’s blog post:

• Rebecca Black was the #1 fastest rising query globally and Google’s own Google+ social thing is ranked second • Adele made the fastest rising lists in over 15 countries • Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs made the list (mark 1:50 in the above clip), as did reality star Ryan Dunn and defendant Casey Anthony • iPad 3 and iPhone 5 were among the often-searched terms (no surprises here) • Devotees turned to Google following the April 4 passing of Sai Baba, an Indian guru, spiritual figure, mystic, philanthropist, and educator • cupcakes made top food lists in over a dozen countries • Hurricane Irene in the U.S. and earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan also topped the charts as thousands of people affected by those natural disasters turned to Google.com to seek information about their loved ones

These are just a few of the many noteworthy findings of Zeitgeist 2011. Make sure to check out the official site, they’ve really upped the ante in the visualization department. We especially like detailed infographics and the tools allowing visitors to mine whatever data interests them most, and even compare terms across categories.

Twitter and Yahoo did a similar thing so you may wanna have a look at Twitter’s Year in Review and Yahoo’s Top Searches of 2011.

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Japan Stories December 13, 2011

Google has kept it promise and released an updated Street View imagery documenting the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that had partially destroyed or completelly wiped out large parts of Northeastern Japan. The search company described in a blog post how starting inland and venturing out toward the coast “you’ll see the idyllic countryside change dramatically, becoming cluttered with mountains of rubble and debris as you get closer to the ocean”.

They also added a timestamp to the bottom left corner of each image helping you to contextualize what you’re seeing. This new timestamp feature is now available on Street View imagery worldwide, Google noted. The street-level imagery of the affected areas are truly shocking to those of us lucky enough not to experience a natural disaster of such magnitude.

As people were sifting through wreckage caused by the devastating quake-tsunami combination, Google sent out Street View cars to capture the 360-degree panoramic imagery of the scene some nine months later. An even more horrifying depiction can be found at Google’s newly set up site called Build the Memory that has the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos.

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Japan Stories October 13, 2011

In what looks like Toughbook tech for tablets, Panasonic Japan has announced a new lineup of rugged, built for business Android tablets.

The two models to debut in the BizPad tablet line include the 7-inch BizPad JT-580VT and the 10.1-inch BizPad JT-581VT. Both tablets, according to TechCrunch, are water-, dust-, and shock-proof, with the 10.1-inch model able to absorb impacts from up to an 80cm fall, and 120cm for the 7-inch.

The BizPad T-581VT(above) sports a 10.1-inch 1024×800 LCD display, built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, a 1.3-megapixel camera, weighs in at 700g. We aren’t sure when the device will be landing stateside, but Japanese users will get their hands on in January of next year.

The 7-inch T-581VT BizPad model (below) packs in 3G capabilities, a 5-megapixel camera, and a 7-inch 1024×600 resolution LCD display, built-in 802.11a/b/g/n, and weighs in at 400g. It’s doesn’t look as pretty as many of the other Android tablet alternatives, or even the 10.1-inch BizPad, but certainly looks like it can handle some abuse. This model will hit Japan in December.

Features included in both devices: expand full story

Japan Stories September 8, 2011

Japanese carrier Docomo sold 100,000 Galaxy S II phones in the first three days and today they launched an LTE version of the Galaxy Tab tablet.

Apple’s patent infringement claims against Samsung now include twelve courts in nine countries on four continents. Reuters reported this morning that Apple is now formally suing Samsung in Japan and seeking to block sales of Samsung phones and tablets in the country:

Apple has filed a suit with the Tokyo District Court seeking the suspension of sales of Galaxy S and its sequel S II smartphones and the Galaxy Tab 7 in Japan, according to sources close to the matter. The first hearing was held on Wednesday, the source said.

The iPhone maker is seeking 100 million yen, or approximately $1.3 million, in damages. Apple previously had filed four complaints before the Tokyo District Court, according to patent expert Florian Müller. Coincidentally, Japan is also another high-revenue market for Apple. Other countries where Apple took Samsung to court include Germany, U.K., U.S., Australia and more.

Samsung’s Galaxy S has outsold the iPhone in Japan last year. In July of this year, Samsung announced sales of three million Galaxy S II phones in 55 days, the successor to the popular Galaxy S handset. Samsung is also the world’s #2 smartphone maker, after Apple. The Korean company surprised investors by deciding against divulging sales of phones and tablets in the face of growing competition with Apple. Android-based handsets and iPhones together hold well over three-quarters of the Japanese market for smartphones, forming a duopoly which is present in pretty much every other market where Google and Apple compete are locked in the battle for smartphone supremacy.

Apple is projected to sell 86.4 million iPhones worldwide in 2011 and its iPad is dominating the post-PC world with approximately two-thirds of all tablets sold worldwide. In an interesting twist, court in Australia recently advised the Cupertino, California-headquartered gadget giant to divulge iPad 2 sales figures in the U.S. and U.K. if the Samsung sales blockade is to hold. In a nutshell, judge wants proof that the similarities between Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and iPad 2, which had been first brought to light by Apple, have in fact hurt iPad 2 sales.

Last week Apple successfully banned the new Galaxy Tab 7.7 from the IFA show in Germany. Samsung will also cease to market that device in the country until its legal dispute with Apple is resolved. Samsung, also Apple’s supplier of memory chips, processors and other components, considers litigation with Apple as “destiny”, their CEO Choi Gee-sung told reporters in Korea last week:

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Japan Stories July 11, 2011

Nearly three-quarters of Android sales in Britain during a twelve-week period ended June 12 came from people upgrading from so-called feature phones to their first smartphone. In addition, only 1.8 percent of new Android sales came from iOS users jumping ship, a Kantar Woldpanel ComTech survey reveals. The research didn’t take into account corporate sales or contracts and was based on extensive interviews with up to one million consumers in Europe alone.

Android has grown its share of total US handset market to 9.2 percent in June of this year, up over just one percent a year ago. The platform had a 45.20 percent share of the entire smartphone market in the country, while iOS fell from 30.6 percent share in June 2010 to 18.3 percent share in June 2011. A big part of this was price: Apple’s is among the priciest consumer smartphones and only 45 percent contracts offer the device for free versus 90 percent for Android phones.

The fall of iOS came as a result of the overall UK market growing at a faster pace than iPhone sales, which have been overshadowed for the past two months as Samsung’s Galaxy S II smartphone emerged as the best-selling smartphone. In the US, Android and iOS had 57 percent and 28.7 percent market share last month, respectively. Android is clearly victorious in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and Japan, where the platform enjoys a whopping 64.7 percent share of the smartphone market versus 27.7 percent for iOS.

Kantar analysts predict that by this time next year smartphones would account for nearly 50 percent of the overall handset market, thanks to more and more feature phone owners dumping their devices for smartphones. This is not unexpected because trends hint that eventually all phones will become smartphones. Other phone vendors are experiencing sharp declines around the world, especially Symbian which has been bleeding share as Nokia fights for survival.

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Japan Stories May 26, 2011

Samsung’s Galaxy S, arguably the most successful consumer smartphone powered by Google’s software, has outsold Apple’s baby for the first time in Japan where the iPhone has been a huge hit. The achievement has enabled Samsung to climb on the list of Japan’s top handset makers to the fourth slot, ahead of local vendors NEC, Casio and Kyocera. Furthermore, Android has flown by iOS in just three quarters and Android smartphones are now outselling iOS smartphones in the country. That’s the gist of a Strategy Analytics survey of Japan’s smartphone market based on first quarter shipments. Their director Neil Mawston explains in an InfoMobile story:

Strategy Analytics believes that the healthy demand for the Android-powered Galaxy S at NTT DoCoMo drove Samsung growth in Japan. Samsung is the main player behind surging Android smartphone sales, followed by Sharp. Japan had always had a unique competitive landscape, but is now looking more and more like any other advanced smartphone market in the world as Android has flown by iOS in just three quarters.

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Japan Stories May 10, 2011

(Cross-posted from 9to5Mac.com)

A pattern is emerging in smartphones. Think about it, the same scenario has been playing out over and over in every territory where Google and Apple battle for supremacy. Apple first wows the market with its iPhone. Then, Google brute forces its way into the game and eventually takes the lead thanks to countless Android handsets in all shapes, sizes and price points, carried by virtually all wireless operators. Japan, however, is an indication of a new pattern that has iOS and Android forming a duopoly that squeezes out entrenched players, upping the barrier to entry.

In the latest survey of the Japanese market by MMI Research Institute reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, Android posted an incredible 2,000 percent year-over-year growth, capturing 57 percent of the country’s 2010 smartphone market versus 38 percent for Apple’s handset (as big as anywhere) – a notable decline for the iPhone’s 72 percent share from a year earlier and also a catastrophic loss for other platforms.

Shipments of Android phones rose to 4.91 million units in the year ended March 31, Tokyo-based MM Research said in a statement today. That compares with sales of 250,000 units, or 11 percent of the market, a year earlier when devices running Google’s software started to be widely available in Japan.

Apple shipped 3.23 million iPhones in the country in the last fiscal year, all sold excursively via Softbank. The combined 57 percent share for Android plus 38 percent for iPhone leaves little room for Nokia and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion. Both brands have been reduced to the Others category with a minuscule five percent market share. Is this a sign of things to come? Read on…

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