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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags iphone appsapple iphonenissanJapanceatec 2009yamaha

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

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?