Recently, I’ve been reporting about Bold’s in Japan overheating. The article caused a lot of people to start commenting about what it’s like owning a BlackBerry in their part of the world. I find RIM’s presence in Japan really interesting because previously, North American smartphones would be considered not powerful enough for the Japanese market. Since there are so many questions, I decided to ask a Japanese BBCool reader what he thinks about his latest BlackBerry Bold purchase.
BlackBerryCool: Why did you buy a BlackBerry?
Makoto Kazuo: I work in an international team and all my American colleagues have one. I thought it was a really cool technology. I’m a research assistant and do lots of fieldwork. I need to access my email while I’m out of my office. Carrying my laptop around for that purpose wasn’t very fun. And the QWERTY keyboard was a big plus. When you have to type long texts (sometimes I write myself a long email as a field note), it’s a must. So when it came out here, I bought it right away.
BBCool: How does it compare to Japanese smartphones?
MK: While Japanese cell phones have lots of high functions (3G Internet, mobileg TV, video chat, mobile wallet etc), I don’t know if they are “smartphones” in a regular “western” sense. I think the iphone was the first big smartphone hit in Japan, but the touch screen just didn’t work for me.
BBCool: What are important features in a phone, in your opinion?
MK: Email/Internet Browser/GPS Map/Camera. I didn’t really find GPS maps important until I got my blackberry though. Now I can’t live without it!
BBCool: Are you happy with your purchase?
BBCool: What could BlackBerry do to satisfy more Japanese customers?
MK: Although they did a great job on Japanese language input system, not all services are compatible. Like, one of our main complaints is that it doesn’t work with DocsToGo. And no one is making Japanese applications.
BBCool: Will you be buying another BlackBerry?
MK: I’m quite happy with the Bold for now, but I am curious to see what new models they might add to the lineup.
So it seems that DK would fit into a group of Japanese BlackBerry owners that do a great deal of international business. Of the 4,000 Bolds that were sold in Japan, I’m sure MK’s situation is very similar to the majority of these users. On the other hand, I’m sure there are users in Japan who bought the device for other reasons.
I’m still curious to know why someone who lives in Japan and does not work in English, owns a BlackBerry. The QWERTY isn’t very Japanese friendly, and I’d be surprised if BlackBerry supports the Japanese style of emoticons – emoji. Perhaps the purchase is more one of status, like owning a Ford in Thailand.
Do you live in a country other than the US, Canada, UK and Australia? Tell us about your BlackBerry experience.