While most of the world has already submerged itself into the culture of smartphones, Japan’s seemingly — and strangely — remains faithful, unaffected, and loyal to the mobile phone type that has epitomized Japanese culture, the feature phone. Also called the flip phone and oftentimes described as the “Galapagos phone” to indicate its inability to survive in other cultures, network carriers of these feature phones can fully testify to the fact these phones continue to enjoy a huge following in Japan despite having lost ground to smartphones in the past few years.
There was a time when Japan’s largest mobile carrier NTT Docomo Inc. was among those that did not offer Apple’s iPhone on its lineup, preferring to be loyal to feature phones which at a point was the center of its main bulk of its services and models. And although Docomo finally succumbed to the iPhone, the mobile carrier still has feature phones in its lineup. Just last week, Docomo unveiled two new models of feature phones and also announced a new color available for an older model. The F-07F is the latest model from electronics maker Fujitsu and was launched by the network carrier last week. It features a 13-megapixel camera for those selfie moments, a 3.3-inch color display and a 1,000mAh battery. While these specs may seem amateur compared to the specs that even entry-level smartphones have out there, this feature phone seems to have the support of all the loyal Japanese flip phone users — it seems that these specs and features are good enough for them whose preferences lie along the lines of simplicity.
Smartphones, such as those from Apple and Samsung, may have the advantage of its software technology, allowing numerous applications to be downloaded, but feature phones have the advantage of more versatile and sturdy hardware that costs less to manufacture. However, with the subsidies network carriers receive from smartphone device makers, it would seem cheaper to get a smartphone. Even with smartphones having this advantage, feature phones seem to be deeply embedded in Japanese culture and they may just stay alive for a longer time than we would think.