‘Cause It Ain’t Got Flash

Techmeme is clustering on a survey of 402 people in Japan, and found that 91% were not immediately planning on entering The iPhone Experience. Couple of different takeaways on that:

  • Anthony Ha had a telling line this afternoon: “iPhone is the tech blogosphere equivalent of Brad and Angelina.” Same thing with the mention in the Adobe Analyst Call… didn’t warrant the attention… same with the discussions about a new JavaScript framework. This is audience-driven news (“Would you like to supersize that?”), with a life of its own.

  • The native-English techblog elite are not the whole of technology today. Silicon Valley prompts a lot of conversation, but most people who use technology are not native English speakers. Yes, other people may make different choices. It’s important to understand why they do.
  • Mobile adoption is based on what your friends are doing. Apple has an exceptionally strong brand in Japan, but a new type of choice in pocket devices has a strong social aspect. We can expect regional differences in how devices and applications are received, and must learn from them.
  • California has been backwards and weirdly retro in mobile phones for a long, long time. Apple’s iPhone helped this impoverished culture embrace advanced pocket functionality. Techmeme and similar sites are very California-centric. It’s a distorted worldview.
  • Japan has had a very strong mobile culture for a very long time. A new entrant would have to prove they could support how people already use their phones. And manufacturers attuned to the local markets have not been standing still….
  • Considering that Flash Lite has been ubiquitous in Japan, Korea, and other mobile-savvy societies, you could say “People in Japan don’t want an iPhone, ’cause it ain’t got Flash” but that would be too facile. I just put that in the title to attract some trolls…. ;-)

Large computers may not be used all that differently across cultures, but personal devices sure are driven by our surroundings, as are the social applications built atop them. When we see a shocking difference like this iSHARE survey, it’s good to take some time, and see what the difference is all about.