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  • Japan's Mobile Terminal Market Expands in 1998: IDC Report
  • December 28, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Japan's shipments of mobile information terminals in calendar 1998 reached 1.61 million units, for a year-on-year increase of 41.3 percent, according to a survey conducted by International Data Corp. Japan.
    Shipments of such devices are expected to reach 3.65 million units in 2002, the survey said. The IDC Japan survey is entitled The Birthplace of Handheld Devices: The Japan Smart Handheld Device Market Review and Forecast, 1997-2002. This was the first survey IDC Japan conducted on the market for mobile information terminals in Japan.

    IDC Japan divided such terminals into the following three categories: (1) handheld companions, (2) smart phones, and (3) vertical application devices. (The terms are not widely used.)

    A total of 890,000 units of handheld companions were shipped in 1998, for a 34.8 percent increase over the previous year. This category comprises the following three product types: personal digital assistants (PDAs), as represented by Sharp Corp.'s Zaurus series; personal companions, or devices for use in sending or receiving email; and PC companions, such as mobile devices with the Windows CE operating system.

    Among these types, IDC Japan projects that the PDA has the largest potential for sales growth.

    Smart phones are either cellular phones or personal handy phone system (PHS) phones equipped with email transmission features or other features. A total of 370,000 units of smart phones were shipped, for a year-on-year increase of 115 percent. The mean retail price of smart phones available in shops is 37,000 yen (US$320), which is a reasonable price for most buyers.

    Vertical application devices are data-input terminals for business use. Examples are mobile terminals used by transportation companies for freight management or by retailers for inventory control. Shipments of vertical application devices reached 360,000 units, for a 14 percent increase over the previous year.

    (BizTech News Dept.)

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    Updated: Thu Dec 24 17:22:27 1998 PDT