In Japan, Cellphones Are Too Complicated but the iPhone Is Too Simple

Interesting fact about the laundry list of magical powers bestowed to Japanese cellphones-it makes 'em really hard for mere mortals to use. In this Wired article, Nobi Hayashi (who's like Japan's Pogue) estimates people use less than 5 to 10 percent of their handsets' functions-his Panasonic P905i has a 3-inch TV, 3G, GPS and motion-controlled, Wii-style games, which he shows off to amaze Americans, but in truth most of it doesn't work that great (motion controls are slow, TV cuts out). Complicated menus bury cool functions that you have to dig for like an archaeologist. So the easy-to-use but fairly feature-full iPhone seems like it'd go over well right? Eh, maybe.

Hayashi says that, lacking a more serious camera and stuff like a mobile wallet (actually useful) and LED flashlight, "It may sell modestly as a smart phone or as an upgraded iPod, but it's not quite cutting it as a competitor in our mobile-based culture."

In other words, it needs more features, even though that would result in the kind of feature overload Jobs loathes. And a survey by Japan Railways says that while half of those polled were interested in buying an iPhone, less than a fifth really knew what it is. The Apple brand at work-which might the best thing going for it over there. [Wired]