Archive for Hardware

45% of older Japanese feel their hearing is going

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The company Rion recently published the results of a survey into hearing aids for older people.

Interestingly, the company Rion was also responsible for designing the neutrino detecters that recently earnt a Japanese physicist a Nobel Prize; they also have an English magazine describing how they developed the detectors which might be more interesting than this survey…

A couple of years ago I looked into prices of hearing aids and it was quite frightening (300,000 yen or more), and unless you are certified as deaf you have to pay full whack – there is zero support from national health insurance, and even officially deaf people have to rely on local government handouts that may or may not cover the total cost. I read a couple of years ago that the hearing aid market was ripe for disruption; surely given the ubiquity of smartphones it would be possible to make the earpiece just a dumb speaker, then build an aural profile of one’s ear state and download it to a smartphone, add a decent microphone, and Bob’s your uncle?

Here’s a 1960s made in Japan hearing aid:

Vintage Chic Transistorized (Body) Hearing Aid, Model TR-6, 4 Transistors, Manufactured By Conny Industrial Co., Ltd., Made In Japan, Circa Early 1960s
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Japanese students too want Apple computers

This survey from Ringrow, a computer and other electronics refurbishment company, looked at university students and computers.

I am far too old to have experienced any of this computer stuff at university, and my dissertation was prepared on a terminal in Tex and vi, if I remember correctly.

One interesting figure you might spot is that 7.7% use a smartphone and 21.9% a computer for lecture notes, leaving about two-thirds presumably taking notes on paper. I would have thought that a computer might be faster, but I don’t know if it a typing speed issue, kanji conversion bottleneck, using pen and paper makes it easier to remember, or if just that many lecturers ban computers as distractions. Or if you want to go all Japan Cultural Expert, is the sound of tapping on the keyboard rude? Any current students or lecturers out there with an insight? Previous surveys of the general population have indicated that there is about a 50:50 desktop to notebook split, so it isn’t just that everyone has a desktop, I don’t think.

Here’s some classic art brought up-to-date…

Blogging in Edo
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Japanese quite open to home robots, Roomba and friends most popular

Would you like to have a robot around the house? graph of japanese statistics@nifty recently surveyed its members to find out their opinions on robots.

I don’t know what ASIMO, Honda’s walking robot, is doing in the list of household robots; as far as I am aware it is nothing more than a technology promotion, with no plans to commercialise. I’m also surprised to see Panasonic’s Mr Evolta, which again I understand to be just a vehicle for promoting their recharable batteries. Regardless, it’s interesting to so how well-known these names are.

This is my favourite robot statue that pre-dates the more famous life-size Gundam, a life-size Testujin 28-go.

Tetsujin 28
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One in four Japanese fancy buying the Nintendo Switch

Will you buy a Nintendo Switch? graph of japanese statistics

With the Nintendo Switch now released, this survey is perhaps slightly outdated, but regardless, here is a look at purchase intentions regarding the Nintendo Switch.

The 1-2-Switch party game pack looks like fun after a night in the pub, I suppose, and the adverts for the Zelda title look lovely, but who knows how the game play actually is!

This might be another nice title?

Splatoon 2 Announced At Nintendo Switch Conference
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One in four thinking about a new iPhone, most want more battery life

Might you buy the new iPhone 7? graph of japanese statisticsWith the new iPhone 7 expected to be announced next week, this is a timely survey reported on by Internetcom and conducted by Macromill into the new iPhone.

The rumours I’ve heard are no headphone jack; Bluetooth only, which I can believe Apple would do regardless of customer complaints; and support for Japan’s Felica NFC chip standard, to allow it to be used on public transport here, which I would be surprised to see.
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Intelligent robots: friends or foes?

Do you hold hopes or fears for Biglobe recently published an interesting survey looking at machine intelligence, synchronised with the Japanese release of the movie Ex Machina.

Given the lack of penetration of any kind of automation tools in the average Japanese workplace, I think the chances of a revolution here are relatively low. On the other hand, if someone teaches the AI how to use a fax, heaven help Japan!

Here’s Pepper and a couple of friends:

Say hello to newest Cusco campaign team! Pepper the Customer Greeting Robot. #PepperRobot #CuscoJapan #CuscoRacing #TakasakiKusuko #campaigngirl #racequeen
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One in three Japanese clinging to their feature phones

Which carrier do you use for your main mobile phone? graph of japanese statisticsInternetcom recently reported on a survey by MMD into feature phones, bog-standard non-smart phones.

My two-year mobile phone contract is up for renewal this month, and after a short visit to my local Docomo shop, I found that I will be paying about 7,000 yen, the cheapest data plan they offer, for up to three gigabytes of data, free wifi and a few free minutes, not that I actually phone anyone much. On the other hand, I can get a cheap SIM, including getting my current number moved over, with the same 3 gigs of data and fee wifi, for about 1,500 yen per month. A hard choice…
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One in five Japanese internet users have a tablet computer

Do you currently have a tablet computer? graph of japanese statisticsLifemedia Research recently conducted a survey into tablet computers. This is the sixth time they have conducted this annual survey; last year 18.8% of the sample owned a tablet, so ownership has grown, but of the non-owners, 46.0% last year wanted one, whereas this time the interest has dropped to 38.5%.

Demographics

Between the 26th of December 2014 and the 7th of January 2015 2,400 members of the Lifemedia research panel completed a privagte internet-based questionnaire. The sample was exactly 50:50 male and female, and exactly one-sixth in each of the age bands of twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties.

I recently got a free wifi-only eight-inch LG G Pad from my cable provider, but I’ve only actually used it once to update the software! My wife has rarely used it too, and her main use of the PC involves Flash applications, so I think the device will be gathering a lot of dust.
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Worryingly significant number of Japanese use silent camera apps

How often do you take photos with your smartphone? graph of japanese statistics

Mobile Marketing Data Laboratory recently conducted another survey that proved interesting despite the rather plain title of The use of smartphone camera apps.

Demographics

Between the 14th and 16th of November 2013 558 members of the MMD Labo monitor group completed a private internet-based questionniare. The respondents were aged 18 or older, and all were smartphone users, but further statistics were not presented.

The reason I mentioned the silent camera apps being worrying in the headline is that although I’m sure it is only intended for not scaring pets or babies, hardly a week in Japan seems to go by without a public servant being arrested for upskirt photos, so a silent camera is one way to get around the mandatory shutter noise that all phones in Japan must make.
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Three in ten Japanese recharge their smartphones twice or more a day

About how often do you recharge your smartphone? graph of japanese statisticsThis survey from goo Research, reported on by japan.internet.com, perhaps gives one a hint as to how addicted people are to their smartphones, as this look at smartphone recharging finds many burning through their batteries.

Demographics

Between the 28th of October and the 3rd of November 2013 1,082 members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 53.8% of the sample were male, 13.8% in their teens, 15.4% in their twenties, 21.3% in their thirties, 17.2% in their forties, 14.8% in their fifties, and 17.5% aged sixty or older.

I manage to get three or four days out of a charge of my smartphone, but that is due to me only using it as an alarm clock, for occasional email and a couple of minutes of surfing per day.
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