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

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…

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%.


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.

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.


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.

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, 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.


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.

Two in three feature phone users upgrading to a smartphone

Which kind of mobile phone upgrade did you do? graph of japanese statisticsMobile Marketing Data Laboratory recently published a very interesting “fixed point” survey regarding mobile handset purchasing. I’m not sure exactly what a “fixed point” is; it might be referring to this being a regular survey?


Between the 11th and 15th of October 2013 995 members of the MMD Labo monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. All of them had purchased a mobile phone between April and September of 2013, and all were aged over 18 but under 65 years old, but no further demographics were given.

Note that regarding Q1SQ2, docomo only sells the newer iPhones 5s and 5c, yet even though they only came out on the 20th of September, they made up nearly 20% of docomo’s sales in just 5% of the half-year measured! They also made up nearly 25% of SoftBank’s sales, but that could be explained by people holding off upgrading until the new model came out.

Just 11% interested in a Microsoft Surface Pro 2

Do you want to buy the Surface Pro 2? graph of japanese statisticsFollowing on from a look at Apple iPad Air and mini Retina Display devices, Mobile Marketing Data Laboratories followed up with the Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2.


Over the 25th and 26th of October 2013 2,204 members of the MMD Labo monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. All of the sameple were over the age of 15, but further demographics were not forthcoming.

Nokia have also recently announced a Surface 2 tablet (non-Pro means it runs on ARM, so doesn’t support legacy Windows programs) that sounds rather good, but the price is still borderline for my wallet once my netbook finally expires, especially once the keyboard price is factored in. I’ve also recently converted by netbook to Linux, so if it did expire, I’d probably be in the market for a (second-hand?) low-end net/notebook to bung Linux on.

Back to the survey, I was surprised to see that the desire to purchase was only 50% or less than the desire to buy a new iPad. I’d have thought the Surface has a much more business-oriented image but not quite good enough yet to replace a MacBook or an Ultrabook.

Almost one in five Japanese want an iPad Air

Do you want to buy an iPad Air? graph of japanese statisticsWith the official launch of the new iPad and iPad mini next month, Mobile Marketing Data Labo took a look at views on the iPad Air and iPad mini Retina Display.


Over the 23rd and 24th of October 2013 4,414 members of the MMD monitor panel completed a private internet-based questionnaire. The sample was of both sexes over the age of fifteen, but no further information was provided.

I won’t be buying an iPad, as I do not like Apple devices. I’ve used one at work recently, but after coming from Android I find it too restrictive, and only one button takes a bit of time to get used to. Furthermore, from a developer perspective, signing issues are a pain and their IDE, XCode, is not intuitive at all.

Note that in Q3SQ and Q4SQ, docomo have not announced whether or not they will be selling the new iPads, but MMD Labo asked the question anyway.

Love of paper keeping Japanese away from ebooks

Have you ever read an electronic book, magazine? graph of japanese recently reported on goo Research’s ninth regular survey into electronic publications, with the article choosing to highlight the negative side, why people don’t read ebooks.


Between the 30th of September and the 3rd of October 2013 1,087 members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 53.7% of the sample were male, 13.8% in their teens, 15.5% in their twenties, 21.8% in their thirties, 17.2% in their forties, 19.6% in their fifties, and 12.1% aged sixty or older.

I’ve got a bunch of free ebooks of Japanese classic novels downloaded from Google Play, but I’m yet to start reading them… I’ve always wanted to get an e-paper reader, although I don’t really know how much I’d actually use it.

Smart appliances: Panasonic in the lead

Have you heard of smartphone-ready home appliances? graph of japanese statistics reported on a subject that I know more about than I can tell you, that of smartphone-ready home appliances, in a survey conducted by goo Research.


Between the 20th and 25th of September 2013 1,082 members of the goo Research online monitor panel completed a private intenet-based questionnaire. 53.7% of the sample were male, 13.7% in their teens, 15.8% in their twenties, 21.7% in their thirties, 17.1% in their forties, 14.6% in their fifties, and 17.1% aged sixty or older.

Here’s a demo from last year’s CEATEC (Japan’s biggest consumer electronics show) where Sharp showed off their take on a Roomba.