Cellphones a lifeline for Japanese

Cellphones a lifeline for Japanese
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First Published: Wed, Mar 07 2007. 03 48 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Mar 07 2007. 03 48 PM IST
TOKYO: If you thought that using cell phones for texting messages and chatting was a very modern thing, well think again.
If a recent survey from the world’s most technologically savvy country -- Japan, is any indication, then we in India are eons behind in the kind of usage we put our snazzy handsets to.
According to the findings of a survey carried out by Neptro IT, a technical solutions provider, amongst 3,750 Japanese, an average Japanese uses the cellphone more to download music, indulge in online shopping, book tickets for operas and films and confirm reservations at restaurants, rather than just “keep in touch” through SMS or indulge in plain simple mobile talk.
As many as 90% of the respondents admitted to the cellphone changing their lives dramatically. Nearly 70% admitted that they were writing fewer letters and postcards and 11% said their real-life interaction had plummeted.
Japan has more than 100 million cellphone subscribers in a population of 127 million and the numbers are only increasing. Mobile usage itself has gone up from that of a year ago, when one in four young Japanese said they spent more than three hours on their phones.
Bulk users in Japan are in the 20 to 40 age group, of which 16% spend three to five hours a day on their mobiles. 9% of them use their phones for five to 10 hours and 4% go even beyond 10 hours.
It was only an insignificant 16% (younger generation) who said that they used their mobile phones for “old fashioned things like chatting and sending text messages”.
For 40% users, online shopping was the most popular service available on mobile phones, followed by 38% who most enjoyed downloading music.
But then Japan is in the throes of a third-generation of telephones, which allow advanced functions such as Internet browsing and online shopping as a norm not an exception.
Now where does that leave countries like the US where more than 90% people have mobile handsets but use it essentially for staying in touch, or of select European countries which plan to ban mobile usage in restaurants, book stores and other public places.
A time to re-evaluate what is modern and trendy perhaps?
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First Published: Wed, Mar 07 2007. 03 48 PM IST
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