The iPhone's popularity in Japan is cracking open an industry long thought inaccessible to outsiders.
For years, the typical Japanese cell phone – built to operate on a network hardly used anywhere else in the world – as been stuffed with quirky games and other applications that cater to finicky local tastes.
If you buy an iPhone on a deal from China Unicom, the official telecom carrier that offers iPhones in the Chinese market, then you cannot split that deal. But this is what scalpers have been doing and it has allowed iPhone users to end up with China Mobile, China Unicom's giant competitor.
The new restrictions took effect last Wednesday for new customers and will not affect existing customers.
The iPhone is hot in China and in Canada where Apple's share of the mobile market is around 12.4 percent. In France its mobile market share reaches 11.6 percent. In the UK Apple commands 10 percent of the market. In contrast, Apple's mobile market share in the US is just 6.5 percent.
In China, despite being on China Unicom, the nation's second-largest carrier with only 20 percent of the subscribers of leader China Mobile – there are now more than a million contract users of Apple's iPhone.
Despite assumptions that the iPhone would struggle to achieve a foothold in Japan, a country on the cutting edge of mobile technology, the iPhone has taken the land of the rising sun by storm.
Tokyo-based research firm MMRI is reporting that the iPhone remains as popular as ever in Japan, accounting for 60.1 percent of all smartphones sold from April through September 2010. In the broader mobile phone market, the iPhone accounts for an impressive 7 percent of the Japanese mobile phone market.
China Unicom wants to end rogue sales of its bundled iPhone 4 packages.
The company found online deals where consumers purchase iPhone 4 services and then sell off the parts - the phone and the two-year service subscription - separately for a profit.
The iPhone 4, offered at a reduced rate through China Unicom on a two-year mobile subscription contract, includes a monthly rebate from the company if call limits are met.
Lenovo in China is, apart from computers, one of the cellphone manufacturers. It has now released the Lenovo LePhone in the US. The LePhone is an unlocked GSM smartphone with a 1Gigahertz processor and an Active-matrix organic light-emitting diode display which is in feel, if not totally in appearance, practically a clone of Apple’s iPhone.
It runs with an Android operating system and has, by all reports, an astoundingly sharp screen. Memory can be expanded to 32GB and it has Bluetooth, WiFi and everything else.
The UK's first barcode scanner was launched by Tesco last week, enabling householders to scan any grocery item and add it to a home delivery order instantly.
The barcode reader, which has been added to the existing Tesco Groceries app available on the iPhone, is being targeted at busy parents and time-poor professionals who want to be able to add specific items to their online shopping basket at any time rather than browsing for groceries to add to their shopping lists in the traditional way.
Apple's handful of branded retail stores in China have become the busiest among its 317 shops worldwide, according to the maker of the iPod, iPhone and iPad.
More aggressive retail expansion for Apple in China is expected amid high domestic demand for its new smartphone and media-tablet products.
As Apple Inc. prepared to announce its fourth-quarter results, analysts were forecasting it would have sold another 5 million iPads and around 12m more of the iPhone 4 devices it released in June.
If the company's numbers are good, Apple, which was valued last week at USD274 billion, looks set to become the most valuable company in the world in terms of market capitalisation – surpassing current leader ExxonMobil.
Apple says it is now accepting pre-orders for iPhone 4s in China and limiting customers to one phone per purchase, a measure that could give regular consumers a way to beat scalpers who have been selling marked-up devices directly in front of Apple's retail stores in Shanghai and Beijing.
Customers in the world's largest mobile market must now try to place an order on the company's Chinese website using their identification number.