South Korean and Taiwanese companies have been making it big in the world of smartphones. At the same time Japanese consumer electronic giants only have a presence in their home country. I’ve been meaning to write a post about this for some time, and it would have gone something like this. Japanese companies like Panasonic and Sharp make great devices, absolutely fantastic hardware. A while back I was a devotee of Sharp feature phones, but then they slowly disappeared from non-Asian markets. So what was keeping Japanese phones away from international markets? Software. They had the hardware ironed out but it was impossible to write software for any number of markets.
The takeaway of my imaginary article was that the rapid emergence of Android presented a great opportunity for Japanese giants to finally make a comeback. It doesn’t guarantee them success however. HTC churns out great devices by the dozen, and Samsung is currently the most popular Android manufacturer. Japanese companies have been finding it more difficult to sell their quality wares abroad as people increasingly go for value for money rather than high-end products. For example Panasonic, which makes great TV sets, is taking a beating from Samsung on flat panel sales.