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Since sometime in the middle of 2013, a majority of the installed base of smartphones in Japan have been running Android operating systems, according to research from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
The vast majority of remaining smartphone handsets in Japan run iOS—overall, as of April 2014, 45.1% of smartphone users had iPhones. And the Apple devices were actually stealing small amounts of share from the Android majority, which was down to 50.4%.
But Japan has been—perhaps surprisingly—relatively slow on the uptake when it comes to smartphones. Early, “smart” feature phones in the country that had internet capabilities satisfied consumers for several years, and many have still not upgraded.
As recently as April 2013, just over three in 10 mobile phones in Japan were smartphones. And still, as of April 2014, fewer than four in 10 mobile phones were smartphones—meaning there was still a large installed base of feature phone users in the country who, while they may be connected to the mobile internet, will have to be reached in different ways by marketers.
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