Japanese Cellphones Lead in 'smarts'

TOKYO, July 21 (UPI) — Cellphones in Japan are smarter than their U.S. counterparts, but blame it on U.S. service providers, not the phone manufacturers, industry experts say.

Japanese mobile phone operators, led by the country’s largest, NTT DoCoMo, have long provided Japanese consumers with services allowing phones to be used as key cards, personal IDs, transit passes, credit cards and more, LiveScience.com reported Tuesday.

These services turn Japanese cellphones into all-in-one devices that go beyond voice, text or browsing functions, analysts say.

“You can walk out of the house without your wallet, because everything is in your phone,” said Adrian Van Meerbeeck, vice president of research and strategy at DoCoMo USA. “It’s your everything.”

It’s not because of better technology, experts say, but because all the country’s service providers cooperated in putting systems in place to offer Japanese consumers “smart” services.

In contrast, telecoms in the United States still show reluctance to cooperate in a similar manner on technology standards, industry observers say.

“The problem is that all the parties that would have to cooperate in the U.S. to make this happen don’t want to use someone else’s system. So nothing happens,” Ken Dulaney, a vice president and analyst at Gartner Research, said.

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