The newest vodafone unit, the Sharp 904-SH, is like a mini deity. Check out this feature list: VGA screen, Bluetooth with a neat new ‘near chat’, letting you talk to people within a ten metre radius, 3.2 megapixel camera (featuring an incredible zoom mechanism, with 5 lenses!), optical zoom, motion sensor gaming, Felica e-payment chip, 3D sound, face recognition, 3G, GPS, SD card, W-CDMA + GSM, USB, infrared, video output, Flash animation, and QR code reading capability.
The top of the line Motorola does, let’s see, less than half that, and costs twice as much. Japanese manufacturers, combined, have less than a 10% market shar of worldwide phone sales. Vodafone was uniquely positioned, as the only Japanese carrier, to launch these amazing phones – most of which were already running in 100% English – worldwide.
So, as far as I’m concerned, they deserve to lose Japan. They squandered the resource, fuck ’em. Not being able to take advantage of these kinds of capabilities speaks of nigh criminal incompetence. SoftBank, a large ISP and publisher, will be buying what’s left of Vodafone in Japan. They can’t possibly do worse than Vodafone themselves did. With luck they’ll change their name back to J-Phone, and forget this nasty little incident ever happened.