Japanese cellphone makers can’t catch a break – they’ve been focusing on the domestic market with functions like water resistance and digital wallets, but despite their best efforts they're actually losing domestic market share, reports Nikkei. According to data released Tuesday, mobile phones and PHS handsets (an Asian standard operating in the 1880-1930MHz frequency band) from Japanese manufacturers fell 11.1 percent year-over-year, sinking to 29.58 million units, while the entire market — including handsets from foreign makers — actually grew four percent. Offerings from companies like Apple, Samsung, and LG are hot sellers in Japan, and foreign makers are estimated to have nearly 60 percent of the handset market there.
In order to compete abroad, Panasonic and Sharp are trying out handset designs that are less distinctly Japanese, such as the 102P and 104SH, eschewing features like infrared data for a more global appeal. All in all, it hasn’t been a good year for Japanese tech firms, and we hope the new back-to-basics approach to design can help turn things around.