The feature that was originally supposed to keep the iPhone from winning in Japan--lack of an electronic wallet function common to most Japanese phones--proved to be meaningless in the end. Nevertheless, KDDI is hanging the fortunes of its new Sharp IS03 on the fact that it is the country's first smartphone with an electronic wallet feature.
Using the Android operating system, the phone also includes other Japan-specific features such as a 1Seg television option, and a business card reader. KDDI's Takashi Tanaka told the press, "All the smartphones available until now lacked these features, and it was conventional wisdom that a user would have two phones to cover all their needs... We finally have one phone that will do everything." Whether this more market-specific smartphone will topple the iPhone in Japan may ultimately depend more on the power of Google's Android operating system versus Apple's IOS and established brand cool, rather than a few extra features.