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Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

Yeah, so what do you guys think about all of the recent talk about carriers capping data services? I don't really know how plans work in other countries, but I wonder if you get locked into a contract now for unlimited data, you'll still be able to keep it when the new plans emerge.

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tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

Softbank already does that, but NTT seems to have taken a stance against it with their multiple unlimited data plans for various types of usage, so I really hope it doesn't change...

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

Huh, SB has an unlimited plan, none of my iPhone friends have ever complained about hitting a limit. This thing would affect all smartphones, it's not related to tethering or whatever. From the news reports I've been watching, it seems like all of the carriers are planning to add limits in the future, probably with fees if you go over the ceiling.

Pompous Rhombus
Mar 11, 2007


Can you opt out of the contract if they change the terms of it like that?

Kenishi
Nov 18, 2010


Pompous Rhombus posted:

Can you opt out of the contract if they change the terms of it like that?

I don't know what contract law is like here in Japan, but in the states they can't force you into new terms on a contract that you already signed. The contract and everything on it are good for the duration of the contract. When AT&T dropped there unlimited plan for example, everyone that already had the data plan on the contract was grandfathered into a special plan where they kept the same price they were originally offered and so long as they didn't cancel the contract and kept resigning every 2 years, they could keep it.

I'm not sure how the contracting works with cell phones in Japan since I've yet to actually carry a contract out to completion but if you have to go back in after 2 years and resign again; you may lose the unlimited uncapped plan because they can have you agree to the new system.

I'm a little disappointed by this though if this comes out. The way I always saw it in the states is that ISP and cell carriers always implemented these caps and limits because they were greedy and didn't want to improve their infrastructure because it was always easier to just complain about the "top 3% using tons of bandwidth" and then use that as an excuse to cap everything. I guess it will all depend on what the limit is though.

seorin
May 23, 2005

2 Sun's Dusk (Day 78)
Of the Seven Visions of Seven Trials of the Incarnate, I have now fulfilled the Fifth Trial.

I've read through this entire thread and poked around on the websites for the big three, but I still feel pretty lost - especially since the websites seem really reluctant to disclose price. I'm only going to be here for a year, so I'm pretty sure that I have little choice but to bend over and take it, but I'd like to minimize the damage if possible.

At a minimum, I need a phone - any phone - just to help with meeting up with people and such. If it's not too much more expensive, a smart phone would be cool, since that's what I used in the US and being able to look at google maps on the go is enormously helpful to me. I prefer android over the iPhone because I hate iTunes, but if there is a major price difference, I would go with whatever is cheaper. I'd really appreciate any specific phone/carrier recommendations you guys have, keeping in mind that cost is probably the single greatest deciding factor.

Further complicating things is that I could really use a phone right now, but I won't have a dorm to move into or be able to apply for my foreigner registration card until October. I'm almost completely positive I can't get my phone now, but I'm wondering if one of the carriers has some kind of deal where if I rent a phone from them (or if they magically allow me to get a prepaid), they'll give me some kind of deal later. Failing that, information on the absolute cheapest short-term phone available to someone with basically no documentation besides a visa would be great. If I can get something that works for a couple weeks for around 5,000 yen, I'd probably go for it. I might even be able to get my Japanese friend to help me out with something like that, so as long as it's not straight up illegal (I won't ask him to do that), any options along those lines could be viable as well.

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

seorin posted:

I've read through this entire thread and poked around on the websites for the big three, but I still feel pretty lost - especially since the websites seem really reluctant to disclose price. I'm only going to be here for a year, so I'm pretty sure that I have little choice but to bend over and take it, but I'd like to minimize the damage if possible.

At a minimum, I need a phone - any phone - just to help with meeting up with people and such. If it's not too much more expensive, a smart phone would be cool, since that's what I used in the US and being able to look at google maps on the go is enormously helpful to me. I prefer android over the iPhone because I hate iTunes, but if there is a major price difference, I would go with whatever is cheaper. I'd really appreciate any specific phone/carrier recommendations you guys have, keeping in mind that cost is probably the single greatest deciding factor.

Further complicating things is that I could really use a phone right now, but I won't have a dorm to move into or be able to apply for my foreigner registration card until October. I'm almost completely positive I can't get my phone now, but I'm wondering if one of the carriers has some kind of deal where if I rent a phone from them (or if they magically allow me to get a prepaid), they'll give me some kind of deal later. Failing that, information on the absolute cheapest short-term phone available to someone with basically no documentation besides a visa would be great. If I can get something that works for a couple weeks for around 5,000 yen, I'd probably go for it. I might even be able to get my Japanese friend to help me out with something like that, so as long as it's not straight up illegal (I won't ask him to do that), any options along those lines could be viable as well.

Smartphones are very, very expensive here. There are free old models of normal clamshell phones at every store; prices aren't disclosed online to get you into the store. Shop around, because even insode the same company, there will be a lot of different sales and specials.

Your best bet for now is to go with a rental phone from a company that caters to tourists -- check google.

You won't even be considered for a contract until you've applied for your registration card.

seorin
May 23, 2005

2 Sun's Dusk (Day 78)
Of the Seven Visions of Seven Trials of the Incarnate, I have now fulfilled the Fifth Trial.

Google brought me to Softbank, which suggests I could actually rent an iPhone sim. Is it possible to buy an iPhone here without a contract? I don't know if I want to go all the way back to the airport to pick it up, but I like to know my options.

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

I meant something more like this: http://www.rentafonejapan.com/

seorin
May 23, 2005

2 Sun's Dusk (Day 78)
Of the Seven Visions of Seven Trials of the Incarnate, I have now fulfilled the Fifth Trial.

Welp, my friend took me into a Softbank store, confirmed everything I told him from this thread (yes, I need an alien registration card just to get a pre-paid phone), and then signed the contract for a pre-paid for me and gave me the phone. The Softbank guy didn't say a drat thing, but we both kinda got the feeling that it wasn't really allowed but there also wasn't a better option, so he let it slide. It's no smart phone, but it was cheap enough (11,900 yen with the first 5,000 yen of phone use included), so I may just stick with it instead of entering into a two year contract I intend to break.

If there's any better advice, though, I'd love to hear it. I don't want my friend to somehow get screwed because I'm using a phone that's technically in his name, so if that's a possibility, I'll probably just bite the bullet and get a different phone when I get to Kobe, then send this one back to him.

Ara
Oct 18, 2003





seorin posted:

I don't want my friend to somehow get screwed because I'm using a phone that's technically in his name, so if that's a possibility, I'll probably just bite the bullet and get a different phone when I get to Kobe, then send this one back to him.

It's a prepaid phone. So... don't use it to arrange or commit crimes and I think you'll be safe!

Sheep
Jul 24, 2003


tarepanda posted:

Smartphones are very, very expensive here.

Except the iPhone, which is at once both one of the best phone available on the market, as well as one of the cheapest current generation phones. Go figure.

I can't think of a single reason why anyone would buy a domestic Japanese-made phone anymore, since between the iPhone and whatever HTC/Samsung Android offerings are out, the Japanese models are totally blown out of the water in terms of both price and function.

Edit: maybe if you really need imode or whatever for some silly reason.

Sheep fucked around with this message at Sep 19, 2011 around 13:12

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

Sheep posted:

Except the iPhone, which is at once both the best phone available on the market, as well as one of the cheapest current generation phones. Go figure.

I can't think of a single reason why anyone would buy a domestic Japanese-made phone anymore, since between the iPhone and whatever HTC/Samsung Android offerings are out, the Japanese models are totally blown out of the water in terms of both price and function.

Mobile web is why a lot of Japanese people have both smart and silly phones. Docomo has/had a nice deal where a second phone (silly) would net you a free Galaxy Tab too.

Sheep
Jul 24, 2003


Yeah but that's literally the definition of the Galapagos syndrome. The "mobile web" stuff in Japan is pretty much all kind of terrible and already being quickly outmoded and made obsolete by developments in the west in terms of web content and access as far as I can tell. The only services that I use that require that kind of functionality are my online banking thing, and that's only because they're obstinate about just making an all-in-one site that works on both mobile and desktop platforms. It's like those company intranet services that only work on outdated versions of IE and Java because nobody can be bothered to update them and get with the times.

Anyways that's why I can't do online banking from my phone

vvv

Sheep fucked around with this message at Sep 19, 2011 around 13:20

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

Sheep posted:

Yeah but that's literally the definition of the Galapagos syndrome. The "mobile web" stuff in Japan is pretty much all kind of terrible and already being quickly outmoded and made obsolete by developments in the west in terms of web content and access as far as I can tell. The only services that I use that require that kind of functionality are my online banking thing, and that's only because they're obstinate about just making an all-in-one site that works on both mobile and desktop platforms. It's like those company intranet services that only work on outdated versions of IE and Java because nobody can be bothered to update them and get with the times.

Anyways that's why I can't do online banking from my phone

Some deai sites still require it. I wonder how I know that...

zmcnulty
Jul 26, 2003



Several people I know prefer the numpad for text input. That's why you end up with phones like "The Hybrid" 007SH
http://mb.softbank.jp/mb/smartphone/product/007sh/

Also there's a lot of functionality that smartphones have, and charge for, that simply aren't needed by some people. Fujitsu for example just announced that they are nearing their 20 millionth RakuRaku phone shipment.. AFAIK it's only sold in Japan:
http://pr.fujitsu.com/jp/news/2011/09/15.html

If you only need basic functionality like calling, SMS, and MMS, and it works fine on your current phone, why upgrade? Hell, the latest version has a dedicated button for calling the "RakuRaku Center" where some rep will walk you through any features.

On the other hand, all it will take is some killer apps/custom UI specifically tailored for old people to use, and I think they could be onboarded just as easily to smartphones. Case in point: the success if the iPad amongst the senior population (not that I have any figures to prove that). Touchscreens aren't inherently more complicated than clamshells, hell with the right UI it should be easier for an old person to use a touchscreen.

dtb
Feb 1, 2011

I like to traveling world and take pictures of.

zmcnulty posted:

...hell with the right UI it should be easier for an old person to use a touchscreen.

I remember my grandma had a really hard time with the concept of buttons in the top left and right corners of the keypad that changed functions depending on what was on the screen

Now she has that verizon 'droid' of all things! seems to work well for her because the dial pad on the phone app is pretty big.

zmcnulty
Jul 26, 2003



Rumors of iPhone coming to KDDI:
http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=2...0001-zdn_n-inet

In the US there's already a CDMA iPhone so it's no huge surprise. Will be interesting to see what happens to SoftBank's subscriber numbers. According to the article, when they asked the KDDI president about iPhone on his network back in January he said "no comment."

KDDI has a press conference for Sept 26 but it's hard to imagine them announcing any new iPhones in advance of Apple themselves. So maybe just be the current model iPhone 4.

zmcnulty
Jul 26, 2003



Not to be a news feed but now there's word that Docomo will be abandoning "high-level keitais" in order to focus on smartphones. Maybe the beginning of the end for the galapagos keitais.

http://www.nikkei.com/news/category...3E39F9FEAE2E2E2

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

It's not a rumor anymore; Nikkei had an article about the iPhone 5 and how Softbank lost the exclusivity contract. Both au and Softbank will have the iPhone 5.

jet_dee
May 20, 2007
Blah blah blah Nationstates is cool blah blah blah

Ha! I read the beginning of that article, signed up for a Nikkei ID and a free Nikkei account, then when I was all done registering I clicked through to the Nikkei homepage and up pops a dialog box, asking if I'd like to be transferred to the English page!

Pompous Rhombus
Mar 11, 2007


tarepanda posted:

It's not a rumor anymore; Nikkei had an article about the iPhone 5 and how Softbank lost the exclusivity contract. Both au and Softbank will have the iPhone 5.

My au-rocking friend was just talking about that today at lunch. I'm pretty curious what the next iPhone will bring, although I've got to say I'm really happy with my Galaxy S II.

One of my JTE's just bought a Docomo Android smartphone, any recommendations for Japanese apps?

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

I think I wrote a recommendation list a while back.

Keito
Jul 21, 2005

WHAT DO I CHOOSE ?


tarepanda posted:

I think I wrote a recommendation list a while back.

That was only like two apps. Haven't gotten anything but ATOK and 2chMate installed myself, so it'd be nice with some other recommendations.

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

Oh. I was tapping it out on my phone, so it was a bit annoying to write, I guess.

ATOK: Brilliant Japanese keyboard. You can set it to automatically use English input for the QWERTY and Japanese with the keitai keyboard.
Trillian: Good messenger and replaces that terrible Facebook messenger client.
Awful: This app really is something awful.
Angel Browser: Good all-around browser, a bit more convenient to use than the barebones Android browser. Regular updates. シンプルQRコード: Encode whatever personal information you want into a QR code for other people (with smart OR sillyphones) to use to add the details to their address books.
Image Shrink Lite: Since you can't shrink images automatically when you attach images to e-mails... sigh. This is important for sillyphones.
LauncherPro: Lets you customize your interface a bit more.
Widget Locker Lockscreen: Lets you customize your lock screen by adding shortcuts; I put my camera there so that it's much faster to snap pictures.
mixi: Sucks, but not a lot of choices.
mixi絵文字・広告なし無料: Lets you use emoji in Mixi through a simple window from the keyboard.
QRコードスキャナー: Scan QR codes.
Yahoo!天気情報: A much better widget than the standard accuweather one
乗換案内: Trains.

Those are the apps I use the most, I guess.

tarepanda fucked around with this message at Sep 30, 2011 around 14:39

zmcnulty
Jul 26, 2003



Oh crap, Galaxy S2 LTE:
http://ascii.jp/elem/000/000/639/639704/img.html

Dmoz
Dec 3, 2005
Ad Hominem

zmcnulty posted:

Oh crap, Galaxy S2 LTE:
http://ascii.jp/elem/000/000/639/639704/img.html

Do want.

Question: Does anyone know of any super-duper short term deals other than this:http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/sim_t1gb/service.html
?

I'll be in Japan as an exchange student in Tokyo at a J-university for 3-4 months. I assume there's nothing cheaper than 17460yen for the whole time (minimum) for just the sim? By Japanese standards it seems like a pretty good deal for 1gb of data, I was just wondering.

EDIT: By just sim, I mean I don't get a phone with it, not that I pay 17460yen for the sim card with no data or anything.

Dmoz fucked around with this message at Oct 4, 2011 around 22:14

zmcnulty
Jul 26, 2003



Depending in your usage you may find SIM rental more economical:
http://www.softbank-rental.jp/en/phones/sim3g.php

105 yen per day (~3000 yen per month), but it includes no minutes or data. So YMMV.

Pompous Rhombus
Mar 11, 2007


Ugh just take my money Docomo

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

Pompous Rhombus posted:

Ugh just take my money Docomo

Weird that they didn't mention how much the app is or what it's called. The demo phone is a GS2, so I could just grab it and try it out for kicks.

harperdc
Jul 24, 2007

Nummer 4????

Dmoz posted:

Do want.

Question: Does anyone know of any super-duper short term deals other than this:http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/sim_t1gb/service.html
?

I'll be in Japan as an exchange student in Tokyo at a J-university for 3-4 months. I assume there's nothing cheaper than 17460yen for the whole time (minimum) for just the sim? By Japanese standards it seems like a pretty good deal for 1gb of data, I was just wondering.

EDIT: By just sim, I mean I don't get a phone with it, not that I pay 17460yen for the sim card with no data or anything.

Could you get a prepaid phone? I know they're much cheaper to buy and you pay as you need, the issue being the ability to buy one at all. You might need a gaijin card, though some places are lenient. If you're in Japan longer than three months you'll need a gaijin card, and the application stamp for that should allow you to get prepaid.

Pompous Rhombus
Mar 11, 2007


tarepanda posted:

Weird that they didn't mention how much the app is or what it's called. The demo phone is a GS2, so I could just grab it and try it out for kicks.

I've got a GS2 as well and was googling trying to find any info on it, but all of the English language coverage I found was basically everyone paraphrasing the Engadget article. I think it's something under development and not necessarily out yet, but I'd love to give it a try as-is.

The WWJDIC app I have has a "take a photo, get OCR/translation" function, but it just crashes the app whenever I try to use it.

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

I tried it out a few times and it's pretty lovely, which is why I'm not too hopeful about this app either.

One nice thing about uniformity in Japan is that it's very, very easy to memorize everything you need to for menus, so an app like this is pretty useless for me right now, especially since I don't go abroad often...

I was curious, so I just did a search in Japanese to find it: https://market.android.com/details?....menutranslator

Apparently it's a trial version that expires on 2012 January 16.

It offers four languages:

Japanese to Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, English, Hangul or any of those languages to Japanese.

You pick your dictionary and it takes you to a screen with a little rectangular viewfinder, which you hover over the text in question. It has buttons for changing the zoom and macro so that you don't have to fight to isolate the words. That's the good.

The bad is that I showed it "ダブルチーズバーガー" and it couldn't decide what to do. It got "double" a couple of times, and then it started trying kanji matches, which didn't make any sense. Then it tried double plus kanji matches, so essentially it was just terrible.

The way it seems to work is that it uses OCR and tries to isolate words to break them apart, send them to the server, and then get translations word-by-word.

So it given ダブルチーズバーガー it would do something like

double
double chicken
double chinese
double chicken
double
double
pork
tori
double
double cheese
double cheese
double

etc. It just flickers through all of these things as it analyzes; I'm guessing that what's happening with this trial is that DoCoMo is trying to get a huge trial base to "train" their recognition program so that it's actually usable when it's fully released. Right now, it seems kind of useless from my limited test on a katakana McDonald's menu. I'll have to find a regular menu to try it on; it might be better with kanji.

I just tried it on a Bamiyan menu for 釜炊きとんこつのネギダクつけ麺.

It just went apeshit trying to figure out kanji and I gave up when it was:

top top top center top top
上 上 上 中 上 上

tarepanda fucked around with this message at Oct 5, 2011 around 02:31

Pompous Rhombus
Mar 11, 2007


tarepanda posted:

I tried it out a few times and it's pretty lovely, which is why I'm not too hopeful about this app either.

One nice thing about uniformity in Japan is that it's very, very easy to memorize everything you need to for menus, so an app like this is pretty useless for me right now, especially since I don't go abroad often...

I was curious, so I just did a search in Japanese to find it: https://market.android.com/details?....menutranslator

Apparently it's a trial version that expires on 2012 January 16.

Awesome, thanks for that! I tried it out on a menu I found on GIS just on my screen and while it's not the greatest, it does give at least some help.

Suntory BOSS
Apr 17, 2006



Suntory BOSS posted:

Anyone know if I'll need a preorder for the new iPhone 4S? I've been waiting all year to swap from my Docomo Shitbrick, do I just show up mad early to the store on release day or what?

jet_dee posted:

Macrumors states that pre-orders begin this Friday. If it's anything like my old colleague's experience with the iPad 2, you'll have to stay up late Thursday night furiously clicking refresh on the Apple Store and crossing your fingers that you don't get a "server too busy" error while waiting for your payment to be processed :P

That or camp outside the Apple store nearest you to be first in line on Friday 14th...

Can anybody confirm that I'll be able to preorder the iPhone4S through Apple Japan's website? Anybody remember how things went for the original iPhone 4 launch?

I don't care if I have to camp in the rain, I want this drat phone on October 14th no matter what. I've been using various DoCoMo keitai the past few years and every time I use my girl's iPhone, I curse myself for not having crossed over earlier.

tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

Every time I use an iPhone, I thank god that I had the good sense to go with the Galaxy S2.

Ganguro King
Jul 26, 2007


Every time I use an Android, I thank god that I had the good sense to go with the iPhone.

zmcnulty
Jul 26, 2003



I will literally flip a coin to decide between Android and iOS.

Original_Z
Jun 14, 2005
Z so good

Hmm, the lack of OLED on iPhone4S is a big disappointment. Wondering if I should just get it or go for an Android phone now. I guess it terms of apps they're pretty equal, yea? My friend has an Android phone and it's constantly freezing up on her, are performance issues like that common?

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tarepanda
Mar 25, 2011

Living the Dream

Original_Z posted:

My friend has an Android phone and it's constantly freezing up on her, are performance issues like that common?

It seems to depend on the phone/version/apps, honestly. One of the nice things about iPhones is that everyone tends to have the same thing. One of the sad things about iPhones is that everyone tends to have the same thing.

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