When Darwin arrived at the Galapagos islands, he came across species that had fantastically evolved from their counterparts elsewhere due to their prolonged isolation. Galapagos syndrome is used by Japanese telecoms executives such as Takeshi Natsuno, who developed the i-Mode system and now teaches at Tokyo’s Keio University to describe the Japanese handset market and development. A combination of differing technical standards, culture, hardware sophistication and a lack of user-experience expertise has left Japan with a handset ecosystem which is highly evolved and differentated from the rest of the world. However they are also struggling to compete on the international stage.
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