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Taking cell’s to the next level in Japan – Manga April 11, 2007

Posted by silviamocanu07 in innovation.

Japanese mobile phones now have the capability of downloading comics (manga), which are popular for both the teenage and young professional age groups in Japan (http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/apr2007/gb20070409_610225.htm?chan=search).

 I found this improvement on features available for a product was interesting, particularly when thinking of our class discussion relating to innovation. Is this really innovation? Although producing companies may portray it as such, I don’t think this new feature can be considered true product innovation. It is simply a new feature designed to meet consumer needs and to offer them more flexibility, while at the same time increasing revenues for the providers.

In 2006, Japanese readers spent $20 million to download manga, and although this is still a small portion of the” $3.4 billion Japanese cell-phone market content (which is dominated by music and games)” (page 1), I wonder if in the future cell-phone manga downloads will replace printed manga altogether, similar to the trend of reading newspapers on-line versus hard-print. What do you all think?



1. Lady - April 16, 2007

Wow, I definitely think that this is a cool feature that has been added to the phone. Although I’m not particularly interested in comics, I am always amazed at how cell-phone features just continue to be upgraded every day. The scary part is that cell phones now have so many features that people become so reliant on them. What happens when your cell phone malfunctions? I know my life is out of order when my phone is dead because I rely on it so much.

In regards to this new feature replacing print comics, I do not think this is likely to happen. I imagine that these cell phones are relatively expensive? How much does this new feature affect the cost of the cell phone? In addition, you have to think about all the young children who obviously won’t own cell phones but are still highly interested in their comics which parents will still buy for them. Therefore, I believe print comics will survive despite this new feature that has been added to the cell phones.

2. Brian Mulligan - April 16, 2007

I agree with lady. I also think that comics have a nostalgic feel as well. Many people collect comics as well.

I agree with Silivia that this isn’t an innovation. It just another extension of the having media on your cell phone.

I think that we talked about it in class the other day, but maybe they will come out with a flexible piece of technology that can be updated with news and it can be changed to different things like magazines and comics. I think that they had them in minority report, but that would be cool and eco-friendly because it doesn’t waste paper.

3. Kira - April 17, 2007

I have trouble deciding what I consider constitutes innovation. I think that there are many different scales of innovation and that each person has their own definition. According to Wikipedia, “the term innovation may refer to both radical and incremental changes to products, processes or services.” According to this definition, adding the comics to cell phones would then be considered an innovation, right?

I tend to think of innovation as a radical change or the invention of something new. I think considering incremental changes, such as new features to already existing products, is an easy way to claim that a company is being “innovative.”

Do you think that the definition of innovation has varying degrees? If innovation just relates to radical changes or the invention of something new, is there a term that we can use for adding features to already existing products?

4. collage9 - April 17, 2007

I, too, wouldn’t consider this new addition to phones innovation, but it is a pretty cool idea. It is simply yet another addition to the product, like when camera phones were introduced or the phones with the iPods in them. I don’t think, however, that this cell phone manga will replace printed manga altogether. Given the choice, I think people would much rather go with the printed version over looking at it on a tiny cell phone screen. It seems like more of a replacement for the printed version for people who are always on the go.

5. Elaine - April 17, 2007

This idea seems similar in theory to having music, music videos, and even movies on their phone. It’s simply an additional appeal to the consumers, not necessarily an innovation.

6. Stacey Swift - April 17, 2007

I also do not believe this is innovation. Personally I do not use any special features on my cell phone other than text messages. I don’t really understand the whole cell phone features phenomenon, but I think I am going to have to get used to it and accept it because so many people in the work force are connected to their black berries.

7. wilson7 - May 1, 2007

I agree with everyone this is not innovation just another feature added to cell phones even though it is new it is not innovation. I do not believe that Manga will eventually get rid of comics though because people do collect comics and they do have value to them as they get older and are not printed anymore. I know that a person will not be able to keep these comics on their phone for twenty or more years so Manga will still have to create hard copies of these comics. Some older people read comics as well and I know not all elder people have a cell phone so this would be a disadvantage to them.

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