Sony Ericsson will no doubt be pleased with the news from Japan that the X10 has become NTT DoCoMo's best selling smartphone ... ever! The X10 has reportedly sold 100,000 units within 20 days, beating the previous best smartphone result of 80,000 units in 10 months. You may be wondering where the 'but' is in this story and you would be right, there is a 'but', of sorts. Despite some initial concerns over sales the X10 has indeed sold very well in Japan, but it would be all too easy to accept the result at face value instead of putting it in context.
The previous best selling smartphone in in DoCoMo's portfolio, as mentioned, sold 80,000 units in 10 months and that was the HT-03A, a handset not dissimilar to the HTC Magic. In fact if you look at the smartphones DoCoMo has available there isn't really a great range to be blunt with the likes of the Blackberry Bold and even the HTC Touch Diamond. Japanese networks do offer some fantastic feature phones, but smartphones seem to be one area where they haven't quite caught up with the rest of the First World (or even parts of the Developing World). Why is this? Well Japanese networks are notorious for their closed systems and proprietary services, something that smartphone OSs like Android don't play well with. Indeed the X10 has been having trouble integrating into the DoCoMo ecosystem with things like i-mode mail, not to mention the performance bugs we have all come to know and love.
So is it a case of the X10 selling well because it's the best of a bad bunch? Well a lacklustre line-up of smartphones in DoCoMo's portfolio will certainly have helped the X10's cause, but the handset itself must also be appealing to customers if they're willing to forgo popular features like i-mode or the performance issues that have been identified. Whatever the case, Sony Ericsson at least have something to smile about.