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Galapagosization

Galapagos mobile

You sometimes see high-tech products which have developed to meet the tough but specific demands of the Japanese. A feature flip phone is a good example. If you need only basic functions such as a telephone, email, SMS, and a camera, this retro-style one is useful enough. Moreover, its communication expenses are much lower than "smartphone" fees.
Another example is a so-called Kei car, a compact car whose engine displacement is under 660cc. Though it is small, it's sturdy, seats four people, and is quite convenient to drive along narrow streets like the ones in old Kyoto's downtown. In comparison to other cars, the Kei's price tag is low, as are the annual taxes for owning it. Many people have this Kei car at home.
The biggest pitfall of those products is that they are too uniquely developed to meet Japanese demand and are therefore outside of the world's standards. So they are unsuccessful in the international markets. They are widespread only in Japan.
We often liken such a situation to the fact that some animals evolved very uniquely in Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, and call it "Galapagosization." The flip phone, called "Galapagos mobile" in Japanese, is a prime example.

a Kei car

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