Coinciding with Apple Japan's release of the MessagePad 130 (MP130) comes th e opening of the first Newton speciality store in Japan, The Newton Shop. Apple's MP130 comes with UniFEP, a Japanese language kit, that gives the Newto n a fully localized interface, an input method and a Japanese language instr uction manual.
Japan is the world's largest market for Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) a nd Electronic Organizers, with domestic makers vying in discount electronics and camera stores to win market-share from one another. Yet, with the backbo ne of software and accessories that are available for the second-generation Newton OS, it will make considerable headway against domestic rivals. The Ne wton Shop will offer a full range of Newton goods and accessories including a number of original goodies and a monthly pack of original software titles. The Newton Shop will also be the principal showroom for Newton technology in general.
The Newton Shop aims to change the image of PDAs from that of small computer , only for the 'computer mania' set, to that of a more accessible, fashionab le item that normal people can make part of their daily lives. With this in mind, the store was intentionally positioned away from the 'Electronic Town' of Akihabara and opened in the prestigious Ginza area of Tokyo; right across the road from the Kabuki Theater.
With Personal Computers already moving past consumer-items and fast becoming lowest-common-denominator commodity items, PDAs are destined to become the f ashion accessory of the next century, with self-expression being just as imp ortant as self-enablement. The Newton Shop proposes a digital lifestyle by c ustom fitting devices to the person rather than molding people to draconian industry-standards. The ultimate goal is to become the full-service 'digital variety store' in a world of discount super-stores.
The Newton Shop will offer all the latest software titles and accessories in cluding hard-to-find items and back customers up with support that no genera l computer shop can match. The Newton Shop is staffed by the most Newton-exp erienced people in Japan. The shop itself is backed by Enfour, Inc. the larg est software publisher in Japan, creators of UniFEP and many other local tit les. The shop runs an on-line mail-order catalogue called "Newtopia" and off ers a club credit card from Nippon Shimpan that provides loss and damage ins urance with Newton purchases.
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