See the original story in Japanese.
Japan’s Gooute, which was incorporated in Singapore, last month announced the launch of a new design brand for smartphone body or UI in low-end models, called Aratas. It mainly focuses on the emerging market in Asia and plans to commence sales of its series such as KAZE01, KAZE02, NAMI01 or NAMI02 from this spring.
At a recent press conference, CEO and co-founder of Gooute Shunya Yokoji said that iPhones are still predominant as the current business model, leveraging the app store, although Android is ready to prevail throughout the world. On the other hand, emerging smartphone manufacturers around the Asian region dealing in low-end smartphones for Android have been showing rapid growth. He founded ARATAS in order to catch up with this trend.
As fabless enterprises, tip manufacturers or design houses go on the rise, now anybody can become a smartphone manufacturer. Yet for low-end smartphone developers, it is unprofitable and only offers cut-throat competition if they cannot sell more than 10 million smartphones each year.
ARATAS provides these manufacturers with design of smartphones and opportunities to maximize profits. It especially focuses on the three features of Device (chassis design), UI (user interface), and NET (information service bundled with the devices).
On the iPhone packages, one can spot the sentence ‘Designed in California.’ It represents the policy that no matter where it was manufactured, branding of the context or the design of the product was being emphasized. Gooute aims to bring this iPhone “trademark idea” to low-end Android smartphones, by providing proprietary UI or UX through tie-ups with manufacturers that have fabrication facilities or potential customers.
DJ Kawasaki composed a theme song for the brand, while the package design for mid-range smartphones KAZE01 and KAZE02 was handled by the architectural designer Tei Shuwa, who was referred to in a previous article about KAMARQ. No similar example of this unique strategy that focuses on product imaging from the very beginning can be easily found among Japanese startups. On the face of the smartphones under the ARATAS brand, in which many Japanese creators including Digital Hollywood graduates have been involved, the phrase of ‘Designed in Japan’ is engraved.
In addition to smartphone sales, Gooute engages in an ad platform business called LOUCUS which enables display of advertisement for targeted users regardless of the device vendors, partnered with Japan’s mobile ad major inMobi. Also, using the entertainment information platform Goume, which allows localization of companies’ unique content and global distribution thereof, Gooute aims to maximize its profitability. It plans to install these services in 50 to 100 million smartphones within this year.
Gooute was launched in June of 2013. CEO Yokoji had been involved in music/image distribution service before at Japan’s internet service company Nifty (TSE:3823), not to mention building up Milmo into a rich content distribution service then spinning it off.
Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy