Follow TV Tropes


Germans Love David Hasselhoff / Technology

Go To

  • Traditional flip phones are now obsolete in everywhere else (unless you're elderly, poor, paranoid or any combination of the three) but are still popular in Japan. This is largely due to the fact that Japanese flip phones were traditionally much more feature-rich than their overseas counterparts, having many bells-and-whistles the rest of the world wouldn't see until the advent of smartphones. This was possible due to Japan's mobile networks being more advanced than other countries'. When the rest of the world finally caught up with smartphones, many Japanese thought "What's the big deal?"
    • Though, as of late 2018, smartphones are finally starting to get a foothold. It'll still be a while before the flip phones are completely phased out, though.
  • Despite being vastly superior to its predecessor, digital cassettes never really took off... except, for some reason, in the Netherlands (possibly because one of the main developers of the Digital Compact Cassette format was the Dutch company Philips...although since Philips was also one of the main developers of the Compact Disc format that killed cassettes everywhere else, that may not be enough of an explanation).
  • Sega's consoles have a history of this
    • Their 8-bit system, the Sega Master System, failed to compete head-on with the original Nintendo Entertainment System in both the United States and Japan; it wasn't until their release of the Sega Genesis that the infamous rivalry began. However, the Master System sold very well in Europe, South Korea, and Brazil.
    • Later, the Sega Genesis managed to become popular in the U.S., in addition to most of the countries that the Master System was successful in. However, it still failed to catch on in its native Japan, which upset Sega's Japanese management to no end, and may have led to some questionable decisions on their part when it came time to make the Sega Saturn, leading it fall under the opposite trope.
    • Sega Mega Drive is pretty much synonymous with the 16-bit era in Russia, due to the cheap bootleg cartridges and clone consoles being readily available. In contrast, Super Nintendo is virtually unknown to everyone other than retro gaming geeks and the very few rich kids who had it back in the day.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Commodore Amiga series sold much better overseas than in the U.S., mainly due to its lower price tag in comparison to Macs and DOS/Windows PCs at the time. The Commodore 64 also had a longer market lifespan in Europe than in the U.S. for the same reason.
  • The Laserdisc optical disc format was developed by Dutch corporation Phillips, and produced by Phillips and American corporation MCA. It never caught on in Europe due to the cost and read-only nature; but became the dominant video format in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the more affluent regions of Southeast Asia due to optical media being less susceptible to the humid conditions in the region, while catching on among serious film buffs and anime fans in America by 1988. Production of laserdiscs continued until the end of 2001, in Japan; and production of players continued to the beginning of 2009, also in Japan. They are still popular with collectors, due to the number of films on laserdisc which have never been released on DVD, and the increasing scarcity of playable VHS releases.
    • Similarly, the VideoCD (not to be confused with the incompatible CD-Video format). It was extremely popular in exactly one continent: Asia. Due to its low price and region-free nature, it was widely used in Asia and even today, Videos are often released in VideoCD, DVD and Blu-Ray formats. As with Laserdisc, the lower susceptibility of optical media to humidity than videotape in that part of the world was a commonly cited factor. In Japan, the US and Europe, it failed to catch on, as it was released roughly three years before DVDs entered the market, and featured almost no copy-protection (if the disc does have copy-protection, it's trivially easy to bypass) and is completely region-free, making the format extremely undesirable to film studios. Feature-wise, the requirement of switching discs midway through a film, the inability to store closed captioning and inability to store a second audio track without sacrificing quality (you could only either have two mono audio tracks or a stereo one) put off many consumers. The format was then replaced with pirated DVDs.
    • Advertisement:
    • History has repeated itself with Blu-ray. Developed jointly by Sony and Philips, it's the dominant video format in Japan. While fairly popular in North America, it pales in comparison to the ubiquity of DVD and streaming services such as Netflix. Japanese consumers value having physical copies of movies and TV shows more than Americans do.
  • AM stereo was more popular in Canada (thanks to regulations that forbade all-hit formats on FM) and Japan than in the US.
  • The Opera web browser became extremely popular in Russia and other ex-USSR countires in the late 90s due to speed and reliability on crappy dial-up lines. It still keeps a 30-50% share - compared to 2% worldwide.
  • According to That Other Wiki, Mozilla Firefox, which is developed by the United States-based Mozilla Corporation (itself a subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, based in the same country) is the second most popular Web browser in Germany, Poland, and Indonesia. It's popular more broadly in Europe where users value privacy and are wary of big profit-driven (American) tech companies like Facebook and Google overly influencing the design of the internet to their benefit in contrast to the non-profit Mozilla Foundation developing Firefox.
  • Despite being designed by a Dutch firm (Philips), the Philips Residium FGS225 (image here) is more popular in the United Kingdom than its native Netherlands, with the likes of Manchester, Kirklees, Barnsley, Wigan and (recently) Warrington city councils using them due to their environmentally-friendly credentials. In Holland, they prefer Retraux "gas-light"-style streetlights, which give a Values Dissonance to the street.
  • Video Phones, prior to Turn of the Millennium and The New '10s, never did take off in the west like the western science fiction of the sixties believe it would, especially after the 90s when people started wanting more privacy. However, video phones are incredibly huge in Japan and South Korea. This is due to the fact that these cultures considers it polite that one to maintain eye contact while having a conversationnote . Outside of these two countries, one would only find video phones at meeting rooms in huge corporations, in the form of video teleconferencing.
  • The Amstrad CPC was more successful in France than in its native UK. The majority of all French computer game developers in the 1980s made the Amstrad CPC the primary or secondary platform (usually behind the Atari ST) for most of their output; while many British game companies also supported the CPC, they ranked it distinctly behind the Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum among 8-bit platforms, and their CPC releases were all too often poorly colored conversions of Speccy games. This is also the reason why some of the best titles for that computer are only available in France. (The other big foreign market for the Amstrad CPC was in Spain, where it easily outsold the Commodore 64.)
  • Speaking of which, the ZX Spectrum was a success in the UK as a budget home computer but never really broke into the business sector, being something of a Poor Man's Substitute for higher-spec competitors like the BBC Micro. But in Russia and Eastern Europe it (or at least its various clones) enjoyed a virtual monopoly; its off-the-shelf components and broad manufacturing tolerancesnote  made it easy to produce even for the decidedly unimpressive Soviet semiconductor industry, and the simple design could be repaired by anyone who could work a soldering iron. They stayed in regular use until a good ten years after British techies had moved on to IBM PCs and their various clones, and the embedded variant developed for controlling industrial machinery is still in limited production to this day.
  • Russians love dash-cams. An average Russian Drives Like Crazy, and in the aftermath of a vehicular mischief it helps that while not accepted as evidence at court, dashcam footage is accepted at a lower-level police arbitrage commissions and insurance companies.
  • And continuing with the motoring Russians, they absolutely love Nissan Juke. A unique combination of the car's cute and cheeky design breaking the monotony of the featureless modern SUVs, its small size being inherently practical on the jam-packed Russian roads, and its SUV heritage making navigating those roads somewhat easier, struck a note in a Russian heart that just makes it irresistible, despite being rather expensive for its size.
  • The once almighty WordPerfect word processor, no longer widely used anywhere else, is still widely used amongst lawyers in English-speaking countries. This is caused by a combination of the original vendor listening to lawyers, thus having functions they needed and/or other word processors didn't have, and conservatism, which makes lawyers not change. Read more here. It must be notes that this has been dwindling in the last few years, as Microsoft Word is now the standard, it includes all the functions lawyers need and Microsoft sells it competitively, in bundles with other software.
  • Like the Amiga, the Atari ST was also much more successful in Europe than the U.S.
  • The Boeing 747 is more popular with Asian and European airlines than with U.S. carriers. (The last active US airline to fly them, Delta Airlines, retired its aging Boeing 747-400s in 2017). No American passenger airlines have ordered the latest incarnation, the 747-8 (which combines the iconic hump design of the 747 with the technologies of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner), and the largest fleet of passenger 747-8s is, ironically, that of Germany's flag carrier Lufthansa. This is because in modern terms the 747, with its four engines, is far less fuel efficient compared to smaller planes such as the Boeing 777 or Airbus A320. As a result it is only really practical for cargo, or when transporting large numbers of passengers became an absolute necessity—for example, the trans-Pacific routes in Asia which has always been the bread and butter of Asian airlines. Similarly, Ryanair - either Europe's largest or its second largest airline, depending on how and what you count - has an all Boeing fleet, despite being an Irish / English airline.
  • The mobile messenger app WhatsApp is more popular in Europe than it is in its native country of the United States. Europe has a land area comparable to North America, but has a higher density of separate countries; it's more likely that someone in Europe will have friends in different countries than someone in the US or Canada, and sending SMS and MMS messages to those in other countries will almost always incur long-distance charges. Using a messenger app with its own infrastructure, on the other hand, circumvents this and only requires that both sender and recipient have a data connection, whether through a cellular network as part of a data plan or a WiFi hotspot (which are ubiquitous in coffee shops and libraries). WhatsApp is also popular in countries where unlimited-text plans are not as common or affordable, for the same reasons.
  • VoIP apps are popular on smartphones in Europe for much the same reason as WhatsApp is: to avoid long distance charges when calling people in different countries.
  • While the Commodore 64 was big in its native U.S., it was massive in Europe, selling in huge numbers when Americans moved onto cheap IBM Personal Computer clones or the NES.
  • The Bell P-39 Airacobra was loathed by USAAF servicemen of both theaters... The Soviets on the other hand found great use for it due to the 37mm cannon being useful against German ground units, and its lackluster high-altitude performance being of no concern in the mostly low-altitude aerial combat on the Eastern Front. The Soviets loved it so much that its successor, the P-63 Kingcobra, was built mostly for the Red Air Force and barely went into service in the United States.
  • Cellphones with Internet access and cameras were ubiquitous in Japan a full decade before they became common in the West. Smartphones are still the most common way to access the Internet, due to Japan's famously cramped living spaces leaving little room for PCs. Despite Japan's historical aversion to Macs, the iPhone and iPad are the most popular smartphones and tablets, respectively.
  • Taiwanese people love Samsung phones, though they're hardly unpopular elsewhere, they consistently dominate sales in Taiwan, ahead of domestic brands. In a curious contrast to Japan (which often sets the cultural and consumer trends for the region), the iPhone consistently struggles to even make the top ten, much less the high slots, and Apple's other premiere products that have done so well in Japan have largely flopped in the Taiwan, despite more than a decade of effort from Apple to turn it around. There's a certain shade if irony added in the fact that Taiwan is home of the almost all of the primary component manufacturers for all of Apple's most successful products (iPhone included), including Hon Hai Precision, better known in the west as Foxconn, making the development and release schedule of Apple products very important to Taiwanese—so long as we're not talking about consumers, who won't be buying them, making the iPhone's reputation in Taiwan comparable to the Xbox video game console's reputation in Japan: an unpopular novelty. Though they've fallen far short of Samsung, Apple has made a great deal of effort to try and change the small market (and finally had a popular launch of its first store in the entire country), and it remains to be seen if they can succeed. Apple computers, unsurprisingly, are almost unheard of, and Samsung's laptops, not well known in the west, are far more popular than the Macbook line of products.
  • Online shopping is very popular in Japan, likely due to a lot of people not owning cars. Amazon, while huge in its native U.S., is one of the biggest retailers there along with home-grown shopping sites like Rakuten, which also has an extensive international reach of its own. It's a lot easier to have bulky/heavy items delivered than to borrow someone's car, pay the steep parking and gas fees or to attempt to take these items home on the crowded trains. For this reason, mail order was popular in the country long before the rise of the Internet. Most Japanese large stores have a special service counter where you can order the item to be shipped even if you bought it by directly visiting the store, and even those little mom-and-pop shops will call the delivery service if asked.
  • GPS apps and navigation devices are popular in Japan because the streets are often unnamed, and the buildings are numbered by the order they're built within the block rather than sequentially along the street, which makes navigation daunting even for natives. It reaches the point that even the classified ads almost always include the little maps outlaying the route from the nearest landmark such as a convenience store, bus stop or train station. Online navigation fills this niche so nicely that it's hard to imagine how the people had lived before.
  • Atari 8-Bit Computers, years after they had begun to fade from popularity in the US, caught on in Poland, of all countries.
  • The Oric-1 was an 80's era computer which never really caught on... except in France, where it became one of the most popular computers back around 1984. So great was its influence that one of the most important French video game companies of that era was named Loriciels, a portmanteau of "Oric" and "logiciels" (software).
  • While Bulletin Board Systems (BBSes) fell out of use in the West with the rise of the Internet in the '90s, they're still very popular in Taiwan, according to The Other Wiki. The PTT Bulletin Board System has over 1.5 million registered users discussing any manner of topics. It has its own slang and memes, similar to 4chan.
  • Railways were first invented in Great Britain and while it is hard to figure out who first made trains go with electricity, it's safe to say it wasn't a Swiss person. Which country has the highest per capita rail ridership and the longest electrified network for its land area? Switzerland. To say Swiss people like trains would be a gross understatement of the facts. One in four Swiss people has a half fare card, which means they pay to get reduced fares (which of course only makes sense if you take the train a lot). Major (expensive) rail expansion proposals are put to a vote on a regular basis. They almost always pass with flying colors. Compare this to Britain, which had the Beeching Axe in the 1960s that cut the network in half almost overnight and has not fully recovered since in terms of rail travel. Switzerland is also seen as the Always Someone Better to Deutsche Bahn by Germans when they complain about the (real or perceived) ills of their railway, which is itself highly regarded by non-Germans and often mentioned as one of the highlights of their trips by transatlantic visitors.
  • FM radio was a lot quicker to catch on in Europe than the U.S., where it was invented, because the postwar AM airwaves were so crowded (by Armed Forces Network and Radio Free Europe stations). Germany had only a handful of AM frequencies available, but plenty of room for FM. Stations started popping up in the 1940s and 1950s, where FM really only took off in the U.S. with the rise of the counterculture movement in the '60s and '70s and the desire for higher-quality sound for all the new rock stations.
  • Usernames with numbers tacked on at the end are seen as unoriginal and low-quality in the West, but in Japan, number-based puns make the practice more acceptable.
  • Mastodon, a federatednote  alternative to Twitter made primarily by Western developers, became a rapid hit overnight in Japan, with several of the biggest Mastodon instances (i.e. servers) being of Japanese origin. Japanese art hosting service pixiv was quick to adopt it, leading to the creation of Pawoo, an instance where artists can link their accounts with their pixiv accounts, and is one of said most popular Mastodon instances.
  • Bombardier is a Canadian company that produces a wide range of stuff, including regional airplanes, trains and - the stuff they started out with - snow mobiles. However, the overwhelming majority of their trains are bought by European countries. This is in part because demand for trains is not all that high in Canada and in part because big parts of Bombardier's rail division are actually former European manufacturers that Bombardier bought up with the factories and many of the patents still in use.
  • American-made iOS virtual instrument app GeoShred is disproportionately used by Indian musicians, who benefit from the app's ability to play microtonally. As a result, several updates have boasted features geared in part toward Indian-style music, such support for non-Western scale intonations (including a huge number of Indian classical raga presets) and a sitar resonator effect.
  • BlackBerry smartphones were moderately successful in its home country of the US, largely due to its rather advanced encryption capabilities at the time. In the late 00s/early 10s, however, BlackBerry phones were so ridiculously popular in Indonesia that they essentially became a status symbol; anybody who's an anybody (students, taxi drivers, street vendors, CEOs, doctors, civil servants, celebrities, housemaids, petty thieves...) owned a BlackBerry phone.
  • Nextel phones had a similar status in Mexico, where the loud four beeps of an incoming call and the triple beep of the push-to-talk button used to be seen as synonymous with being a very important person who spent a lot of time discussing business over the phone — so much, that when ringtone stores for conventional cell phones were still a thing, one of the best sellers was always the Nextel tone. In some cities such as Irapuato, the Nextel network was just so amazingly popular that at some points only foreigners would use non-Nextel phones, and even the highly ubiquitous Telcel network had poor coverage due to low demand. Their aspirational status eventually led it to be associated instead with tacky nouveau riches who just gratuitously adopted rich people mannerisms without having the educational background, but it still remained a symbol of wealth pretty much until the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S ended up pushing the Nextel network aside.
  • Mexicans nowadays love Xiaomi. The combination of rising purchasing power, the decreasing cost of mobile phones, and the general Mexican preference for bang-for-the-buck over lavish luxury, have led many Mexicans around 2018 and 2019 to prefer Xiaomi's design philosophy of "as good as an iPhone/Samsung Galaxy S and won't drain your wallet".
  • Similar to the Commodore Amiga, desktop Linux is popular outside of the U.S., to the point that municipal governments deploy it to thousands of nontechnical users. Linux itself is an example, with the kernel developed by a native of Finland, Linus Torvalds (who eventually became a naturalized U.S. citizen) and thousands of developers recruited from all over the world collaborating over the internet as one of the crown jewels of the open source movement. Stateside, desktop Linux is largely relegated to developers and computer enthusiasts who dislike Microsoft and Apple. Outside of the U.S., it's more common for computer manufacturers to offer Linux pre-installed on consumer machines, while stateside computers with Linux preinstalled are targeted toward developers.
  • The LibreOffice suite, a fork of when Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems and discontinued development, is popular in Europe and Latin America, with many government departments standardizing on it, while people stateside stick with Microsoft Office.
  • Vending machines are yet another thing that's extremely popular in Japan, with just about everything you can imagine being sold in them and machines on nearly any street corner, with the low crime rate eliminating fears about vandalism common in the West.
  • Because physical media remains popular in Japan, so has physical video rental.
  • Internet cafes are still popular among Asian gamers and nerds, due to the fact the internet speeds are tremendously quicker and more affordable than most home internet (inverse of what's in the West), to the point it makes a bare-bones, lower-spec computers run fast in comparison. Living space is also famously expensive in some parts of the world, which can make home desktop PC ownership impractical.
  • While popular in its native Europe especially during their heyday, Nokia mobile phones are extremely popular in Asia to the point that Nokia has released bespoke models for the Asia-Pacific region such as the Nokia 3108/6108, the Benq-derived 6708 PDA and the 6208 classic. Not to mention that Nokia has avoided the use of the number four in their product names as a sign of deference to their East Asian customers (although they somehow came up with the Series 40 platform as well as the Nokia 3410 and the Nokia 6234; the latter two weren't officially released in Asia though). Stateside however, Nokia fared worse as despite efforts through Product Placement in various media such as films, music videos and video games, they failed to gain a foothold due in part to telcos in the US having a bigger stranglehold towards phone manufacturers and the use of different operating frequencies among other things.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: