Update: I finally found a solution that satisfies me! It involves +J and an alternative font. See details here.
My new toy is a Nokia E71
(yes, for various reasons I chose it over the new hot Android G1 and the old-but-still-hype Apple iPhone).
One of the first things I tried to do is install Japanese input for it. Nokia doesn't offer that because they don't seem to care much about the Japanese market and (as far as I know) don't release high-end phones there. I understand them in a way, because the Japanese market is so different from Europe or US that they would need different products to appeal to the Japanese public.
So here we go: Japanese input on S60 phones in general, and the E71 in particular. So far I found three possibilities, I tried two, and there is no satisfying solution yet.
### 1. Psiloc Crystal Japanese
Commercial, €50, download the demo here
* Just one package to install; nothing scary
* The font looks really good
* the input itself is really, really weak. So weak I even wonder if they had anyone who can write Japanese in their team.
* It's overpriced considering how bad the input is
* Psiloc uses a nazi DRM that runs you-don't-know-what on your phone and calls home to make sure you're respectable family guy. Yeah, yeah, I know: it's to fight piracy. Except that pirates can download a DRM-free cracked version on the web so only legit customers are exposed to the DRM.
More details about the input: when I say it's bad, I mean it.
* It doesn't remember which kanji you choose - so next time you write the same thing you have to go through the list again.
* The punctuation is messed up. Pressing "." doesn't output "。" and pressing "," doesn't output "、". You can get around by typing "まる" and "てん " but it's a pain in the arse... And remember, it doesn't save your choice so you have to go through the list each time!
The "-" puts you back in English so it's impossible to input basic words like マスター (master), スキー (ski) or パーティ (party). NOT POSSIBLE. They basically sell you a Japanese input software using which you cannot input some very common Japanese words.
### 2. +J
Commercial, ¥5,000, download the demo here
* An awesome input. Very complete, on-par with what you can find on a computer.
* No English doc, so it may be hard to install for beginners at Japanese. Additionally there are several packages (the font is separate) and you need to pick the right ones for your device.
* My real grip: you have to install a font that makes your whole phone OS look pretty ugly. Even when you're just using an app in English, not typing Japanese, you will be using the ugly font.
* Nothing ugly for +J. It's a great input software, I really wish they would fix the font problem.
So here is where I stand. Psiloc's software input method is insuffisant and their DRM bothers me. Additionally they don't seem motivated to improve it, according to them they're focusing on other products. Maybe they don't work on Crystal Japanese because it doesn't sell well... I wonder why?
+J is really nice but I can't stand having a crappy font on my phone all the time. If more than half the email/text messages I was writting were in Japanese I would probably use it though.
The last one is M-FEP60
, it's as least freeware, and maybe Open Source; the source code is available but I'm not sure what the licence is. I didn't try it because I'm unsure if it works on the E71 (the last version was released before the E71) and according to screenshots it suffers the same font problem as +J.