Fujitsu to launch its age-friendly smartphone in USA and Europe

Interestingly, the company will focus on the older consumer and has no plan to market its mainstay productssuch as the high-performance Arrows smartphone series overseas due to the overwhelming competition from Apple and Samsung.Raku_smartphone

The Raku-Raku phone, which has become a case study in the potential of the ageing consumer, expects to sell 10 million units in fiscal 2014 up from 8 million units in 2012.

Reported here in the Asahi Shimbun, Fujitsu will sell the Raku-Raku (easy-to-use) smartphone in the United States and Europe after making certain modifications for each country. Fujitsu released the smartphone in Japan this past summer.

The Raku-Raku Smartphone is designed with a number of age-friendly features for “first-time users”. These features that address various aspects of ageing physiology covered in our audit of age-friendliness including eyesight, hearing, dexterity and cognitive issues. Key features include (see Fujitsu’s website for a full list of features):

  • Touchscreen that can accurately differentiate between a finger stroke and a tap, helping reduce mistakes and improve the accuracy of input for stress-free operations.
  • Icon colours that will change when the user is touching it to indicate that it has been selected, and if the user continues to press the icon, the phone will vibrate to confirm the selection.
  • Able to discern when a user is scrolling or when they are performing a touch operation.
  • If the user’s fingers accidentally touch the edge of the screen, it will not result in mistaken input and interfere with operations. This enables users to firmly grasp the unit during operation.
  • When users are using the phone with a single hand, it is often the case that they accidentally press the area below the button that they want to push because they are looking at the button, not their hand. The phone automatically corrects the user’s input to ensure that the correct button is pressed, helping to reduce input mistakes.
  • Redeveloped interface including the size of the buttons, the readability of the screen, and the window layout. Common features such as the phone, e-mail and address book applications are prominently displayed with large buttons and icon illustrations, and, as a result, the menu can be intuitively navigated even by first-time smartphone users.
  • The Raku-Raku Smartphone also includes the same menu screen as other Raku-Raku Phone series models, with its easy-to-understand style and large, easy-to-read font.
  • The phone also continues to feature one-touch dialling, a popular feature of the series.
  • Loud-volume telephone receiver speaker that provides clear sound and adjusts to eight settings for clear voice reception with minimal distortion.
  • “Echo Cut” feature, that cancels out reverberation from the voice transmission.
  • Other audio features correct the audio based on hearing relating to age, enhance clarity, slows down the speed of a user’s voice, and other basic Raku-Raku Phone functions.
  • Raku-Raku Community is an Internet community that aids in creating connections between people by allowing users to post comments, share pictures, and exchange messages. Raku-Raku Community is monitored 24 hours a day by dedicated Fujitsu staff members to prevent unintended posts, sales pitches, and solicitation posts, resulting in a service that users can enjoy with peace of mind. On top of user-friendly registration and set-up, the service is free to use, so new users can easily get started.

Since the launch in 1999 NTT DoCoMo’s bare-bones Raku-Raku Phone series, sales have topped 15 million units according to the Nikkei Weekly.

It will be interesting to see which telco’s seize the opportunity to snap up the Raku-Raku phone (a name change might be in order) for their local markets.