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Fujitsu's Android phones for Grandma and Grandpa coming to US and Europe

Fujitsu's Raku-Raku ("easy-to-use") smartphone, which has a special user interface making it easier to use by first-time smartphone users including senior citizens, is to become available in Europe and America during 2013.
December 28, 2012
In the summer of this year Fujitsu launched its “Raku-Raku” Android smartphone via Japan’s NTT DOCOMO. The Raku-Raku (“easy-to-use”) smartphone has a special user interface making it easier to use by first-time smartphone users including senior citizens. Until now it has only been available in Japan but the news is that Fujitsu plans to start selling the device in Europe and America during 2013.

The smartphone uses Fujitsu’s special Raku-Raku Touchscreen which is designed for easy use and is easy to read. Those familiar with conventional mobile phones should be able to make the transition smoothly. The UI uses a very simple menu structure and uses large icons. When the user touches an icon it changes color to let the user know it has been selected. If the user continues to press the icon then the phone will vibrate as a secondary confirmation. The idea is to make the UI tolerant of mistakes and stress-free.

Fujitsu conducted lots of market research especially with elderly users and incorporated the feedback from the research into the development of the Snapdragon S2 based phone. There are also features like a special built-in amplifier which can boost the audible volumes and help to minimize distortion during in phone calls.

The plan to sell the phones outside of Japan was unveiled by Masami Yamamoto, Fujitsu’s president, during a recent interview. Yamamoto says that the Japanese market has hit a peak for smartphone sales and so Fujitsu is turning to overseas markets. Although Fujitsu will sell its “Raku-Raku” smartphone in the United States and Europe, after making certain modifications for each country, it has no plans sell its high-performance Arrows smartphones abroad.

Yamamoto points out that his company doesn’t have the huge capital reserves of companies like Samsung and so is unable to do the massive brand promotion needed to enter the mainstream Android smartphone market. Fujitsu isn’t the only Japanese handset maker who is aware of the difficulties of competing with the likes of Samsung, Motorola and Sony. Panasonic recently announced that it will be withdrawing from the European smartphone market and will no longer sell its Eluga handset outside of Japan.