Fujitsu appears to be branching out just a little bit with its mobile handsets. Last summer, the iconic Japanese electronics manufacturer introduced a smartphone for the elderly as a part of its Raku-Raku phone line. It went on sale in Japan in the latter half of 2012 and following an announced interest in possibly taking this senior-friendly smartphone to international markets, Orange in France is the first to work out a deal.
Raku-Raku means “easy easy” and follows a simplistic design and user interface that features large buttons and large text, akin to the equipment found on Jitterbug devices in the United States. The Raku-Raku devices, even the flip-phones, are way more packed with goodies however and have been available in Japan since 2001.
The Stylistic S01 runs on Android 4.0, but over a completely redesigned UI and the OS has been customized further to not require a Google log-in to start using the phone. In addition, the rest of the specs are not totally in the basement, albeit they are not leading edge by today’s standards. The S01 is water and dust resistant, features a Qualcomm 1.4GHz Snapdragon S2 CPU and 8MP main camera. It has 4GB of storage which is expandable via microSD, a front facing camera, and an 1,800mAh battery.
The screen is a 4-inch WVGA 800x480 display with “unique tactile feedback technology” which allows the user to touch to select, but then press to execute. Everything is displayed in large, easy to read and understand shapes and colors. For Orange, certain carrier-specific services will also be available on the Stylistic S01. Fujitsu has been working on “human-centric” features to its Raku-Raku line for over ten years so this smartphone is probably going to be a hit. The Stylistic S01 will be available on Orange in June.
The Stylistic S01 is Fujitsu's introduction to the global market.
We understand what you are thinking, “This is mid-range niche device for a niche market, what's the big deal?” We appreciate that line of thinking, however what is more significant than the device itself is that it is Fujitsu’s first major entry into a foreign smartphone market. What is even more significant about this is that Fujitsu stated the following with its press release: “We are committed to the success of this partnership as we strive to expand our smartphone business overseas, while advancing the promotion of Japanese technology worldwide.”
We will type it one more time to let that sink in, “as we strive to expand our…business overseas…advancing the promotion of Japanese technology worldwide.”
Could this be the beginning of what will be an introduction of some hot Japanese technology finally making its way to other markets? We really hope so because Fujitsu makes some really sweet looking gear with some mighty impressive specifications. We think the timing is perfect for another brand from Japan to join the fray.
Tokyo and Paris, February 19, 2013 — Fujitsu Limited and France Telecom-Orange today announced a new partnership to offer mobile phones and services in Europe. The partnership marks Fujitsu's first extensive foray into the smartphone market outside Japan. The initial offering will be the STYLISTIC S01, a smartphone designed especially for senior users, and will be available through Orange in France in June 2013.
As the senior population in Europe continues to grow rapidly, smartphone usage in this demographic is expected to rise. With the release of the STYLISTIC S01, Fujitsu and Orange plan on offering users in this market segment an innovative smartphone that provides outstanding usability. The STYLISTIC S01 will include services like Orange Cineday(1) and Orange et Moi(2), which are unique to Orange. Based around the human-centric technologies that Fujitsu has cultivated for over a decade, the STYLISTIC S01 also offers a variety of original, convenient functions designed to reduce barriers to smartphone adoption by maximizing ease of use.
One of these barriers is conventional touchscreens, which do not offer the tactile sensation of pressing a physical button. The STYLISTIC S01, however, employs a unique screen technology that requires users to apply the same level of pressure to on-screen icons as they would to buttons on a keypad. This helps users avoid inadvertent touches, preventing unintended operations and improving input accuracy. Furthermore, the intuitive graphic user interface features extra-large icons and a simplified layout to ensure straightforward navigation for easier operation. The STYLISTIC S01 is also equipped with a loud personal security alarm that can be used to alert people in the surrounding area in emergency situations.
The handset incorporates audio technology that optimizes the frequency range based on a user's age, making it easier to hear the voice of the person on the other end of the call. Another user-friendly audio function slows down the speech of callers who speak rapidly without lowering the pitch of their voice or changing the length of the conversation. These and other innovative features are currently in use in the Fujitsu Raku-Raku Phone series for seniors, which has been offered by NTT DOCOMO since 2001 in Japan where it has sold over 20 million units.
"The senior customers within our customer base are just as hungry for smartphone technology and mobile internet services as anyone else. We are thrilled to be working together with Fujitsu to leverage our combined strengths to provide products for an emerging smartphone market segment in Europe," said Yves Maitre, Senior Vice President of Device & Mobile Multimedia, France Telecom-Orange.
"As Fujitsu's first extensive entry into the smartphone market outside Japan, we are delighted that Orange – a company that holds a strong position in the European market – will be offering our phone, which features Fujitsu-exclusive human-centric technologies," said Nobuo Otani, Corporate Senior Vice President, Fujitsu Limited. "We are committed to the success of this partnership as we strive to expand our smartphone business overseas, while advancing the promotion of Japanese technology worldwide."
The STYLISTIC S01 will be on display at the Fujitsu stand (Hall 5 Stand 5E120) and can also be viewed upon request at the Orange stand (Hall 5 Stand 5H110) during Mobile World Congress 2013, to be held in Barcelona, Spain starting February 25, 2013.