Fujitsu Will Sell Senior-Friendly Raku-Raku Phones In U.S. And Europe

Senior citizens in Europe and the United States will soon have an Android phone made just for them. Fujitsu Ltd. president, Masami Yamamoto, revealed plans yesterday during an interview, to release their senior friendly Raku-Raku smartphones in 2013.

The Japanese market hit a peak at around 8 million units during fiscal 2012. Fujitsu projects an increase of 2 million by 2014 by selling the Raku-Raku smartphone in the U.S and Europe markets.

While younger people have so far dominated the smartphone market, Fujitsu felt that making a smartphone with features specifically made for Japan's aging population was a great opportunity that no one else had yet seen. The Raku-Raku, which means "comfortable" in Japanese, has only a few large home screen icons, bigger letters, standard noise cancellation, and increased volume for the hearing impaired. The phone will also slow down the other person's voice for easier understanding.

The Raku-Raku F12-D, which is the phone that will be released in the overseas market, runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with a 1.4 GHz processor, a 800 X 480 4 inch display and an 8 megapixel camera. The home screen only includes a few differently colored apps that must be tapped and held down for a second. This helps ensure that the tap was on purpose and helps eliminate accidental presses that might otherwise cause unneeded frustration. The call button is located right beside the message and contact icons with an app to display the weather forecast and the other most frequently accessed features right below. There is a shortcut for quick access to tech support, a button to display the user's phone number and a voice controlled Shabette Concier app. The smartphone won't have access to the Google Play store.

The monthly price for the F12-D removes any doubt that this smartphone is perfect for senior citizens. The monthly plan will cost $37 (¥2980) with a 500 MB data limit, which is about $31 less than the 7 GB LTE plan from Japanese carrier, Docomo.

The company has said that they have no future plans to release its popular high-end Arrows smartphone. "We don't have the luxury of spending huge amounts of money to promote a brand, like Samsung," Yamamoto said.

The popularity of smartphones has been making it difficult for carriers to see any profit from also offering "regular cell phones". This leaves seniors with only a few options, like the Jitterbug line of phones. It is nice to see an Android phone designed just for our senior citizens.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

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