Fujitsu to launch smartphone for the elderly

The phone targets Japan's aging population with a special touchscreen and a version of Android with larger text and buttons

Japanese electronics giant Fujitsu on Monday showed a new smartphone for the elderly, with a simplified Android user interface and a new touch screen designed for senior users.

The F-12D phone is the latest in Fujitsu's popular "RakuRaku" line, a series of feature phones with simplified features aimed at Japan's aging population. The phrase "rakuraku" means "easy" or "comfortable" in Japanese.

(See YouTube footage of the phone from Tokyo.)

Fujitsu said it negotiated directly with Google to use Android without requiring the creation of a Google account, which it said could be confusing for older users. The company designed a user interface that is meant to be inviting and easy to use, with large text and buttons and only simple, vertical scrolling.

"We developed a phone that will let customers step up from traditional feature phones," said Nobuo Otani, a Fujitsu executive who spoke to reporters at a press event in Tokyo.

As smartphones continue to standardize, manufacturers like Fujitsu are trying to differentiate their Android-based handsets with unique user interfaces. Last month, Sharp said it had designed a new "Feel UX" user interface, and rivals such as Sony and Samsung also offer their own interfaces that sit atop Android.

Fujitsu's new phone also features a touch screen designed for first-time users that aren't comfortable with technology, after testing by the company showed many elderly users had trouble adapting from the physical keys of feature phones.

The screen gives way slightly when pressed, to recreate the feeling of a physical button. Tapping icons and links on the phone only highlights them, and a stronger press is required to actually select something. The phone's software is designed to ignore "false touches," such as when fingers used to hold the phone are accidentally moved over the screen.

Otani said he is unaware of a smartphone aimed at elderly users outside of Japan, and Fujitsu is eager to pitch the phone to foreign operators that are interested.

In Japan, Fujitsu has retained a 55-year-old actress, Shinobu Otake, to promote the phone to older customers.

The phone will go on sale in Japan from early August under NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest operator. DoCoMo is offering the phone on a two-year contract that costs about ¥4,000 (US$50) per month if users download 500 MB or less in mail and data.

Recommended

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?