Launched with Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo in August last year, the Raku-Raku F-12D Smartphone from Fujitsu is specifically targeted at senior citizens, a rapidly growing market not just in Japan, but in many countries, and will also find a market for anyone looking for a simplified and accessible entry to modern smartphones.
Raku-Raku translates from Japanese somewhat as “easy-to-use” or “comfortable” and this is exactly how this smartphone has been designed, alongside feature phones from Fujitsu’s range of the same name. Raw specifications don’t mean much with a device like this but the core OS is a highly modified variant of Android 4.0 ICS with a 4 inch VGA screen, 8MP camera and 32GB microSD slot.
The interface has been adapted so icons and text are now much larger so they are both easier to see and select, as well as having the most prominent features such as calls and texts available first on the home screen. The main idea is for the phone interface to be a similar to a standard feature phone as possible, whilst still having the benefits of a smart device with Internet connectivity and browsing, emails etc. that the user can learn about intuitively.
The Raku-Raku touchscreen has been specifically designed to depress slightly when used to provide more feedback to the user and has also been configured to realise the difference between a tap and a stroke in such a way that users should not become frustrated. Icons can be highlighted before a second press to open with an accompanying vibration – all designed with the inexperienced touchscreen user in mind. The sensitivity at the edges of the screen has also been adapted to aid those that may grip the device in a non standard fashion and not accidentally select items at the edge.
The F-12D has proven to be a big hit in Japan and Orange have now picked up the device to be sold in France, prompting a press release from NTT DoCoMo outlining a European localisation to begin sale in June. Perhaps we will see the F-12D, renamed the ‘Stylistic S01’, in more markets soon?