Orange Fujitsu Stylistic S01 pictures and hands-on
In Japan, Fujitsu has built a healthy user base of older phone owners, first with its feature phones and then with its first Android handset, which it called the Raku Raku Smartphone ("Raku Raku" meaning "easy-to-use").
Now it is to bring the device to Europe for the first time, and Pocket-lint got to play with it during the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona this week.
Called the Fujitsu Stylistic S01, the phone will be exclusively available on the Orange network in France to begin with. We were told that should it do well other markets, including the UK, will be looked at by the carrier, and considering the problems the older generation can have with some smartphone technology - as Pocket-lint discovered when we were artificially aged for our test recently - there's definitely a gap in the market.
The phone itself runs on a core of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. However, it is heavily skinned with a very specific user interface. For a start, it only scrolls vertically, up and down. That removes some confusion. Also, the icons are massive and in primary colours. Those with less than perfect eyesight should still be able to navigate comfortably.
Google Play is resident on the device, in case the owner wishes to download further applications, so it's not a completely locked system. But downloaded apps will appear in their own section, rather than on the home screen.
The screen isn't the highest resolution on the market, at just 800 x 480, but this is not aimed at those hoping to keep up with the Joneses. Rather, the screen tech spec has a more interesting element that helps it stand out: tactile feedback technology.
Instead of its responding instantly to a brush of a finger, you need to hold your digit on an icon for a little longer - long enough to feel a physical jolt that says you've entered that keypress. This is important for those who may have difficulty with movement in their hands. A normal smartphone may be difficult to use by users with less control over their fingers. The Stylistic S01 will accept a keypress only if it is genuinely meant, not accidentally brushed over.
The phone also has an audio technology that automatically adjusts frequency to best suit the age of the person using the phone (presumably based on average statistics). And it can even slow down the speech of the caller a touch to further aid understanding.
Another feature of the phone is that every single section and mode has its own specific help guide. A little question mark in each zone will reveal user information on that function. It allows an older user to get to grips with their phone without having to plough through a hard-to-read manual first.
And, unlike with many other Android phones, the large "Home" button brings the user completely out of apps and closes them, avoiding the problem of their running in the background and sucking battery life.
Other specifications include an 8.1-megapixel camera on the rear, 0.3-megapixel one on the front for video calling. The phone is physically designed to be able to be held steadily, with a matte finish on the bezel and rear, and even the surrounding metal band has a gritty feel in order to remain non-slip.
There's a 1.4GHz single-core Qualcomm processor, and 4GB of on-board storage - expandable through a microSD card slot. Its battery is 1,800mAh, and the phone comes with a sturdy recharging dock to avoid the necessity for non-nimble fingers to have to fiddle with USB charging cables and the like.
The Fujitsu Stylistic S01 will be available in France on Orange from June. Pricing details are yet to be announced.