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DoCoMo's New Handset Features Voice Recognition

NTT DoCoMo Inc has announced it will launch the FOMA "Raku-Raku Phone Premium (F884i)" mobile phone on April 14, 2008. This handset was announced in March 2008 as an upper model of the "Raku-Raku Phone" series manufactured by Fujitsu Ltd. Fujitsu held a press preview April 11 when the handset's marketing schedule was determined. The Raku-Raku Phone Premium features 1seg viewing and the "Osaifu-Keitai (contactless mobile IC card)" capabilities, while supporting both W-CDMA and GSM technologies so it can be used for international roaming service. The Raku-Raku Phone Premium will be added as the upper model of the standard model "Raku-Raku Phone IV" and the entry model "Raku-Raku Phone Basic," which NTT DoCoMo has offered thus far. When developing the Raku-Raku Phone Premium, Fujitsu considered realizing "equivalent operability to that of the predecessor Raku-Raku Phones despite its modern, sophisticated appearance design as other latest standard handsets," the company said. Valuing the chassis design by graphic designer Kenya Hara, in particular, "We spent longer determining design and color specifications compared to other models," Fujitsu said. Formulating a draft plan based on five designs, the company decided the final design while increasing the screen size of the sub display and reducing the size and thickness of the main body. The three colors to be available were chosen from 13 proposed color samples. This model is added with a new proprietary technology to enter e-mail text using voice. The technology is an upgraded version of the Raku-Raku Phone IV's capability that gives users instructions on changing trains and route navigation on a map in accordance with voice input. If the "voice input" button in the e-mail editing display is pressed, software that extracts the characteristics of spoken voices will start and access the i-mode site. When the user speaks what he or she wants to be written in the e-mail, the software detects the characteristics from their voice and transmits them to the server. At the server, voice recognition software manufactured by Advanced Media Inc outputs candidate text based on the transmitted amount of characteristics, then the Raku-Raku Phone receives and displays it in the e-mail text edition display. Fujitsu has added some more technical efforts to the handset in an effort to raise the ease of operation and visibility of the operation display as well. As Fujitsu's "F905i" mobile phone, the Raku-Raku Phone Premier has adopted the "Yoko-Motion" function, a motion detector to launch applications by tilting the phone to the right or left. As for the F905i, users can freely set applications to launch as the handset is tilted when it is in the standby or e-mail edition mode. But the Raku-Raku Phone Premium is preset to launch the 1seg application when the phone is tilted to the right and to start the camera when it is tilted to the left. In the 1seg mode, electronic program guide (EPG) and captions are displayed with larger text compared with the 905i. Fujitsu also made it easy to view the operation display even outside the buildings by employing a 550:1 contrast, half-transmissive LCD panel for the main display.
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Comment by GenePhillips on April 16, 2008 at 5:39am
I'm very excited too, about this and have been waiting for a long time for the USA to get on the band-wagon of voice command..
Comment by Daniel Leuck on April 15, 2008 at 12:08pm
I want one! One of my favorite things about visiting Japan is seeing the new phones. Back when I was living in Tokyo I remember being in a restaurant and getting a call from work about a server issue. Using an SSH applet on my phone I was able to check on the machine without leaving the table. Japan is truly mobile geek paradise.

Interesting side note: DoCoMo, once the 900 lbs guerrilla of carriers in Japan, fell below 50% market share last month. Five years ago I would have laughed if someone predicted AU was going to come out of nowhere and grab a third of the market in just a few years.

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