Fujitsu to target U.S. market with smartphone aimed at seniors

Fujitsu plans to market its "Raku Raku" smartphone aimed at seniors in the United States and Europe in a bid to bolster its exposure and sales outside of the company's native Japan.

Fujitsu seniors Raku Raku

Fujitsu's "Raku Raku" phone

Fujitsu President Masami Yamamoto said the company will expand the smartphone's distribution in 2013 as part of a wider strategy to break into new markets. "As the Japanese market has already hit a peak, we have to sell devices overseas to increase our sales numbers," he said, according to Japanese publication Asahi Shimbun.

Fujitsu hopes to increase sales from 8 million units in fiscal 2012 to 10 million in 2014, the report noted.

The Raku Raku smartphone, which runs on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android platform, sports a large, easy-to-read display and loud volume for older users. The phone was released in Japan this summer and Fujitsu expects to make country-specific modifications to the device. 

Fujitsu, like other Japanese companies, faces a range of challenges in expanding outside of Japan. Japanese rival Panasonic decided to exit the European market after making a big push there just last year.

In the United States, the market for senior-friendly gadgets is a niche one, but still going strong. In October, GreatCall, the maker of the Jitterbug smartphone line, introduced a touchscreen Android smartphone based on the Kyocera Milano. The device, the Jitterbug Touch, is sold without a contract for $169.

For more:
- see this Asahi Shimbun article
- see this The Verge article

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