Fujitsu plans European smartphone entry

Fujitsu will launch a wide range of smartphones and tablets for the first time in Europe, as the Japanese electronics company seeks to stake a claim in the fast-growing and high-margin mobile device market.

Competition in the smartphone market is set to further intensify next week when manufacturers launch the latest generations of handsets at Mobile World Congress, an annual telecoms conference in Barcelona. Fujitsu has lined up a range of high-end mobile devices for both Android and Windows operating systems to challenge the dominance of market leaders in Europe such as Apple and Samsung.

Japanese handset makers have struggled in the past to compete in the European markets, in part owing to a focus on technology specifically tailored for domestic use, even as Asian rivals such as Samsung and HTC have gained a significant global market share. In the past two years, there have also been launches from Chinese makers such as Huawei and ZTE, which are gaining a foothold in the cheaper end of the market.

Fujitsu’s new handsets and tablets for the European market use technology it has developed that can be used globally. It is already a large handset and tablet maker in Japan with about a fifth of the market.

The company’s smart phones will be enabled for NFC, the mobile payment system, and will work with LTE, the next generation fast mobile broadband services already being used in Japan.

Fujitsu will also adopt biometric security in its handsets – in effect allowing fingerprint access to the phone – in order to provide additional protection as its phones are increasingly used as a method of payment with NFC. The company is targeting a “double-digit” market share in the next three to five years.

Robert Pryke, director for Fujitsu’s mobile phone business in Europe, said the group had already spoken to operators about adopting the range. “The Japanese market has been in a silo from a technology and design perspective, but Fujitsu is bringing out a global product,” Mr Pryke said.

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