DoCoMo adds smart phones, tablet to lineup

by Kazuaki Nagata

NTT DoCoMo Inc. unveiled two new smart phones and a tablet device Thursday as the carrier aims to penetrate more aggressively into the growing Japanese smart phone market.

“Customer needs for smart phones are very high, and the market’s attention is rapidly shifting to smart phones,” DoCoMo President Ryuji Yamada said during a media preview in Tokyo.

One of the new smart phones, the 7.7-mm thick Medias from NEC Corp. has a 4-inch multitouch screen and is powered by Google’s Android operating system. Its one-seg digital TV and electronic wallet functions are familiar to Japanese users.

The other model, the Xperia arc from Sony Ericsson — the latest in the Xperia series — is equipped with Sony’s image-enhancing Mobile Bravia Engine.

The new tablet, from LG Electronics Inc., the Optimus Pad, has an 8.9-inch screen. The 620-gram device runs the Android 3.0 OS and can also shoot 3-D movies with its 1GHz dual-core processor.

With the start of the business and school years in spring, new phone sales tend to spike.

Yamada said marketing data suggest interest is shifting to smart phones, including among high school students, women and seniors.

“Sales results from January show that 35 to 40 percent of the people who bought smart phones were women and about 15 percent were people older than 50,” Yamada said.

The company has far outstripped its initial goal of selling 1 million smart phones this fiscal year. It has sold about 1.9 million so far and now hopes to hit 2.5 million by the end of March.