Softbank feels the need for speed

by

Staff Writer

Softbank Corp. unveiled on Tuesday its new product lineup for this winter and spring, putting more focus on a fast network and entertainment-related services.

All six of its new smartphones powered by Google Inc.’s Android operating system can connect to the Softbank 4G network, which receives and sends data several times faster than the current mainstream 3G network.

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son told a press event in Tokyo that offering wide Internet coverage is a given in the smartphone era, so carriers must provide speedy connections. “It’s crucial that people can use their smartphones more smoothly and comfortably through fast communications networks,” he said.

The Softbank 4G service was launched in February but has been only used for mobile Internet modems. This is the first time smartphones will use Softbank’s 4G network.

Softbank’s new smartphones include China-based Huawei Technologies Co.’s Stream, which has a 4.3-inch screen and an 8-megapixel camera that will hit store shelves Wednesday, and Fujitsu Ltd.’s Arrows A20, a model with a 4.7-inch display and large battery boasting a long-lasting 2,420 milliampere-hour (mAh) capacity that will ship in February.

According to Son, all new smartphones will have a tethering function available starting Dec. 15. Tethering is a service in which a phone is used as a wireless Internet modem to connect with other devices.

Son said the Uula video content service for smartphones will debut in December via a partnership with Avex Group Holdings. For ¥490 a month, users will have unlimited access to video content, including foreign movies, original drama and music promotion videos, he said.