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Softbank to offer health service via smartphone

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

Softbank Corp. said it will launch this summer a health care service package for its smartphones that includes monitoring daily health conditions and fitness information as well as 24-hour telephone counseling.

At a news conference Tuesday where the firm also released its new handset lineup, Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son said it is important to provide unique services to differentiate Softbank from its competitors because most handsets are powered by the same operating systems, such as Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.

Rather than marketing too many models, “it’s better to narrow them down and provide new services . . . and attract customers we couldn’t get before,” Son said.

Priced at ¥490 a month, Softbank HealthCare will come with a wristband called a Fitbit Flex that can track information regarding health and fitness, like the number of steps the users walked, the calories they burned and the number of hours slept.

The information gathered on the Fitbit, a popular product in the United States, is sent to a smartphone by connecting the two devices. Based on the accumulated data, which will be stored in Softbank’s cloud network, the smartphone will then provide advice to the user.

Softbank said it will offer telephone counseling 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If needed, users will be able to talk directly to a doctor.

While this is Softbank’s first foray into this kind of health-related service, NTT DoCoMo Inc. has already been offering a similar service.

  • RED-DOLPHIN

    interesting move for Softbank. Probably a shared revenue model with Fitbit rather than bring yet another device on the market: why not ? Let’s see how successful this can be in Japan first ?