This month saw the launch of the hybrid Arrows A SoftBank 301F, Fujitsu’s latest Android 4G LTE smartphone for SoftBank customers.

Using advanced power-saving technology, the Arrow A SoftBank 301F only needs 10 minutes of charging to run a full day. Once fully charged, its battery can also last up to three days, making it a particularly tempting choice for the busy business person or frequent traveler.

Other notable features include a high-resolution 13.1 megapixel camera as well as a smart fingerprint sensor for security, and it’s available in white, black in pink.

Fujitstu: www.fmworld.net/product/phone/301f Softbank: jtim.es/rJbqk

Credit-card payments just got smarter

Being able to pay for things without having to carry wads of cash with you is always a good idea, and there are several ways to do this in Japan, including mobile-phone payments or even Suica electronic ticketing cards. Only 10 percent of Japan’s small businesses, however, provide a means to use the international standard of cash-free payment — the credit card.

This is likely due to the expensive initial cost of installing a credit-card authorization terminal and subsequent transaction fees, issues that one Japanese startup is addressing with Coiney.

Coiney is a small, circular credit-card reading device that is attached to smartphones via the earphone jack. It allows customers to swipe cards without the need of an actual credit-card terminal. There are no installation or registration fees (the device itself is also free), though it does take a 4 percent commission on purchases.

Mobile credit-card processing devices are not new, and there is tough competition, including Smart Pay from Rakuten, the PayPal Here and Square. Coiney, however, has just secured a total of ¥1.3 billion in investment from the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan and Credit Saison, which suggests there’s a lot of faith behind it becoming a particular success.


Who needs high-tech gloves?

When it comes to finding warm gloves that work with smartphones, you’ll likely find limited design options. But why should you be stuck with average-looking gloves when there are so many fashionable alternatives?

A few drops of Landport’s Smaphocchi can transform almost any pair of gloves into touchscreen-friendly ones, letting you tap and swipe in comfort and style. It works with any water-absorbent fabric, so unfortunately that doesn’t include leather or rubber, but anything else: just three to five drops and the effects will last for a few months.

One bottle of Smaphocchi contains enough liquid for roughly 120 applications and it only costs ¥1,050. It can be purchased via the Peekaboo online shop, or at a variety of outlets, including Loft and Tokyo Hands. Some electronics stores, such as Biccamera, also stock it.


Cleaning with robot company

It’s “spring clean” time of the year in Japan, and this ritual of ōsoji is often a chaotic chore that requires manual lifting, shifting and scrubbing. But there is one cleaning duty that could be left to robots.

This month, Sharp released RX-V200, the latest version of its robot cleaner Cocorobo. Equipped with artificial intelligence, this vacuum cleaner not only responds to voice commands, but also communicates with its owner. When asked, it can offer information gleaned from the Internet and even give you a little advice.

By registering its in-built infrared remote-control, you can also use the RX-V200 to control other home electronics via your smartphone, as well as have it take and send you photos — a useful service for those with pets at home alone. Priced at around ¥100,000, the RX-V200 can be found at major electronics stores.


Teriyaki takes on the Michelin Guide

Teriyaki is the latest creation from Takafumi Horie, the Internet tycoon and founder of Livedoor. A restaurant-recommendation app that aspires to be respected on the level of the Michelin Guide, Teriyaki is curated by 15 food-lovers who range from high-profile restaurant-review editors to political journalists, plus, of course, Horie himself.

It’s already covered more than 700 restaurants across Japan and there are plans to expand overseas in the near future. Both the iOS and Android apps are free, but there is a monthly fee of ¥400 to use additional features such as its search function.


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