Telecom Lead Japan: Mobile phone operator Softbank will
launch smartphones with radiation detectors.
The smartphone in the company’s Pantone series will be available
in eight bright colors and include customized IC chips made by Sharp that
measure radiation levels in microsieverts per hour.
The phone will be launched this summer. It can keep track of
each location a user tests for radiation levels. Softbank did not disclose the
price. It will be affordable to consumers.
The launch is significant as parts of northeastern Japan are
still off-limits due to high radiation levels after the Fukushima nuclear plant
was devastated by a huge earthquake and tsunami, triggering meltdowns and
“The threat from the nuclear accident cannot be seen by
the human eye and continues to be a concern for many people, especially for
mothers with small children,” said Masayoshi Son, Softbank founder and
The smartphone is more portable and user-friendly than
conventional Geiger counters.
Recently, PayPal and Softbank announced their plan to set up
a joint venture company, PayPal Japan, to build a digital payments business
that will drive the future of commerce in Japan.
In addition, PayPal and Softbank announced PayPal Here in
Japan, the fifth country to receive this global mobile payment solution that is
already available in the USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Australia. PayPal Here will
enable millions of Japanese small businesses to grow their sales by accepting
credit/debit cards and PayPal payments through a smartphone anytime, anywhere.
The venture will bring together the strengths of both
companies – PayPal’s online and mobile payment solutions with 110 million
active accounts in 190 markets and 25 currencies, along with the Softbank’s market
knowledge, 29 million mobile subscribers and distribution network including
thousands of retail outlets and sales staff across Japan.
More than 31 million smartphones are expected to be shipped
in Japan in 2012.