NTT DoCoMo Unveils Japan's 1st Android Mobile Phone

May 20, 2009
Toshiyuki Oomori, Nikkei Electronics
Ryuji Yamada, president of NTT DoCoMo, unveils the "HT-03A," a mobile phone featuring the Android platform
Ryuji Yamada, president of NTT DoCoMo, unveils the "HT-03A," a mobile phone featuring the Android platform
[Click to enlarge image]
The QWERTY-layout software keyboard
The QWERTY-layout software keyboard
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The hiragana-input software keyboard
The hiragana-input software keyboard
[Click to enlarge image]

NTT DoCoMo Inc unveiled the "HT-03A," the first mobile phone that employed the "Android" platform in Japan, May 19, 2009.

Android, developed by Google Inc of the US, is a platform intended for mobile phone handsets. The HT-03A was developed by High Tech Computer Corp (HTC) of Taiwan.

"This was developed by a Taiwanese manufacturer, but we hope that Japanese makers will develop Android-based mobile phones, too," said Ryuji Yamada, president of NTT DoCoMo, at the press meeting.

As input devices, the handset is equipped with a touch panel and a track ball, like the "T-Mobile G1," an Android-based handset of T-Mobile USA Inc. However, it is not equipped with character input keys. The hardware of the handset itself is the "HTC Magic," which has already been unveiled overseas.

The HT-03A incorporates a geomagnetic sensor, and information on the orientation of the handset can be utilized by some applications. For example, a scene in line with the orientation of the handset can be displayed by using Google Maps Street View.

In addition, it is possible to use the handset as a compass to display its orientation and show the constellations that can be seen at the current time and place in accordance with the orientation of the handset, using "Pocket Rashinban," preinstalled application software.

NTT DoCoMo did not make any change to the Android platform, adhering to the standard operating properties of Android. The company will not offer its own software distribution platform and use the standard software distribution platform "Android Market."

The HT-03A comes with "iWinn IME" as Japanese input software. Characters can be entered using a QWERTY-layout or hiragana-input software keyboard. The handset does not support i-mode e-mail.

It is possible to use Gmail, and normal e-mail software can be used by creating an account. Also, the handset will support the "i-mode.net," which allows users to send and receive i-mode mails via PCs.

The HT-03A is 113 x 56 x 14mm in size and weighs about 123g. It is equipped with a 3.2-inch display and a 3.2-Mpixel camera. It supports 7.2-Mbps data communication, wireless LAN (IEEE802.11b/g), GPS and the Bluetooth.