DoCoMo pushes handset with fingerprint authentication

Mobile phone users in Japan, seeking a quick and easy way to secure their phones, will soon be able to purchase handsets using fingerprint authentication technology.

NTT DoCoMo will begin Friday to market the country's first mobile phone using fingerprint authentication technology, the F505i, which is manufactured by Fujitsu, the Japanese mobile operator said Wednesday in a statement.

With the F505i, customers can use fingerprints in place of passwords or code numbers to gain access to their handsets or to phone numbers that they wish to keep secret. The scanner is located at the bottom of the keypad on the handset.

The phone is one of three new models in DoCoMo's 505i range of mobile phones, which feature megapixel-class image sensors and embedded cameras. In April, the operator announced the launch of the new phones.

The phone will be sold through all DoCoMo sales channels, according to the statement. A company spokesman declined to provide price points, saying pricing was an issue for retailers to decide.

The F505i is based on the Japanese PDC (Personal Digital Communications) format and will not work in other countries.

The 505i phones, including the F505i model, are targeting young customers in their 20s and 30s, the company spokesman said. He cited two main reasons why users in this target group may be attracted to fingerprint authentication technology: ease of use and security.

"This technology provides a really fast and simple way for customers to secure their devices," he said.

Depending on take-up of the F505i model, DoCoMo will decide whether to introduce the fingerprint authentication feature in other parts of the world with other models, the spokesman said.

DoCoMo is one of the world's largest mobile operators, with more than 46 million customers.

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John Blau

IDG News Service
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