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Fujitsu tempts Europe to splash cash on waterproof mobes

Hopes quirky phones and slabs will swim rather than sink

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MWC 2012 Japanese firm Fujitsu is gearing up to launch its smartphones and tablets in Europe, taking on incumbents Apple and Samsung.

The company will be showcasing two mobiles and a slab at next week's Mobile World Congress (MWC) conference in Barcelona, and said it will lob its products at the market within the year.

Fujitsu is not a bit player in the mobile manufacturing biz - it claims to hold around a fifth of the Japanese market - but this will be the first time it tries its hand at grabbing some of Europe's lucrative phone sector.

Although Fujitsu expects to launch products on the continent this year, it refused to be pinned down to a specific time.

"Details of timings and devices that will be made available in European countries will be dependent on the outcome of ongoing negotiations with operators across Europe, including those with a pan-European footprint and those that provide services in just one territory," the company said.

The only things that still seem to be selling in Europe are smartphones and tablets, with the economic downturn and consumer appetite for tiny gadgets taking care of any desire for big-ticket electronics like tellies and PCs.

Nevertheless, it's an odd time to be launching a set of phones, particularly with the huge dominance of Apple and Samsung squeezing out existing rivals like Motorola, HTC and the former Sony Ericsson.

In the hopes of making a good first impression, Fujitsu will be bringing along some novel ideas to MWC, including an ultra-slim waterproof mobile phone and a waterproof tablet.

Japanese firms are famed for quirky additions to electronics, something that sells well at home, but doesn't always impress European audiences. Still, a phone folks can safely drop in the toilet could well make a splash.

Some of Fujitsu's other innovations include "human centric" technologies, which collect data from mobile phone sensors in order to detect the body movements of the phone owner and provide biometric locking for phones, as well as more recognisable features such as dual touchscreens, LTE and pay-by-wave NFC technology for mobile wallets. ®

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