Microsoft is cracking the tough Japanese wireless handheld business with a new smart phone by Sharp Corp. that uses Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system.
Announced Thursday by wireless mobile phone service provider Willcom Inc., the device, named W-ZERO3, will be offered in Japanese markets before the end of the year.
Willcom, which is backed by the U.S. investment firm Carlyle Group and Kyocera Corp., is a service provider of personal handyphone systems (PHS) and is positioning the sophisticated W-ZERO3 to offset the PHS low-cost low-quality image.
The handset has a sliding keyboard that enables users to surf the Internet and send and receive e-mail. It also has a 3.7-inch LCD and a 1.3-megapixel digital camera.
Japanese media reports noted the significance of the device for Microsoft, which has had difficulties in the past breaking into the Japanese market for wireless mobile operating systems.