Softbank Mobile Corp announced a smartphone capable of measuring the amount of radiation May 29, 2012.
"We want to provide reassurance to mothers who have small children," Softbank Mobile President Masayoshi Son said.
The smartphone, "Pantone5 107SH," was developed by Sharp Corp. Softbank Mobile plans to release the phone in mid July 2012 or later as a new product for the summer of 2012.
The Pantone5 is equipped with a radiation meter module using two silicon (Si)-based PIN photodiodes. Though the company did not disclose the dimensions of the module, it said that the module is as large as a SIM card.
The module is used to measure gamma radiation in the range from 0.05? to 9.99?Sv per hour with a margin of error of ±20%. A measurement value is calculated based on the latest amount of radiation measured for two minutes. When a value is shown on the display, it is updated every 10 seconds.
To improve the measurement accuracy of the radiation meter module, Softbank Mobile will start shipping the phone after making adjustment to the module by using cesium (Cs) 137, Son said.
The amount of radiation can be measured just by pressing a button located on the lower right part of the phone, and, at the same time, the measurement location is displayed on a map. At the point of its release, the phone does not have a function to share measured results with other users.
"Measurement results differ depending on the distance from the ground," Son said. "Therefore, such a function might cause harmful rumours. We might enable to share data if it becomes possible to reduce variation in measurement results in the near future."
Softbank Mobile started to develop the Pantone5 because many requests were tweeted to Son after the Tohoku earthquake, which hit Japan in March 2011.
"If we could not make it, we would disappoint them," Son said. "So, I could not easily say, 'Let's do it.' We will offer the phone with a special fee schedule so that many people will be happy to use it."
The Pantone5 will be released as a new product in the Pantone series, whose cumulative unit sales is more than 3.4 million, Son said. The phone comes in eight colors. The dimensions of the phone are approximately 115 x 58 x 12mm. It has a waterproof capability equivalent to IPX5/IPX7 and a dustproof capability equivalent to IP5X.
The Pantone5 is equipped with a 3.7-inch 854 x 480-pixel LCD panel. It supports 1seg digital TV broadcast, mobile wallet, infrared data communication, etc for users in Japan. Its software base is Google Inc's Android 4.0.