Carlyle-controlled Japanese handy-phone firm Willcom Inc rolled out the world's first phones featuring Intel Corp's Centrino Atom microprocessors, as it fights for new users in a saturated market.
Willcom, which held 4 per cent of Japan's mobile market at the end of March, said it aims to grab an annual 50,000 to 100,000 users with its D4 phone, which runs Microsoft Corp's Windows Vista operating system.
Dwarfed in a market dominated by mobile phone carriers NTT DoCoMo Inc and KDDI Corp, Willcom has been focusing on high-end, pricey phones with PC-like capabilities targetting corporate users and students.
It has so far sold 150,000 to 200,000 such smartphones in three years. Willcom's user base numbered 4.6 million at the end of March.
Willcom's newest phone, which comes with a touchpad made by Sharp Corp, goes on market in mid-June priced at 128,600 yen ($1,272). Earlier this month, Intel launched its Centrino Atom chips with integrated graphics, aiming to give PC-like power to mobile devices without burning out the battery.