While smartphones with all their advanced features are becoming commonplace among the larger public, there are still those who are loyally sticking to the Fujitsu “F-series” phones because of its stealth privacy features that earned its popular nickname – uwaki keitai or “infidelity phone”.
The fliphone has become a popular unit for those who are hiding their illicit affairs because of its “privacy mode” that hides missed calls, emails and text messages from contacts designated as private. If that contact gets in touch, the only signal is a subtle change in the color or shape of how the battery sign or antenna bars are displayed. If the user ignores the call, the number or caller doesn’t appear on the activity log. Fujitsu and other Japanese phone makers cannot adopt such customized features anymore because most smartphones run on the Android operating system. They were only able to create those features because the older Japanese phones used to run on software that was specifically for the domestic market.
Fujitsu started offering the security features in 2002 to accommodate the security requirements by NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest carrier. According to Takeshi Natsuno, a senior DoCoMo executive at the time, they insisted on more stringent security measures after so many stories of couples splitting up or employees getting in trouble at work due to unattended phones. Fujitsu has marketed the strong security features of their phone, but not directly to their subset of “loyal cheater” users.
Most of the affairs nowadays are conducted through or with the help of mobile phones, according to Toshiyuki Makiguchi, who runs Uwaki Rescue SOS, a Tokyo-based consulting company to help people find out if their partners are cheating. And given this issue, we won’t be surprised if other telephone makers will find ways to put more security measures in order to stand out from their competitors. Well, at least in the eyes of the cheater market, that is.