Sharp software glitch freezes cell phones

Compiled From Kyodo, Staff Reports

Sharp Corp. said Tuesday that 10 million of its cell phones have a software glitch that disables the handsets when certain hiragana phrases are converted into kanji when writing e-mail.

The glitch affects 27 models made for NTT DoCoMo Inc. and Vodafone K.K., the company said.

The phrases known to freeze the phones are: “mirare makuccha,” which roughly means “people’s eyes were fixed on me,” and “kazega naori kaketa,” meaning, “I was recovering from a cold,” according to Nikkei Net, a Web-based business and information technology news site.

The software glitch is present in 5.21 million phones used in 10 models sold by DoCoMo, including the SH902i, and 5.24 million phones used in 17 models sold by Vodafone, including the 905SH, Nikkei Net said.

Disabled handsets can be rebooted after the battery pack is removed, the officials said.

Both Vodafone and DoCoMo plan to offer free fixes for the defective handsets at their sales outlets.