Sharp to go Android next year as first Japanese cell phone maker


Android is still in its infancy in Japan where most domestic makers still stick with their proprietary operating systems, with basically no one outside the geek community knowing what it is. But things are changing slowly. Last week, SoftBank (the country’s third biggest cell phone carrier) announced an Android-powered phone for next year when the company announced their new models for the next months.

And yesterday, Sharp announced at an event in Tokyo it will roll out a yet to be specified number of Android-based handsets as early as the first half of next year. Sharp commands the biggest market share of all eight cell phone makers in Japan so this is very good news for the Google OS in what is the most advanced mobile society in the world.

The company didn’t reveal which of the three big carriers in Japan will be supplied with the Android handsets, but said they will offer models with features unique to the Japanese market. One of these features might be a tuner for 1seg, a digital TV standard used in Japan and some parts of South America. Other possibilities include Japan-specific e-wallet or electronic train ticket functions.

Via Keitai Watch [JP]