It took Japan’s handset makers and carriers a while, but interest in Android is picking up steam over here. Sharp, for example, announced two Android tablets for release later this year just last week. Earlier this year, the same company presented the IS01 (full details), an Android-based smartbook distributed by Japan’s No. 2 mobile carrier, KDDI au.
And today both companies announced [JP] the IS03, an Android-powered cell phone for next month. And the device boasts some pretty impressive (and quite unique) specs. It’s basically the first smartphone that meets the specific demands of Japan’s spoiled cell phone users.
Here are the main specs:
- 3.5-inch screen with 960×640 resolution capacitive touchscreen (same as the iPhone 4)
- world’s first “combination LCD” that combines a main display and a memory LCD (which shows the time and battery life even when the main display is off)
- 1GHz Snapdragon processor
- 9.6MP camera with CCD sensor and auto focus
- Android 2.1 with Flash Lite 4.0 support
- Wi-Fi IEEE802.11b/g
- Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
- ports: microUSB, microSD/microSDHC (32GB max.)
- apps for YouTube and Twitter pre-installed
- battery life: 200 hours standby, 230 minutes talk time
What’s interesting is that the IS03 marries smartphone features with those that have just been made available to Japan-only feature phones so far. These specific features are the main reason why a lot of Japanese iPhone users, for example, still keep using their old feature phones.
The IS03, however, also comes with these features:
- e-wallet function (for offline payments, for example at McDonald’s or in convenience stores)
- digital TV tuner (supporting Japan’s mobile TV standard)
- decoration mail function (critical especially for teenage users)
- KDDI-specific mobile email address (KDDI users can switch to the IS03 without changing their address)
- business card reader
- direct access to KDDI services like online music service LISMO or the KDDI au one market (limited to feature phones so far)
Sharp seems to have designed a real winner for the Japanese market, but the company hasn’t said yet if the IS03 will ever hit international markets, too (it’s a CDMA device, at least).
This video (shot by DigInfoNews today in Tokyo) provides more insight (in English):