Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Thin bezels are thin. Heavy bulkware is heavy.

An article by Ishikawa Tsutsumu discussing the effects of Docomo releasing the iPhone late last year made brief mention of a Sharp Android phone for both Softbank and Sprint.
Softbank is hoping that Sharp’s expertise in LCD technology will help Sprint to differentiate itself from its competitors in the US market. The company plans to develop a single Android device for both countries.
Based on that, we knew this phone's defining characteristic would be it's screen.

While Mr. Son knows first hand what an exclusive, must-have phone can do for a carrier, he also knows that phones with just as thin or thinner bezels will be released by every maker soon. In a country with the population spread thinly over a large area, network coverage and quality (as opposed to phones) become much more important factors when choosing a carrier. Unlike Japan, where network coverage – and congestion – is pretty much equal in all major metropolitan areas, there are absolutely stunning differences between the four major US carriers across even highly populated areas. (I used Sprint for a week in San Francisco, and it was the most frustrating mobile experience in recent memory.)

It seems the US-based tech sphere is enamored with this phone, but I wonder how they'll feel after experiencing the quirks of a galasuma. In particular, domestic makers have been pretty bad at removing expected functionality. Some American consumers could be in for a shock with their first Japanese smartphone.

Having said that, however, Sharp is one of the domestic makers to survive the initial release of Android, which means that their firmware didn't suck as bad as NEC and Panasonic et al's. That one of our contributors loves Sharp phones also shows that Sharp is doing something right.


Preorders started today for the Aquos Crystal, and it goes on sale at the end of this month. Really, the only thing this phone has going for it is the screen. No one seg, no osaifu-keitai, and NO WATER RESISTANCE. Wut?! I thought the whole "aquos" brand was marketed around waterproofing. Silly me, I forget that brand predates mobile.

The Crystal X is the much better phone, but it still LACKS WATER RESISTANCE. It does have one-seg, osaifu-keitai, and VoLTE, though, so if I were to opt for one, it would be the Crystal X. However, it won't be available until the end of the year, perhaps even next year (12月以降), at which point I bet we'll already see similar thin bezels from other makers.

1 comment:

  1. I never said I wanted to use a wireless account as my main line. And I don't.