KDDI Discovers the Smart Phone Mania

October 18th, 2010  |  Published in Networked Life, On the TechWatch, TechWatch Japan

KDDI kicks it autumn fashion show of with a sharp Sharp.

Better late than never: Having lost ground to the Japanese giant NTT Docomo and the Apple partner Softbank the Japanese carrier KDDI finally starts a smart phone offensive. Today AU, the mobile phone carrier of KDDI, presented the Sharp IS03. Another three smart models, IS04 Regza phone by Toshiba, the ISo5 by Sharp, and the Sirius Alpha by the South Korean handset maker Pantech are in the pipeline.

To be fair, the Japanese phones, especially the one’s of AU, had been smart long before the iPhone brought the West up to speed. When Apple’s iTunes started to take off, KDDI’s AU costumers already downloaded music to their keitai (the Japanese name for mobile phones).

KDDI opens a door for the troubled South Korean handset maker Pantech. Later this year the Japanese want to introduce the Sirius Alpha. It comes with Android OS.

But while playing around with all kinds of wonderful ideas and designs, KDDI missed the boat on the latest hype, the touch screen smart phones that are flooding the Japanese market like the iPhone and the HTC Desire at Softbank and the  Samsung Galaxy S and SonyEricssons Xperia at NTT Docomo.

It will be interesting to see, how the AU models will compete. With its 9.6 MP camera, the sharp Sharp is heavily twisted to cater the needs of camera aficionados, but seem to lack behind in its operating systems. While Samsungs Galaxy comes with Android 2.2, the ISo3 starts with the 2.1 version of Google’s software.

By the way, the TechWatcher wonders who will bring out the first phone with Sharp’s 3D screen and camera. The company already presented a prototype at the Japanese electronic show Ceatec. That looked pretty close to a real product already. No wonder, otherwise Nintendo would not use Sharp’s 3D screen for its 3D portable game console, the Nintendo 3DS.

Of course, AU offers also some other nice stuff. And most of it is water proof, so the users can also browse free of any worries through the wide web when taking their daily hot bath.

The phones of the Iida line don't only want to be a phone, but also a fashion statement.

The shock proof G’z One Type X of Casio is the prime example, plus a Sony Bravia, a Sharp Acquos. An additional highlight is the eBook reader “biblio leaf”. But my favorite (design wise at least) is the X-Ray. It is part of AU’s design line Iida, and has a transparent casing.

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