The feature phone. Still big in Japan. Still being sold in the millions. Still relevant, though? And does it even matter what a 30-something tech writer at a Western tech site thinks? Japan’s large elderly population — people who haven’t even heard of Angry Birds, Gmail or Uber — they’re the ones sticking to their flip phones. Hardy, easy to use and cheaper than an iPhone. (If you need a primer on the phenomenon of gara-kei, you should probably read up on that here, but in short, it’s how Japan’s mobile phone market sped ahead with early technologies, then faltered when smartphone competition arrived.) So let’s try using one. The best and newest feature phone available in Japan, no less. It’s pitched as bringing the best smartphone features to the flip form factor. Is it better than a plain old smartphone? Good lord, no.
After picking Japanese carrier KDDI’s brains about why the country was still infatuated with the feature phone, I requested the company’s Aquos K feature phone to try out. Let’s start with why it’s a step above existing feature phones: This handset taps into LTE, meaning not only is everything faster, but the phone is capable of displaying the kind of internet we use on PCs (and er, smartphones and tablets too, but anyways). This also facilitates more downloading, of course, and the Aquos K can indeed download apps… it just can’t download many. There are roughly 20 to choose from, but I was hard-pressed to find many I actually wanted. I picked up a puzzle game as well as one to help me navigate Tokyo’s metro, but I was left aching for the apps I open weekly, if not daily: Instagram, Tinder (don’t judge), Kindle, Fitocracy, Spotify, WhatsApp, Line. Well, actually, Line messenger is here.
As the de facto messaging app for Japanese smartphone users, it’s a big deal to see the genuine app on a feature phone; it’s largely the same experience as my smartphone. Having said that, without a touchscreen (and the wizardry of SwiftKey), I’m stuck repetitively tapping through to the letters I want — and spending just as much time correcting myself.
This is a user problem, however; I hand the device over to a Japanese coworker who has years of flip phone experience, and she hammers away a text message effortlessly. I guess I just need a few years practice? Can I have my smartphone back? For the week I used the phone, it felt like a handicap. That said, there’s now built-in predictive text that’s notably better than what older flip phones had — a tantalizing taste of what I (already) get on my smartphone.
On the other hand, the battery life was liberating. I would typically charge the phone every three days, but I reckon I could have managed four if I were careful. “Ah, that’s what I love about my old feature phone,” you’re probably thinking. But it’s a matter of usage: I was doing much less with the Aquos K than I would with a smartphone. It all comes back to the austere app selection. There’s a 13-megapixel camera, but if it’s a chore to share to Facebook (or impossible to share to Instagram), I’m just not going to use it as much.
The internet is passable but, physically speaking, navigation is slower. Regardless of the fact that it’s now running on a data-friendly 4G signal, no touchscreen and a 3.4-inch display means you’ll be scrolling constantly. There’s no touchscreen, but the number pad doubles as a touchpad of sorts. You can zoom in on pictures and maps just like a smartphone screen, except it isn’t. Unfortunately, when you want to move from a zoomed-in spot to elsewhere, you’ll have to resort to the menu keys.
The Aquos K is a pretty beautiful flip phone. Here in Japan, it comes in three color schemes, and I’ve gone for the professional executive option with black, brown and bronze finishes. I feel like a high-flying Japanese salaryman when I flip it open to take calls. Flip phone fans. They… they’re right: it does feel nicer to talk into them, and yes, opening and closing the dang thing feels great, too. As you’d expect from a nigh-on indestructible feature phone, it all feels solid. The rear is covered in plastic, but it has a soft tactile finish for easy grip.
There’s a camera button along the left side, and a micro-USB port for charging. But it’s a confusing mix of things I don’t expect / don’t need it have while lacking things I really need. An info window that scrolls on the surface, which extends to show the time, battery status and notifications. However, barring an incoming call or message, you’ll still have to press a button to bring the simple display to life.
When I take the phone from my desk before I go on my lunch break, I stuff my headphones into my pocket. I get outside, and try to plug them in, realizing there’s simply no headphone socket. I feel oddly outraged. I flip over the phone and on the back it has the Felica symbol, indicating it can do contactless payments. And yet — and yet — I can’t use it as a personal music player. (That there’s no Spotify is barely worth mentioning; the app isn’t available in Japan.)
The Aquos K is a feature phone with some modern bells and whistles. It’s a device for people who already use feature phones and don’t want to change. They probably should, but if they like their existing phones (and existing behavior) so much as to buy the same again, Aquos K is probably the best bet. For me, I’m not willing to downgrade my behavior for the sake of a cool flipping motion. I can’t go back. You probably can’t either.
Sharp has been making moves in the phone space over the last year. The first Sharp device to make its way stateside in a long time was the Aquos Crystal. They moved to a bigger version of that device. Now the Japanese company is pushing a mini device that looks fairly similar to the bezeless […]
The post Aquos Mini and … high-end Aquos K flip phone, unveiled by Sharp appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Here are two rather surprising unveilings from Sharp in the few weeks after CES. It’s first device is a compact, and the second, even more intriguing, is a flagship flip phone.
The Aquos Mini has a 4.5-inch, 1080p display with Sharp’s IGZO technology, which reportedly will let it run for two to three days on its 2,120 mAh battery. Additionally, the quite thin phone has a Snapdragon 801 processor and a 13 megapixel camera.
The Aquos K flip phone has to be one of the most powerful in its category. The camera alone has 13 megapixels and can shoot 1080p video. Sharp even included a fully functional web browser and Google Search.
As of now, there is no information on the price or the release date, but we should know more in a few weeks.
Source: Talk Android
The Aquos Mini is one of Sharp’s most impressive devices, featuring the razor thin bezels that their Aquos phones have come to be known for. The phone sports a 4.5-inch, 1080p screen with an extremely narrow body, and the display features Sharp’s IGZO technology which will supposedly let the device last for a full two to three days on its 2120 mAh battery.
Aside from the screen, you’ll find some very capable hardware on the Aquos Mini. There’s a Snapdragon 801 processor and a 13 megapixel rear camera, so while it’s not going to blow you away in 2015, it’s still an extremely powerful device, especially for one with a relatively smaller screen.
Sharp also announced the Aquos K flip phone, which is a fairly high end device in its category. The phone is thin and sports a 13 megapixel camera that’s capable of shooting 1080p video, and you’ll even get a full web browser and Google Search on it. Pretty fancy for such a basic device.
No word on price or availability yet, but keep an eye out over the next few weeks if you’re interested.
source: Phone Arena
Come comment on this article: Sharp announces the Aquos Mini and a high-end flip phone
The FCC is one amazing resource when it comes to getting little details about upcoming devices. While it isn’t the easiest place to navigate, and much of the documents that have to be made public talk a ton of jargon, a person can sometimes stumble upon something ever now and then. Liliputing came across a […]
The post FCC lists new Sharp “Dual mode hand held Mini Phablet”, appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
The doors opened; the masses piled in; and it began: Yesterday was the first official day of CES. It’s perhaps the most frenzied day of the week, with hundreds of companies vying for attention within the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. So, what happened on the show floor yesterday? Check out the gallery below and find out.
[Image credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]
Every year, TVs are a big deal here at the Consumer Electronics Show. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Sharp would have a huge presence here in Las Vegas. And when I say huge, I mean huge. Just like last year, when it teased its 85-inch 8K TV with glasses-free 3D, Sharp’s now showing off a 120-inch 4K Commercial LCD display. According to the company, one day this could replace video walls in public spaces (like at Times Square, for instance), as well as projectors in classrooms and conference rooms. At the moment, there’s no word on how much one of these would cost interested parties — but it’s safe to imagine it won’t be budget-friendly at all.
Unfortunately, no image could do this display justice — you have to be in front of it to see how beautiful it is. It’s extremely, well, sharp, bright and it makes you feel as if you’re staring into a wall, living in whatever world you’re looking at. So, if you’re here at CES, it’s definitely worth checking out. And why not, maybe one day you could see one of these, or something similar, make its way into the consumer market.
Dolby doesn’t want to limit its Dolby Vision tech just to Netflix and other streaming services so the outfits’ partnering with film studios too. First up is Warner Bros. where flicks including Edge of Tomorrow, The Lego Movie and Into the Storm are getting the high-dynamic range treatment early this year — just in time for the launch of TVs with the tech baked in, according to the company. Additional new release movies and catalog titles are en route this year, as well. For the tech to really take off, however, Dolby’ll need to expand beyond one studio but we’d imagine WB is a pretty decent place to start. If anything, the announcement means Edge of Tomorrow‘s bleak version of the future’s going to get a little brighter sometime soon.
[Image credit: Associated Press]
Filed under: Home Entertainment
CES 2015 has been a busy conference so far. Sharp was not to be left out of the whirlwind that has been the first day. The company announced some pretty great things regarding their new lineup for 4K smart televisions. Sharp debuted SmartCentral 4.0 for Android along with an 85 inch 8K LCD prototype display. This announcement also came with a host of new television displays that will be sure to make a splash when they are released to consumers.
The new line of Sharp displays includes what the company is calling “the highest resolution TV” available with their new Aquos Beyond 4K UHD model. This model pacts in 42 million more pixels than traditional 4K units available on the market today and has a resolution that is reaching 8K. This model will available to the public this calendar year.
Later on at CES, Sharp will unveil their new 70 inch Class Super Slim 4K UHD TV. When they say super slim, they mean super slim. With a depth of less than half an inch and a 4K UHD resolution, this display from Sharp offers a design footprint that will definitely differentiate them from other UHD TV manufacturers in this space. It’s clear that Sharp is going full steam ahead with next generation displays. For more information visit www.sharpusa.com.
|CES 2015 Coverage Sponsored By:|
For those of you who sit way too close to your television set, Sharp has just unveiled a prototype television at CES 2015 with a whopping 8K LCD screen. This prototype will be the world’s first 8K display with standards compliance and has a mind-boggling resolution of 7680×4320 with a 120Hz refresh rate. The 8K beast has 12 bits per pixel depth and delivers a blinding brightness of 400cd .
How big is this heavyweight television going to be, you ask? 85 inches. That’s like having a NBA basketball player laying across your wall.
Probably more important is the news that Sharp is updating its SmartCentral TV interface to version 4.0. This version will be a complete revamp for SmartCentral and will now be running off Android TV platform. This will also bring the Google Play Store to your Sharp television.
For further reading on Sharp’s new television releases, which include a number of 4K UHD televisions, follow the article after the break. To go back to Talk Android’s continuing coverage of CES 2015, click here.
Sometime in 2015, Sharp will begin selling the AQUOS Beyond 4K UHD television. This TV set will feature pixel-splitting and Quattron tech, bringing it 66 million subpixels. This pixel count is 42 million more than a traditional 4K UHD television. According to Sharp, this increase in pixel count will give the AQUOS Beyond a 167% greater resolution than other 4K UHD displays.
Sharp is also increasing the number of televisions in their 4K UHD line. It will be introducing three new series of 4K UHD TV’s: the UE, UB, and UH. It is the UB and UH series that will feature SmartCentral 4.0, which was discussed earlier. Other than that distinction, Sharp didn’t elaborate what the differences are between the three series.
To read the full press release from Sharp, check out the source link below.
Come comment on this article: Sharp moves on from 4K UHD with 8K LCD TV, also unveils Android TV based SmartCentral 4.0