Apple’s Retina Display for the iPhone 4 and latest iPod touch may have been leaving WVGA Android smartphones in the shade, but it was only a matter of time before the open-souce alternatives caught up. Sharp has just announced the IS03, headed to Japanese carrier KDDI in November, with a 3.5-inch 960 x 640 capacitive touchscreen, 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 9.6-megapixel camera with flash.
As we’ve grown to expect from Japanese smartphonse, the KDDI IS03 is bursting with functionality. In addition to EVDO Rev.A, WiFi b/g and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR there’s infrared, GPS, 1-Seg mobile digital TV and an FM transmitter, as well as compatibility with KDDI’s mobile wallet electronic payments system.
There’s also 512MB of RAM and a 2GB microSD card preloaded (up to 32GB supported), and the whole thing weighs in at 138g and will be available in white, black or orange. Interestingly, the display has a dual-power mode which can show battery status, signal, missed calls and other reminders without the backlight being active, and it seems to beat the Continuum to the post with a second touchscreen panel for the Android controls. No word on whether Sharp are going to develop a version of the IS03 for the US or Europe, sadly.
Back at Mobile World Congress in February, the mobile UI gurus at TAT showed off their interpretation of a dual-screen phone interface using TI’s powerhouse OMAP4 testbed. Seemed a little pie-in-the-sky at the time, but frankly, the concept device being shown off by Fujtisu at CEATEC this week — created with TAT’s involvement, it turns out — seems virtually ready for production. Or the hardware did, anyway; the software was spartan by comparison, obviously designed to call out a few key use cases where having two giant, glorious 960 x 480 displays right next to each other might come in handy. We were shown browser and email list scrolling across both displays — boring, if not obvious — but what really piqued our interest was a cool photo sharing feature whereby you fling photos you want to share from a gallery on the bottom display to a list of contacts on the top one — very TAT, if we do say so ourselves. Both displays can be rotated between portrait and landscape, creating either a nicely-sized clamshell or a gigantic flip, not an uncommon shape among Japanese phones. Indeed, given the form factor, the entirely-Japanese interface, and Fujitsu’s history, we’re sure this was designed entirely with the Japanese domestic market in mind — and we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it show up in a retail capacity there within a year or so.
Apple’s iPod Shuffle received another makeover when Apple launched its new iPod line up in September, but were they right to go back to one of the previous designs or has the re-inclusion of buttons spoilt it? While the iPod touch is the flagship and the iPod nano the bit of fun, the iPod shuffle, to many, is a strange device that doesn’t really serve much purpose. With no screen and a small storage (2GB) chances are your phone will offer you a more complete experience.
However with such a low price point (£39) and such a small design, the shuffle is perfect for runners who want music, but also want to keep things light. Measuring 29 x 31.6 x 8.7mm there is no denying that the iPod shuffle is small – heck we’ve seen postage stamps bigger. Read more
It’s been almost five months since we introduced Google TV to the world at Google I/O, and today we’re happy to give you an update on our progress. For those who haven’t yet heard of it, Google TV is a new way to think about TV: it’s a platform that combines your current TV programming and the open web into a single, seamless entertainment experience.
One of our goals with Google TV is to finally open up the living room and enable new innovation from content creators, programmers, developers and advertisers. By bringing Google Chrome and access to the entire Internet, you can easily navigate to thousands of websites to watch your favorite web videos, play Flash games, view photos, read movie reviews or chat with friends—all on the big screen. Read more