How much do you like Star Wars? Enough that you’d buy a phone that revolves around it? If so, we have good news… at least, if you’re living in Japan. Sharp is marking the imminent arrival of Rogue One with a SoftBank-exclusive Star Wars smartphone that’s clearly designed for the most devoted of fans. The slick-looking, color-shifting Light Side and Dark Side designs are just the start. The real party starts when you dive into the software. Whichever model you choose, you get a heavily customized take on Android with starfighter-based live wallpaper, custom apps and sounds, special emoji and a collectable card game. And did we mention that a free app lets you watch The Force Awakens as much as you like until December 1st, 2019?
The device itself is more powerful than some of Sharp’s other novelty phones, but you won’t get one just for the specs. The 5.3-inch handset packs a 1080p screen, a Snapdragon 820 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage and a 22.6-megapixel rear camera — very capable, but not the absolute best. It’s ‘only’ rated for IP58 protection against the elements (it’s water-resistant, but not dust-resistant), and its biggest stand-out is the TV tuner you frequently find in Japanese smartphones.
Most likely, the biggest obstacle will be availability. Sharp’s Star Wars phone goes on sale at SoftBank on December 2nd for ¥97,920 (about $865), and it’s unlikely that you’ll ever see it officially on sale outside of its home country. As it is, the smartphone would lose some of its appeal if you tried to import it. There’s no guarantee that it’ll fully support your carrier of choice, and the free movie streaming only works in its native market. Unless you live in Japan, you’ll have to make do customizing the phone you already have.
Multiple rumors have pointed towards Apple releasing at least one new iPhone with an OLED display next year, and now the best confirmation yet has surfaced.
The move was spoiled by Sharp President and CEO Tai Jeng-wu, who told students at Tatung University in Taiwan that Apple is switching from LCD to OLED panels, according to Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review.
“The iPhone has been evolving and now it is switching from LTPS (low-temperature poly-silicon) to OLED panels,” Tai told students at Tatung University, his alma mater, during a ceremony in which he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree.
“We don’t know whether Apple’s OLED iPhones will be a hit, but if Apple doesn’t walk down this path and transform itself, there will be no innovation. It is a crisis but it is also an opportunity,” Tai said.
Sharp said it is building a new OLED facility in Japan to manufacture the displays for a “key customer,” but it has not ruled out U.S. manufacturing if required.
“We are now building a new [OLED] facility in Japan. We can make [OLED panels] in the U.S. too,” he said. “If our key customer demands us to manufacture in the U.S., is it possible for us not to do so?”
Tai did not specify when new iPhones will switch to OLED displays, but the transition is widely expected to start next year.
Nikkei previously said Apple is planning to release at least three new iPhones next year, including a high-end model with a 5.5-inch-or-larger OLED display that is curved on both sides like Samsung’s Galaxy S7 edge.
The report said the other two models would be traditional 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones with LCD displays as used currently.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said the high-end iPhone will sport a curved 5.8-inch OLED display with glass casing like the iPhone 4.
When applied to the height of an existing 5.5-inch iPhone, a 5.8-inch display would leave an extra 7.25mm of display on each side. This would extend the display across the front and sides of the iPhone, perhaps allowing for a wraparound display with side-based gestures as featured on the Galaxy S7 edge.
In addition to Sharp, Korea’s BusinessKorea today reported LG and Samsung are in a “do or die” fight to secure OLED display orders from Apple.
Japan Display — a joint venture between Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi — also confirmed it will begin OLED display production in 2018, although its bid to win orders from Apple may fall short. Taiwan’s AU Optronics could also be in the mix.
OLED displays can have sharper color contrast and brighter colors compared to LCD displays, while the technology allows for flexible, curved designs. OLED panels also typically have faster response times and better viewing angles compared to LCD technology, with the option for always-on mode.
Related Roundup: iPhone 8 (2017)
Tags: Sharp, OLED
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Panasonic showed off a TV that hides in plain sight, there were gesture controlled origami birds, and a TARDIS-shaped machine that could 3D scan your entire body in four seconds flat. That’s the kind of show CEATEC is. There were even more robots, and while some of them might have a future, many may never be seen again. And that’s okay. Here’s everything we saw, and you can find all the best bits in the video above.
Foxconn is now the clear favorite to buy Sharp after offering $5.5 billion for the moribund electronics firm. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Foxconn’s bid was so large that it’s now entering “exclusive talks” to seal the deal. Previously, the firm was running a close-second to INCJ, an investment fund backed by the Japanese government. It was hoped that INCJ would win in order to keep one of Japan’s oldest electronics firms out of the hands of foreign owners. Unfortunately, it’s believed that the fund offered around $2.5 billion for the loss-making maker of displays, home entertainment equipment and appliances.
If Bloomberg is to be believed, Foxconn chief Terry Gou is looking to become a tech CEO in his own right, rather than a behind-the-scenes player. As it stands, Foxconn is the world’s most prominent electronics manufacturer, producing devices for Apple, Microsoft, Sony and Amazon amongst others. Buying Sharp not only gives Gou a customer-facing brand, but also hands him expertise in display manufacturing that he currently doesn’t have. Given how much money and time is thrown at the mobile screen business, that could become a huge deal further down the line.
Nintendo has said precious little about its plans for the NX (other than that it won’t be like a Wii U), but it might have hinted at what’s coming through some recent paperwork. The console maker has filed for a patent on a gamepad design where a touchscreen would cover the entire front panel. You’d still have familiar elements like analog sticks (poking through the display) and shoulder buttons, but the usual front-facing buttons would be replaced by context-aware touch. The move would give you the adaptability of a smartphone interface with the primary controls you’re used to in a TV system — you could even use the controller on its side, or get visual effects when you press buttons. It wouldn’t require a gigantic body like the Wii U’s gamepad, either, and a card slot could take game data directly.
This is just an application, and there’s no certainty that Nintendo will use this design any time soon, if at all. However, as The Verge notes, the would-be patent does line up with rumors that Nintendo will use Sharp’s free-form displays in a future product. Theoretically, this could be the technology behind the NX’s standard-issue gamepad. Moreover, the Wall Street Journal has heard that the NX would include a “mobile unit” that could be used separately from the main console. Given the presence of that card slot, it’s possible that you could play titles solely on the gamepad and take it with you — who needs separate TV and handheld consoles when your NX is both at the same time? The finished machine could be far less exciting, but it’s evident that Nintendo has at least been thinking about non-traditional hardware.
Both LG and Samsung are making preparations to ramp up OLED display production over the next couple of years and the latest industry reports suggest that Sharp is preparing to begin mass production of its rival next generation Super IGZO display panels as well.
According to the report, Sharp’s Super IGZO display boasts a boost to resolution over its current IGZO line-up. Furthermore, the display will also apparently be 10 to 20 percent more energy efficient, making them a very tempting prospect for mobile as they already consume a fraction of the power of TFT LCD displays. Mass production of this new display could begin in early 2016 at Sharp’s Kameyama Plant No. 2 in Mie Prefecture.
Sharp has announced a number of extremely pixel dense IGZO mobile displays in the past twelve months and these panels are expected to enter production in 2016. However, the company is yet to announce any customers for its growing display portfolio.
With many other major players in the display market banking on increased demand for OLED type displays, some are expecting that this could have an impact on LCD unit sales. As a LCD manufacturer that is already struggling for cash, Sharp may also be looking to diversify risk with its IGZO manufacturing line. The company is targeting 50 billion yen (US$ 403 million) in IGZO sales by 2020.
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Caution: I’m about to reveal what a massive anime nerd I am. As it turns out, it’s been 20 years since the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion started airing, and to celebrate this fact, Sharp is making a commemorative Evangelion phone to mark the milestone. Called the SH-M02-EVA20, the phone displays the livery of Shinji’s EVA-01, right down to the gold on the power and volume buttons. Naturally you’ll need to be a fan of the series to even want the phone in the first place, but the price is sure to deter all but the most faithful – to have the honour of acquiring one of the 30,000 handsets that are going to be made, you’ll need to shell out 84,240 yen, or about $705 USD.
For your loyalty, the SH-M02-EVA20 will net you wallpapers, sound effects and a themed homescreen to suit the exterior of the phone, which actually looks pretty awesome. In terms of specs, it’s not going to be making any headlines anytime soon – the rather pedestrian specs are made up of a Snapdragon 400 clocked at 1.2GHz, 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. Of course, the device is only available in Japan (sadface) and to get your hands on one, you’ll need to apply through a 7-Eleven.
What do you think about the latest Evangelion phone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The post Japan is getting another Evangelion phone to celebrate the anime’s 20th anniversary appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
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Sharp has made some pretty unique smartphones in its time in the smartphone industry – the Aquos range and their bezel-less displays are arguably some of the most unique devices around. Their latest smartphone – if you can even call it that – is something even a little more left field than that. Meet RoboHon, or “Robot Phone”, the combination of a smartphone and a robot, and what an adorable robot at that. With RoboHon, you’ll be able to place calls like a normal phone, but thanks to features like a projector, you’ll be able to project photos and maps onto other surfaces.
The RoboHon also has a 2-inch touchscreen on its back which lets you interact with its Android-based operating system, but Sharp says that you’ll mostly be interacting with the RoboHon via speech. Along with the more novel features, the RoboHon also has more normal features like a camera and LTE connectivity, however despite this, the RoboHon will likely never be more than a novelty product – oh, by the way, did we mention it can dance?
It’s doubtful the RoboHon will be sold outside of Japan, and no pricing has been announced, but we can’t help but feel a faint sense of disappointment. What do you think about RoboHon?
The post What do you get when you cross a robot and a smartphone? You get RoboHon appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
RoboHon (“Robot Phone“) is the cutest smartphone ever: a (familiar looking) robot frame that fits in your pocket. It can take calls, dance, project photos, display maps and more. It’s a ‘bot with a smartphone inside. Yes, some will snort at the idea of a phone with a 2-inch touchscreen, but it’s certainly an original notion — unashamedly so. That said, is it innovative? Is there a point to it all? Does it really fit in your pocket? We’ll know better when it launches here in Japan early next year. For now, here’s a closer look in person, answering at least one of those questions. Slideshow-326984
In a battle of specs, Sharp’s new phone isn’t going to win. It’s running a special kind of smartphone software build atop Android. There’s a touchscreen, camera and 4G LTE, but it’s such a curiosity as to almost belong in a separate category all its own. The touchscreen is very small and pretty basic: There’s only space for four icons on each home screen. Sharp’s spokesman tells us this is because the primary method of using RoboHon is by talking to it; the touchscreen is a secondary interface. (You’ll still need it to confirm actions, take calls and use it in noisier places.) Soft buttons are bigger and icons are huge. It could well help the RoboHon appeal to that increasingly huge subsection of Japanese smartphone shoppers: the elderly.
There’s already a range of Swarovski crystal accessories. Seriously.
Picking up the robot-phone, it feels almost like a toy, but in a good way. It made me a little bit excited to play with it. For some reason, I just plain wanted to keep it. There’s a leatherish covering on both the soles of the robot’s lil’ booties and his ears. And like many other plainer smartphones, there’s already a range of Swarovski crystal accessories. Seriously. The emblem on the front of its chest doubles as a clip, securing it as you slide it (ridiculously, adorably) into your jacket or trouser pocket.
The arms and legs are articulated to walk and even offer up a dance if you ask politely enough. You’ll also have to brush up on your polite Japanese, because that’s all it understands at the moment. It does have a pretty decent conversational grasp, accepting different wordings and directions as needed. Voice directions encompass almost everything that the robot can do: taking photos, calling people, taking memos, responding to text messages and even projecting photos and video from the tiny pico projector lodged inside its head — including token peace-sign photos of Engadget editors that should know better.
Sharp hasn’t announced a price yet, but it’s unlikely to be cheap. Then again, there’s also nothing else quite like it.
Barely anyway has a 4K display, whether that be a computer monitor, TV, tablet or phone. However, that has not stopped Japan from working on 8K displays. They also plan on bringing them to market by 2020 in time for the Olympics.
In Japan at CEATEC, NHK showed off three 8K displays. Not huge big bulky displays, but ones that could fit into a tablet or laptop. The displays are said to be available in consumer products before 2020. Perfect timing since Japan is planning on broadcasting the 2020 Olympic Games in 8K.
The three displays they brought with them were JDI’s 17.3-inch LCD, Ortus’ 9.6-inch LCD, and Sharp/SEL’s 13.3-inch OLED display. The Sharp display came out in June last year, but is said to be the best looking of the three.
NHK and the BBC actually broadcasted the world’s first experimental public viewing of the 2012 London Olympics in 8K. Did you see it? Didn’t think so.
For those of you wondering, 8K will also be referred to as Super Hi-Vision (SHV). It has a resolution of 7,680 pixels horizontally by 4,320 pixels vertically, or 16 times as many pixels as the standard high-definition displays, which have a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.
Yasushi Anzo, a journalist versed in IT and household electronics said the cost of an 8K display is also quite expensive right now, between ¥4 million and ¥5 million or roughly $700,000 US.
Anzo also said Japanese display manufactures must continue to work on 8K displays or risk falling behind. They must always be on the cutting-edge of technology.
“Even if the already-struggling TV display departments of Japanese electronics makers go even deeper into deficit by developing 8K displays, they cannot cut it off immediately”
Come comment on this article: We don’t have many 4K displays, but 8K displays are on their way