By >Daimaou - G.G-B
[Review] KDDI IS01, When Sharp brings Android to the rest of us in Japan.
There is no doubt that Sharp changed the Japanese landscape when it comes to Linux based handled and while the Zaurus 3200 is no longer available, we were please to see last march that Sharp is still working hard on bringing Linux in Japan to compact or handheld devices. Sure we tester a fair bunch of these Linux powered Sharp devices here on Akihabara News with the Netwalker PC-Z1 and the Netwalker PC-T1, but these products were more targeting people looking for a desktop oriented experience rather than a real mobile oriented one.
This, however, is about to change thanks to Sharp latest approach to the Linux world with KDDI IS01, an Android Handheld made for the rest of us.
Impressive, that’s basically the first thing that came to my mind after a few minutes playing with the IS01. Remarkably well built, using high quality material, a flawless design (for such clamshell like device), light, robust and with on top of all an incredibly bright and clear 5” touch screen with a none the less impressive resolution of 960 x 480.
Sure the IS01 is not a “small” devices and with a total size of 831x149x17.9mm for a weight of 227g, the IS01 many not be as “Slime” as most of its Android counterpart, but still, which device other on the market can offer you a full QWERTY keyboard, a nice 5” Touchscreen, Bluetooth, WiFi, IRD, 1Seg TV Tuner and 3G beside Sharp’s IS01?
Believe it or not, but Sharp’s IS01 is what all Netbook should have been from day one, a True compact mobile computing device capable to handle all basic tasks that most of our needs on the go, and once you tested Sharp’s IS01 Keyboard, there is no turning back, yes, Sharp’s IS01 is the pinnacle of mobile computing. Add to this beautiful hardware Android flexibility and power, Sharp IS01 is without a doubt a force to reckon with.
Now sure, the IS01 may please everyone. Some may complain about the iS01 Trackball, often too slow, but once compared to others like ones installed on Blackberry for example, Sharp IS01 trackball operate just fine. Others may complain about the lack of secondary display always useful in order to quickly check the IS01 basic information like SMS, E-mail or Missed calls. Finally we could hear people complaining about the limited usability of our IS01 phone capabilities, where placing or receiving a call could be unpleasant, but still, we loved every single bit of the IS01 and it is important to keep in mind that’s the IS01 has never been intended to replace your phone, but rather being your mobile computing device of choice when you need to work quickly on the go and need things to be done.
Yes, you can work with the IS01, and rest assure, what you can do on a Netbook there will be a way for you to do it on an IS01. This may of course will require you to dig a little in the Android App store, but you will find everything you need to either do some basic photo editing, Server maintenance and even some basic web developing. Add to this the pretty obvious Office oriented tools and the IS01 is as capable as your slow, overpriced and heavy notebook.
After spent a whole week with the IS01, and using it primarily to work on Akihabara News maintenance as well as to cover press conferences and upload data on the go, I have to admit that I now have a lot of difficulty to get back on carrying my Vaio G2 along with me at Press Conference or at Event. Being capable to type a text edit and upload photo on the go with KDDI 1x CDMA EV-DO data speed is just a bliss.
Disappointed by Android on the Xperia (DoCoMo), Google mobile OS integration on the IS01 just did make sense for me. Simple intuitive, I succeed to get around without too much problem. Not sure if having a large screen helped here, but I always felt that Android was first made for handheld devices with a Keyboard rather than mobile phones.
To make sure that was not just me, I decided to give to my wife, an iPhone addicted woman, the IS01 for a whole day, and surprisingly, she loved it! Simple, elegant and compact, the IS01 was for her the ideal everyday companion she was looking for to blog on the go.
If the IS01 Perfect? Early 2010 I would have say yes, the IS01 “was” perfect for the geek inside of me, and to be fair, the IS01 is perfect for most of Japanese that’s KDDI is targeting : Women / People looking for a compact computer like connected device. But in this ever changing tech world and the since in Japan mobile operators prefer sell products or moving boxes rather than keeping customers satisfaction at its peak, the IS01 from Sharp will not be on my “Want/Need” list for long, and while I have no complains to do on Sharp hardware, is however KDDI decisions of only proposing the IS01 with Android 1.6 and to never update it that will refrain me from buying this device tomorrow. Now, if you are not a tech-savvy person, and your usage may be as limited as my wife one, sure go for it, the IS01 will not disappoint you even after a year or so.
[Note : The Sharp IS01 is also sold in Japan under a different name by DoCoMo, the Lynx SH-10B.]