By >Akihabara News Team
IS03: New KDDI au Android Smartphone
Sharp and KDDI announced the late-November availability of their new Android smartphone, the IS03, in a joint press conference held in Tokyo this morning.
The IS03 will be the second Android smartphone in the IS series, and KDDI president Tanaka Takashi stated that all of the company’s resources will be put into marketing the device: this will be KDDI’s full-scale launch into the Android landscape, under the banner “Android au”. It’ll feature a 960×640-resolution 3.5-inch touchscreen, of which the sliver at the bottom will be a monochromatic “memory LCD” with persistent pixels for displaying the time or new notifications – even if the rest of the screen is powered off – while drawing little to no power. It’ll come with Android OS 2.1 (with an upgrade to 2.2 on a yet-unannounced date) with Flash Lite 4.0, with support for the Android Market as well as KDDI’s “one Market”, along with such au classics as au one naviwalk and LISMO!, both with rewritten user interfaces for the IS03. The handset itself will weigh 138g at 6.3×12.1×1.26cm, with Sharp’s own 9.6 megapixel CCD camera with autofocus and ProPix image processor; the battery is rated for 230 minutes of talk time and 200 hours standby.
What’s interesting about this Android smartphone is that it turns on its head the notion that smartphones don’t, as a rule, have cell phone technologies specific to, or well-known to be related with, Japanese cell phones. The IS03 has infrared for quick data communication between two phones; it has one-seg TV for watching TV on the trains or in cars; it has Osaifu-keitai, a contact-less IC payment chip with a huge infrastructure supporting payment to over ten participating services, including McDonalds, Edy, and JR’s Mobile Suica. It will support MMS right off the bat (unlike Softbank’s Apple iPhones, which took two years; and Sony Ericcson’s Xperia X10, which got @docomo.ne.jp support six months after its release) along with decome, multimedia texts with flashy, decorative graphics; and other tools like a camera text reader (including support for business cards, a Japanese standard) and pedometer.
The phone will go on sale in late November, and pricing will be announced closer to launch.