Sprint’s Aquos Crystal: aggressive bezels at an aggressive price
Just as expected, Sprint unveiled the Sharp Aquos Crystal for the US at its “Take the edge off” event today. The device will be offered at a surprisingly low price of $239 off contract.
The Sharp Aquos Crystal is an interesting device – it combines a unique and eye-catching design with a mid-range spec sheet and just a few features that are even worth mentioning.
The biggest story is of course, the “frameless” design of the device – the display of the Aquos Crystal extends all the way to the top and sides of the device. While there were other phones pushing the limits of thin bezels before it, the Aquos Crystal is taking the concept to the extreme, which makes it look almost futuristic compared to other devices. The beveled edges of the protective glass reinforce the illusion that there’s no bezel, though we’re a bit worried about the robustness of the exposed glass.
Behind that edge-to-edge screen lays a quad-core 1.2GHz processor, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, a 2040 mAh embedded battery, an 8MP rear camera, and a 1.2MP frontal one, placed on that large bottom bezel. For the Aquos Crystal, Sprint collaborated with audio company Harman Kardon to add audio features Clari-Fi and LiveStage, which enhance the quality of digital music and add depth to the sound.
The Sharp Aquos Crystal will be available through Sprint’s shared plans, for $239 downright, or zero down and $10/month for two years. The device will also hit the no-contract plans of Sprint subsidiaries Boost and Virgin.
The Aquos Crystal was developed by Sharp for Sprint and its Japanese owner Softbank. The device marks the return of the Japanese corporation to the US mobile arena. Sharp is still the second biggest player in the Japanese market, but the company abandoned competing in most other countries.
Sharp’s First AQUOS Smartphone Comes to the U.S. – Sharp AQUOS Crystal Arriving Exclusively at Sprint, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile
This launch marks a monumental step in the Sprint and SoftBank merger by bringing this device to SoftBank in Japan and Sprint and its prepaid brands, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA, as the exclusive U.S. carriers for this groundbreaking device.
AQUOS Crystal breaks the mold of traditional smartphone design. From its stunning picture quality and immersive, vibrant display to its sleek, 5-inch edge-to-edge HD screen, AQUOS Crystal revolutionizes the mobile phone experience. The chic, compact exterior houses a smartphone powered by Android 4.4.2 KitKat and supported by the ultra-fast Sprint Spark network. Showcasing incredible audio with Harman Kardon® technologies and HD voice, and a camera that can make any amateur look like a pro, AQUOS Crystal is truly technology without bounds.
Sprint will offer AQUOS Crystal in two color options (black or white). With Sprint Easy Pay, well-qualified buyers can purchase AQUOS Crystal with $0 down (plus tax) and 24 monthly payments of $10 (service plan is required). Customers can visit www.sprint.com/sharp for more information. Sharp AQUOS Crystal will be available in black at www.virginmobileusa.comand in white at www.BoostMobile.com, both for $149.99 (plus tax). Exact availability will be announced at a later date.
“The combined power of SoftBank and Sprint will bring our customers this high-end device for an extraordinarily value,” said David Owens, senior vice president-Product Development for Sprint. “We are thrilled to welcome Sharp to the U.S. wireless market. AQUOS Crystal will quickly become a must-have smartphone, showcasing Sharp’s strength in display technology.”
In addition, AQUOS Crystal boasts Harman’s Clari-Fi™ technology with the ability to restore and “rebuild” music fidelity lost during audio compression. Clari-Fi yields richer, deeper and clearer sound quality for compressed digital music (like MP3 downloads or streaming services such as Spotify®). The Clari-Fi experience includes low and high frequency extension, improved realism and fidelity, and wider sound stage.
Additional key features include:
- Harman’s LiveStage™ provides a more lifelike headphone listening experience by adding dimension to the sound
- Clari-Fi™ technology improves digital sound quality by restoring all types of compressed digital music
- Clip Now, which takes screenshots with one swipe and saves them with an embedded URL for easy sharing
- 8MP rear-facing and 1.2MP front-facing cameras
- Crystal clear HD Voice
- Embedded 2,040mAh battery
- 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1.5GB (RAM) and 8GB (ROM)
“U.S. consumers have long trusted the Sharp AQUOS brand to deliver exceptional picture quality. We are thrilled to introduce the first smartphone from Sharp’s groundbreaking AQUOS line of devices to be available in the U.S., with the launch of the AQUOS Crystal Smartphone in the U.S. and Japan,” said Yoshisuke Hasegawa, Executive Managing Officer of Sharp Corporation. “The already successful AQUOS brand is taking another step forward among U.S. consumers by adding the Crystal smartphone, which marries innovative technology with a vibrant display, as customers have come to expect from Sharp AQUOS products. The AQUOS Crystal offers unique features and leading technologies, all incorporated in a beautiful edge-to-edge design.”
“App All You Want” with App Pass
Exclusive to Sprint in the U.S., App Pass is a subscription service that allows customers to access a hand-selected catalog of premium apps and games for $4.99 per month – after a 14-day free trial. App Pass offers unlimited access to these apps and games across two devices, and additionally, customers are given a $5 credit each month to spend on in-app purchases.
“Many customers find value in premium apps, but hesitate to make the purchase without knowing more about the app,” said Wayne Ward, vice president-business and product development at Sprint. “With App Pass, Sprint makes it easier for our customers to ‘app all you want’ with a curated list of popular premium apps.”
App Pass will host a curated selection of apps and mobile games from some of the world’s top developers including Gameloft and Oceanhouse Media. Select titles from other developers include OfficeSuite 7 Pro, Camera Zoom FX, Minuum Keyboard, CamScanner and Color & Draw for Kids.
App Pass, powered by Mobiroo, which develops and manages app subscription platforms globally, will be pre-installed on all new Sprint Android devices beginning Aug. 29. App Pass can also be found under the “Apps” tab of the Sprint Zone app, on supported devices, for current Sprint customers using an Android phone. After the launch on Aug. 29, Sprint customers can visit www.sprint.com/apppass to learn more and download the app. New apps and games will be regularly added to the storefront.
To receive the 14-day free trial, customers will need to open the App Pass app and then register by tapping on the menu button, then selecting ‘My Account,’ tapping on the ‘Sign up now’ button on the Featured page or tapping on the ‘download’ button on an App Details page. App Pass will not be available on prepaid devices.
Great Value for Prepaid or Postpaid
By bringing AQUOS Crystal to Sprint, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, customers have the choice of how they wish to finance their wireless experience with each brand offering its own unique benefits:
- POSTPAID (Sprint)
- It’s a new day for data in the wireless industry with the announcement of Sprint’s new Sprint Family Share Pack – a new shared-data plan that offers double the high-speed data at a lower price than AT&T and Verizon Wireless. The Sprint Family Share Pack, offering double the high-speed shareable data2 for smartphones, basic phones, tablets and mobile broadband devices, will be available starting Aug. 22. To kick off Sprint’s “new day for data” campaign, Sprint is offering a limited-time promotion for the Sprint Family Share Pack: For a family with up to 10 lines, get 20GB of Shared Data and Unlimited Talk & Text for only $100 a month through 20153 – and, as an added bonus, customers will get an additional 2GB per line for up to 10 lines.
- NO CONTRACT
- Virgin Mobile USA’s smartphones can be paired with Virgin Mobile USA’s Beyond Talk™ No Contract plans with unlimited data4, and available 4G LTE data speeds5for mobile phone service, including Android™-powered smartphones. Virgin Mobile Beyond Talk monthly unlimited data and messaging plans, which start at $35, are ideal for those smartphone users hungry for the most connectivity and the least amount of voice minutes.
- Boost’s Monthly Unlimited Select plans offer value-conscious consumers three easy-to-understand plans that all include unlimited talk, text and data.6 Each plan offers different data usage thresholds to help address the varying data needs of consumers.