Sharp Electronics. For the outside world, the mere mention of the company’s name is likely to bring back some noteworthy nostalgia for days long past. Alternatively, if one follows tech talk, it may conjure up the word “Foxconn“. Here in Japan however, the company has continued to manufacture multitudes of machines, and is one of the few remaining Japanese OEMs still making mobile phones. In a rather unexpected move,Sharp has just announced an Android One phone, the first for Japan – and seemingly the first for a developed market, as well.
The Sharp 507SH‘s most unique features are that it’s IPX5 water and dust resistant (but without port covers) and has a 3,010 battery that Sharp claims will last three days of use. Other specs include a 5-inch IGZO HD (720p) display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 SoC with 2GB of RAM, 16GB on-board storage, microSD support, a 13-megapixel rear camera, and Android 6.0.
The Sharp 507SH supports Japan-only “1-Seg” wireless digital television broadcasting through a special antenna cable that comes with the handset. It will be sold in white, black, and bright blue color options and be released later this month exclusively for Ymobile. It is possible that other carriers might begin to offer something similar in the future, however.
Questioning the cost
Despite the fact that Android One is designed to be for extremely low cost phones, it would be natural to assume the 507SH will be priced reasonably. While the actual amount has yet to be announced, consider this is the same carrier that, just last October, was offering the 32GB Nexus 5X for a disturbing ¥80,352. At the time, the Yen-to-Dollar exchange rate converted said spectacle to roughly $673, though at today’s exchange rate it would be a staggering $765.
If one had to guess, it might be safe to assume this decidedly lower mid-range handset will retail for somewhere around the $200-300 range, though who knows? Even $450 wouldn’t be outlandish for carriers here. They are, after all, charging $856 for the Sony Xperia X Performance and $892 for the Galaxy S7 Edge.
It is of some considerable curiosity that Japan is getting its first Android One phone, and not via one of the country’s top three carriers, to boot. It is equally interesting that the phone is not being sold SIM free (carrier unlocked). On the whole, this could mean that Google is going to try and push the platform in other developed countries as well, or it may just be an attempt by Sharp to try and find a new market to sell to, though that would likely mean the price tag will need to be quite low.
Consider, for example, that Japan received a high-end Firefox phone as well, something that also turned some surprised heads in December 2014.
What do you think? Does this phone look promising? How much would you be willing to pay for those specs and features? Leave a comment below!