Here in the US, Sharp hasn’t really been a major smartphone brand. There were even years where we’d hardly find ourselves talking about the manufacturer at all, though last summer Sharp became a much harder company to ignore with the launch of the Aquos Crystal on Sprint that wasn’t just very affordable, but also sported an eye-catching design with some preposterously narrow bezels. Today’s Sharp news doesn’t bring us word of any additional models for the States, but we’re still a bit fascinated by what the company’s up to now, as it launches a couple new models in Japan, including an Android handset in the largely overlooked flip-phone form factor.
It’s not like the smart flip phone is a dead genre altogether – Samsung delivers the stray model now and then, and last year we checked out LG with a flip phone of its own – but they’re still so unusual that we can’t help but take notice.
Sharp’s Aquos K (above, left) runs a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400, has 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage (with microSD support), and a 13MP main camera. There’s a 1410mAh battery, and the whole thing is water-resistant. And even with a tiny 3.4-inch display, the resolution is a solid (at this size) quarter HD – that gives us a pixel density of about 324ppi, and the details aren’t far off from an iPhone screen before the move up to four inches.
At least, the phone appears to run Android. We’re not seeing it directly identified as such (and one mention of it as a “feature phone” is concerning), but the presence of a Google search bar and the very smartphone-caliber specs have us feeling relatively safe calling this an Android model.
In more traditional smartphone news, Sharp is also introducing the Aquos mini (above, right), a 4.5-incher with a still very-high-res 1080p display. With 2GB of RAM, 16GB storage (and again, microSD support), a 13MP camera, and 2120mAh battery, it sounds like a very capable handset, and that “bezel? What bezel?” design from the Aquos Crystal makes a return.
So far, no word on either of these guys coming to the West, but who knows? Maybe Sharp will have some pleasant surprises for us at MWC in March.