Sharp Japan has announced in a new press release this morning that SoftBank and Sprint will be carrying a mid-range version of its “AQUOS CRYSTAL” Android smartphone.
The Sharp AQUOS CRYSTAL smartphone that will be carried by Sprint will feature a 5-inch 720p display with a glass front and no side or top bezels, with the bottom bezel serving as the microphone and the front facing camera placed on the left of the microphone. The phone is otherwise a current mid-range Android phone with a Snapdragon 400 and Android 4.4.2, an 8.0 megapixel main camera and a 1.2 megapixel front camera.
The future US release of the smartphone will also mark the return of Sharp to the US mobile market after several years absence, with the last devices released by the US division being the failed Microsoft Kin line in 2010. Sharp previously manufactured phones for Danger and T-Mobile in the Sidekick line and also attempted to sell conventional cellphones through the carrier with the TM150 before quietly withdrawing back to the Sidekick line.
The phone is being jointly developed by SoftBank and Sharp for future release on Sprint, while SoftBank will be holding an event with Sharp on the 29th in Japan that will feature the phone along with a new bundle including a harmon/kardon Bluetooth speaker, as the phone also supports harmon/kardon’s ClearFi audio software, which is currently included on Sprint’s exclusive harmon/kardon edition of the HTC One (E8).
Closer to the US, Sprint will be holding a press event on Tuesday that may officially confirm the AQUOS CRYSTAL along with Sharp as the newest handset partner for Sprint according to the Wall Street Journal, while expectations center on Sprint’s “disruptive” service plans.
With SoftBank selecting Sharp as its partner for new low-cost smartphones, that firm will also receive another lifeline, as the struggling electronics manufacturer has seen its share of the Japanese mobile market nearly eroded by the competition between Korean and Chinese manufacturers as well as the popularity of the iPhone in the country.