Sharp isn't exactly a household name for smartphones in the US, but the company has been pumping out interesting high-end handsets in Japan for years. Today the company just announced two new phones under the Aquos Crystal brand for Japan, and it says that at least one of them is coming to the US at some point.
The Aquos Crystal is a 5-inch, 720p smartphone with a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. The Aquos Crystal X is a larger, 5.5-inch, 1080p phablet-style phone with a higher-end Snapdragon 801 processor. Both phones feature virtually no bezel surrounding their displays, indicating that they will feel smaller in your hands than their screen sizes might lead you to believe. It's an approach that's worked well for both LG and Motorola in recent smartphone designs. Both phones have sound processing technology by Harmon Kardon, which was also featured in an exclusive HTC One M8 for Sprint earlier this year. Oddly enough, neither model is waterproof, which is a break from tradition for Japanese smartphones.
Sharp says these devices were developed in conjunction with SoftBank and Sprint, but it appears that only the Aquos Crystal will be coming to America. Sprint has a press event in New York City scheduled for tomorrow, and it is expected that the carrier will announce the new device there. SoftBank, which owns Sprint, will release the Crystal on August 29th, while the Crystal X is expected to hit stores in December.
Sharp phones have been relatively popular in Japan, behind Apple and Sony, but they've never been available in a meaningful way outside of the country. With Sharp's close ties to SoftBank, which has more than a vested interest in the US market, that's likely going to change, and Sprint could have some very interesting exclusive smartphones in its lineup in the near future.