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Sharp Aquos Phone Hybrid (Softbank 007SH)

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 Sharp Aquos Phone Hybrid (Softbank 007SH) Available now (Japan)
20th May 2011

The Sharp Aquos Phone Hybrid (also called the Softbank 007SH) is an Android clamshell phone with 3D capabilities. It will be available next month on the Softbank network in Japan.. and there's a small possibility that Sharp might sell it elsewhere too.

The Japanese phone ecosystem is pretty much unique. Japanese manufacturers still dominate their domestic market where they have faded in the rest of the world, Symbian is still a very significant player on the NTT DoCoMo network and clamshells never went away.

It's been a while since we last looked at a Sharp device, the SX862 from 2008, and this Aquos phone is very similar in looks, retaining a style that goes all the way back to handsets such as the Sharp 902 which we did see outside of Japan. It's worth pointing out that Softbank's mobile network used to be Vodafone Japan before it was sold off five years ago.. at which point the supply of Japanese-style 3G phones to Europe began to die off.

Back to the matter in hand though - the Aquos Phone Hybrid looks rather odd on the surface, but underneath this is a somewhat familiar Android 2.3 device that isn't a million miles away from the sort of smartphone you might see everyday.

Sharp are well known for their "Aquos" flat panel TV technology which finds its way into the Aquos Phone Hybrid. It's a fairly compact but very high resolution 3.4" 480 x 854 pixel touchscreen which is 3D capable. The display swivels around, so it can be used as a large clamshell phone or a conventional tablet arrangement. The 3D is a glasses-free affair, whether or not this type of thing on this type of device is anything more than a gimmick is questionable. Outside is a small semi-concealed 0.7 inch panel for displaying the time and status indicators.

On the outside is a 16 megapixel camera, which is probably a bit excessive but then this is Japan we suppose. Video capture is 720p HD, and you can output video clips and media via an HDMI cable to a compatible HD TV or via DLNA.

 Sharp Aquos Phone Hybrid (Softbank 007SH) The keypad is a pretty standard numeric affair with the Android keys put on in seemingly random places. There's quite a lot of empty space on it, because the Aquos Phone Hybrid is a seriously big device. Measuring 113 x 52 x 19mm when closed, the Aquos Phone opens up to be a huge 216mm device (or 8.5 inches in old money). It weighs 140 grams.

An unusual feature in this phone is that it is water and dust resistant, as far as we can tell to IP57 standards which makes it as robust as the Samsung B2100, which is very impressive. We suspect that it lacks the shock resistance of some of the super-tough phones on the market, partly due to that big screen and hinge arrangement, but the Aquos Phone Hybrid should certainly survive most encounters with real life.

Underneath, this is a UMTS 2100 MHz capable handset which would theoretically work in Europe, and it also has tri-band GSM. Softbank customers will be able to roam pretty much everywhere with this device. There's a microSD slot, Bluetooth and surprisingly the Aquos Hybrid packs an infra-red port, an interface which is still popular in Japan.

We would love to see this device available to more that just Softbank customers. Although Sharp have been concentrating almost exclusively on the Japanese market lately, some other recent models have turned up in other Asian markets. It would be great if Sharp had the courage to return to the European market with this device as it would certainly shake things up a bit!

Sharp Aquos Phone Hybrid (Sofbank 007SH) at a glance


June 2011


UMTS 2100 + GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900


UMTS (3G) + HSPA + WiFi


3.4" 480 x 854 pixels


16 megapixels


Large clamshell
113 x 52 x 19mm / 140 grams



Memory card:











Android 2.3

Battery life:

3.8 hours talk / 12.5 days standby (3G)

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