Sharp brings 3D to smartphones with Galapagos 003SH and 005SH

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Although its mobile products have rarely been available outside Japan, Sharp has frequently been an innovator when it comes to phone/smartphone design in its home country with the IS01 Android clamshell MID and IS03 smartphone being the latest products to intrigue us. The company boldly continues its path of innovation with the latest device to stride out of its stables, the Galapagos 003SH (above on the left) and 005SH (above on the right) Android smartphones, with the standout feature being the inclusion of a 3D autostereoscopic touch screen.

Keeping in mind that Sharp is manufacturing the 3D display used in the upcoming Nintendo 3DS portable games console, it looks like the company has now included such a screen in its latest smartphone, with the 3.8-inch WVGA display using the same glasses-free parallax barrier technology to achieve the 3D effect. The phones themselves are simple clean designs with the 005SH being a QWERTY slider with a decent looking keyboard and the 003SH being a slate. One easy visual differentiator is the difference in the size/arrangement of the hardware buttons below the screen.

Both models are available in a choice of three colors; black, white, and red. As for the rest of the hardware, the prospects are looking good with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, W-CDMA and GSM wireless radios, support for microSDHC cards, 720p HD video recording, and either an 8MP or 9.6MP rear facing camera for the 005SH and 003SH, respectively. Android 2.2 Froyo nicely tops off the package along with the 3D screen featuring the company's latest ASV technology for excellent wide viewing angles.

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With 3D being the current hot feature in consumer electronics, it's not entirely unexpected to see it turn up in smartphones. In order to provide dedicated 3D content for the Galapagos phones in Japan to make the best use of the screen, Japanese mobile network SoftBank is offering 3D bundle deals with one including games from Capcom as well as other entertainment. The 003SH is due to be released in December, with the 005SH set to follow in February 2011. No word yet on pricing and availability outside Japan.

Personally, I'm a little skeptical on the whole 3D thing, with the technology being impressive at times, but still requiring more development and refinement. Having said that, the early impressions of Sharp's glasses-free 3D displays have been positive and I would definitely be interested in seeing it for myself. Would you be interested in a smartphone with a 3D autostereoscopic display? Or do you think it's all just a gimmick?

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[SoftBank via Engadget Japan]
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Jeremy To

Jeremy is a former editor at Pocketables.

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