Sharp continues to hold its display prowess with pride. Prior to the Xiaomi Mi MIX launching, the display maker publicly exhibited a concept smartphone — the Corner R — that had rounded corners on its display and near-zero bezels from the edges of the display to the edges of the facade. However, the company has typically provided more middling devices with some unique media tie-ins and the occasional gimmick.
But as new Foxconn management looks to pump efforts and money into making more money with hardware sales, its new subsidiary has decided to take a conservative step back in design and bring in the newest silicon with the Sharp Aquos R. The company announced that the device will launch this summer.
The device has Bluetooth 5.0 capabilities, a USB-C port, FeLiCa, NFC and a fingerprint sensor on the front. In addition to the specifications above, the phone has been rated for up to IP68 conditions with IPX5 protection as well — meaning that the Aquos R can withstand both immersion at 1 meter for 30 minutes as well as liquid spray. The company claims that the touch panel is able to distinct water droplets from fingertips when determining input. Sharp is also promoting superior heat management on the Aquos R, claiming that it averages 4°C (7°F) cooler at its warmest area.
There’s also word of an artificial intelligence assistant that’s being integrated into, of all things, a charging cradle for the Aquos R named ROBOQUL — which is a callback of sorts to when the company debuted its robot-phone, RoBoHoN. The cradle can rotate around and do a series of parlor tricks as it tracks people with the device’s front camera.
You might not think too much of the derivative design, but it’s clear that Sharp is transitioning its desires into becoming a mark-maker that consumers will gravitate towards. It’s not clear if audiences outside of Japan will get wind of the Aquos R, if they even want it.