Test Drive on Sharp's J-SH53 Handset
Take a 2 hour trip to Tokyo – compressed into a 3 minute time lapse – and check out Vodafone’s answer to the 505i series. Boasting a 256k capable java appli that makes the ’53 a perfect gaming device, its little wonder that companies like Namco and Taito have lined up some great content for the early adopters. Perhaps most impressive was how clean the 3D Polygon graphics look on that QVGA screen, pardon us for almost forgetting this unit was also the first mega-pixel camera phone on the market to boot. Its not all just games either, a couple of sexy voice recognition functions are on tap in this demo as well, so buckle up for a great ride..!!
On a typical hot and muggy summer afternoon in Japan, WWJ’s enterprising videographer saddled up for the trip to Vodafone’s Tokyo H.Q. in Kamiyacho. Shooting the street along the way and asking their Supervisor of P.R. Matthew Nicholson to demo the SharpJ-SH53, he filed this video program.
There was alot of new handset hype in the spring of 2003, most of it coming from the DoCoMo camp with 6 new 505i series models announced, but this Vodafone unit from Sharp was the first mega-pixel camera phone to hit the shelves in May. They also scored industry firsts with a 3D Polygon Graphic and voice recognition engines. If it all sounds to good to be true.. well in a way perhaps the rush to roll-out has come back on them with a recent recall of 380,000 units to fix an “error in date information calculationprocessing in J-SH53 software”. As suggested a 15 minute visit to any dealer location should patch that glitch.
Of course it has all the predictable current options (PDF) like an SD memory card, otherwise what would one do with all those high resolution imagesthat can’t be mailed over the network, and an IR port to “be used as a remote control to let you enjoy playing match-up type games with another handset”. Plus it comes with 10 premium factory installed ring tones, the trend towards already included and nifty free promo melodies, might actually start cutting into the revenues of all those for-fee providers over the next 18 months.
To us the exciting feature on this handset is the 256k Java Application storage capacity, nearly triple the previous 100k limit. That really opens the door for developers to write software that can take advantage on an open platform and a growing global market distribution system with a strong billing model in place.
The official J-SH53 Java contents menu is already filling up with some high caliber offerings, and while pressed for time the demo games include; “Energy Airforce Gaiden” by Taito Corporation, “I.Q Intelligent Qube” by Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “Ridge Racer” by Namco Limited and “Real Tennis” by Wow Entertainment Inc. WOW is right!!! For an average $5 one-time fee users can download any title to the handset, play it to their hearts content forever, and not worry about those pesky packet fees. We also had a peek at the “Idol Call” by Staregate Network,Inc. and the “Vodafone World Clock” (free application provided by J-PHONE) voice recognition examples.
A fully bi-lingual menu was one of the seldom noted improvements over their earlier SH51& 52 versions, the 3D Polygon Graphics and 1.4 Mega-Pixel Camera stole the spotlight. We have to think that its fully functional English menu is a result of Sharp’s launching the GX-10 model with Vodafone E.U earlier this year. No ‘official’ word on when a comparable unit to this one will be available over-seas (the new GX-20 model is still a step behind) but you would hope maybe by sometime mid-2004.
— The Editors