KDDI Corp announced May 25, 2009, eight au brand handsets to be released in the summer of 2009. Under the concept of "different from last summer," the new handsets include a model that can shoot HDTV video and another that supports enhanced e-book browsing capabilities.
"The concept represents our hope that customers will find different utility values from those found last year by using au handsets," KDDI President and Chairman Tadashi Onodera said. The handsets will be released in series from May 29, 2009.
The "Mobile Hi-Vision CAM Wooo" of Hitachi Ltd is the first handset that has HDTV video shooting capability in Japan. It can record 1,280 x 720-pixel 30fps HDTV video for up to four hours on an 8-Gbyte microSDHC card.
The recorded HDTV video can be output to a TV from the HDMI port (Type C) on a side of the handset. It is also possible to store and replay the video stored on microSD and microSDHC cards on a PC. With the "Wooo Link" capability, videos and still images in the handset can be operated with a TV remote when it is connected to Hitachi's flat panel TV, "Wooo," via an HDMI cable.
Toshiba Corp's "biblio" is focused on the e-book browsing function. It was developed under the concept, "We now live in an era where books can be read using a mobile phone," said Makoto Takahashi, member of the board and associate senior vice president and general manager of the Consumer Service & Product Sector at KDDI.
The biblio comes with "Book Player," a dedicated viewer for KDDI's "EZ Book" e-book service, and the capability to block peeping from the next seat by controlling LCD gradation. It can store downloads of about 5,000 e-books on its built-in 7-Gbyte memory. Equipped with a wireless LAN module, the biblio can use KDDI's wireless LAN service, "Wi-Fi WIN," for a monthly charge of ¥525 (approx US$5.5).
KDDI's solar handset to debut in June ahead of rival
Sharp Corp's "Solar Phone SH002" features a polycrystalline silicon solar cell module on its back. Its market release is slated for June 2009, more than two months earlier than the release of the "Solar Hybrid 936SH," a SoftBank Mobile's handset to be launched in late August 2009 or later (See related article).
"KDDI is the only mobile-phone carrier who can offer a solar-powered handset by this summer," Takahashi said.
The conversion efficiency of the solar cell was not revealed, but it is equivalent to that of the 936SH as users can run it for about one minute when making a voice call and roughly two hours in the standby mode after charging for ten minutes," according to KDDI. The handset also supports a "battery meter" that indicates the remaining battery life as a percentage so that the amount can be accurately confirmed.
Sharp's "Sportio water beat" is specialized for the "au Smart Sports," KDDI's sports link service. This is the successor to the "Sportio," which was released from the au brand as a summer 2008 model. The new Sportio is added with the input function using a capacitance touch panel, a 1seg digital TV tuner and IPX5/IPX7-equivalent waterproof capability (See related article 2).
In addition to those models, KDDI announced Toshiba's waterproof "T002," which supports international roaming based on GSM functionality, Casio Computer Co Ltd's waterproof and shock-resistant "G'zOne CA002," Kyocera Corp's "K002," which realized a slimness of 10.9mm despite its built-in 1seg tuner, and "Kantan Keitai K003," which features enhanced operability.
A total of 13 models including those eight models, four "iida" brand models, which were already announced, and the"E06SH" targeted at corporate users will come out as the models for summer 2009. KDDI's models are slightly fewer than those released for the same season from NTT DoCoMo Inc and SoftBank Mobile Corp.
"What's more important is arranging our handsets to meet customer lifestyles, not the number of models," Takahashi said. "We are confident in these models."