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Sharp Aquos Phone 104SH launching with ICS this month, upgrades for older phones planned

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Sharp has announced plans to upgrade its high-end Aquos smartphones to Android 4.0 and will release its first device preloaded with the OS towards the end of February in Japan.

sharp sh104
sharp sh104

You may think your Galaxy Nexus comes from the old school of Ice Cream Sandwich, but Sharp's Aquos Phone 104SH was actually the first device to be announced as running the latest version of Android — and it's finally coming out through SoftBank towards the end of this month in Japan. The 8.9mm-thin, waterproof phone is running on a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, has a 12.1-megapixel camera, and a 4.5-inch 720p screen. Unlike Sharp's previous Android phones for the Japanese market, it omits features such as 1seg TV and infrared data, which would seem to make it a strong candidate for an overseas release were the company ever to follow Panasonic into other markets. It's worth noting that Sharp does currently sell low-end smartphones in the US such as the FX series on AT&T, but it hasn't launched any of its high end Japanese models overseas.

In comments reported by Livedoor, representatives from Sharp dodged the question of whether the SH04 will see an overseas release, but did confirm that the phone was designed with global standards in mind and that the company has set up a base of smartphone operations in the US. The company says that the Japan−specific features were left out of the 104SH in order to bring it out with Android 4.0 as quickly as possible, and that their focus was on providing an attractive smartphone experience over competing in the spec arms race. That may be so, but considering the extremely competitive hardware we have to wonder if Sharp has something else up its sleeve.

Sharp also announced that it plans to upgrade other smartphones to Android 4.0. While there aren't any details on specific models or dates, the company said that "high end" Aquos Phones will be receiving the update. It's as yet unclear if this will extend to its failed Galapagos tablets or lower-end Gingerbread phones such as the chocolatey Q-pot.Phone SH-04D.