Forget Google phones; SoftBank unveils “Yahoo Phone” in Japan
So the Android operating system is a hit and even Google wants to get in to the game by releasing the occasional 'Google phone' that boasts premium hardware and access to the latest firmware version of Android. But for a smartphone OEM to churn out a “Yahoo Phone”? Don't be surprised, but that is exactly what SoftBank in Japan has done with its new smartphone that is every bit the Yahoo-equivalent of those Google phones we have been reading all about.
When it comes to Japan, one is almost always assured of an announcement or launch of an unconventional product every so often, especially where consumer electronics products such as smartphones are concerned. And true enough, this latest announcement from SoftBank only serves to reinforce that claim, for thhe country;s third largest mobile network carrier has announced the availability of what is probably the first ever “Yahoo Phone” for its domestic smartphone market.
The machine translation of SoftBank's press release throws up some funky interpretations, but from what we have managed to gather, it seems that SoftBank's new Yahoo phone, which is manufactured by Sharp, is known domestically as the AQUOS PHONE THE PREMIUM SoftBank 009SH Y. This makes it a rebranded variant of the original 3D-capable AQUOS PHONE THE PREMIUM SoftBank 009SH, which we first spoke about last month and was slated to be released for sale in Japan in mid-August this year.
Specs-wise, it appears that the 009SH Y is virtually identical to the original 009SH in that it sports a four-inch QHD display capable of a maximum resolution of 960 x 540, along with an eight-megapixel rear-facing camera. However, it seems that the 009SH Y might have a chance of seeing life outside of Japan, for the specifications sheet released by SoftBank indicates that the smartphone features both CDMA and GSM radios, thus making it a world phone of sorts.
Of course, with the 009SH Y being a “Yahoo phone”, it would only make sense that the smartphone comes preloaded with various Yahoo-centric features to distinguish itself from the competition. According to SoftBank, this comes in the form of 13 preloaded apps and services for Yahoo Japan, such as Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Calendar and Yahoo Weather, among many others. In addition, SoftBank has also claimed that subscribers who purchase the 009SH Y can expect to score two years of free membership to Yahoo Premium, as well as obtain additional points with every purchase made on Yahoo Shopping throughout that time frame.
Oh, and one last thing; the Yahoo Phone runs of version 2.3 (aka Gingerbread) of the Android operating system. But you probably know that already, no?