Sharp's new Aquos Crystal smartphones with their innovative borderless displays will debut for U.S. consumers with Sprint and with the Sprint network's no-contract partner companies, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile.
Sprint announced the Sharp Aquos Crystal on Aug. 19, though launch dates for the availability of the new phones have not yet been set.
The phones will be offered in black or white for $240 through Sprint's Easy Pay plan at $10 per month for Sprint customers. Virgin Mobile customers will be able to get one in black for $150, while Boost Mobile customers will be able to get one in white for $150.
"We are thrilled to welcome Sharp to the U.S. wireless market," David Owens, senior vice president of product development for Sprint, said in a statement. "Aquos Crystal will quickly become a must-have smartphone, showcasing Sharp's strength in display technology."
The new phones include a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 1.5GB RAM, 8GB ROM, an embedded 2,040mAh battery, an 8MP rear-facing and a 1.2MP front-facing camera, Clari-Fi technology (which improves digital sound quality by restoring all types of compressed digital music) and Clip Now (which takes screenshots with one swipe and saves them with an embedded URL for easy sharing), according to Sharp.
Also included is OfficeSuite, which lets users edit any Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint document on their phones.
The phone measures 5.16 by 2.6 by 0.40 inches and weighs 4.97 ounces. It can accept an SD card of up to 128GB for storage.
The Aquos Crystal promises a vibrant display with a 5-inch edge-to-edge HD screen, includes a Harman Kardon sound system, and runs on Android KitKat 4.4.2. It is also built to operate on Sprint's ultra-fast Spark network. Available so far in 27 markets across the United States, Sprint Spark is an enhanced Long Term Evolution (LTE) service that's built for data and designed to deliver average wireless speeds of 6 to 15M bps and peak wireless speeds of 50 to 60M bps today on capable devices, according to Sprint. The company says it plans to reach 100 million Americans by year end with the service.
"We are thrilled to introduce the first smartphone from Sharp's groundbreaking Aquos line of devices to be available in the U.S., with the launch of the Aquos Crystal Smartphone in the U.S. and Japan," Yoshisuke Hasegawa, the executive managing officer of Sharp Corp., said in a statement. "The already successful Aquos brand [of televisions and other devices] is taking another step forward among U.S. consumers by adding the Crystal smartphone, which marries innovative technology with a vibrant display, as customers have come to expect from Sharp Aquos products."
Buyers will be able to select an Aquos smartphone through Sprint's new Family Share Pack phone plans or without a contract through Virgin Mobile or Boost Mobile.
Sprint on Aug. 18 announced the Family Share Pack plans, which will be available starting Aug. 22; they will offer four lines with 20GB of shared data for $160 per month, according to the company.
Sweetening the deal, Sprint is also offering customers who take them up on the new Share Pack plans by Sept. 30 special lower pricing through 2015 at $100 per month for up to 10 phone lines with 20GB of shared data and unlimited talk and text.
As an added bonus, customers who participate in this offer will also receive an extra 2GB of data free per month per line through 2015. For a family of four, that means they'd pay $100 per month for 20GB of shared data plus 8GB of extra free data, for a total of 28GB per month through 2015. A family of 10 users would pay $100 per month and receive 20GB of shared data plus another 20GB of free extra data through 2015.
In April, Sprint introduced the exclusive availability of the HTC One (M8)-Harman Kardon Edition phone with Spotify.