It's that time of year again -- that magical time when Japanese carriers pull out all the stops and deliver a mind-numbing swath of new models at once. KDDI au's rocking seven all-new models for its fall / winter '07 collection, perhaps most notably the Infobar 2 candybar that bubbled out of its ongoing concept design program. All told, we have entries from six manufacturers here spanning the candybar, slider, and clamshell (naturally) form factors, so it pretty much goes without saying that KDDI customers should have no trouble finding the phone of their dreams in this motherlode. Forge on for a closer look at each of the new models.
We're not sure why anyone would pick the two color options on the left here, because let's be honest -- the Infobar 2's claim to fame is its wacky multicolor keypad. The 2.6 inch, 400 x 240 display is an OLED unit, pretty unusual for a screen of this size (in these parts, anyway). Other features include a 2 megapixel cam, microSD expansion, and one-seg mobile TV.
One of two contributions from Toshiba, the W56T is a pretty typical Japanese domestic market clamshell offering up a 3.2 megapixel autofocus lens, one-seg and FM tuners, FeliCa, and a microSD slot. One cool bit here is that the clam can be opened 180 degrees for easy TV viewing -- a nice change of pace from the usual swivel to accomplish the same purpose.
Sony Ericsson W54S
KDDI bills Sony Ericsson's W54S as "elegant but powerful." We'd say that's a fair assessment considering the 3.2 megapixel autofocus camera, one-seg, FM radio, and FeliCa access. See a trend here?
The only slider of the lot, Sanyo's W54SA features a lovely 3 inch display and a "Japonesque" design (KDDI's words, not ours) that we imagine should do well for Kyocera's new unit -- should a deal end up going down, of course. The camera sensor is just a hair under 3.2 megapixels (not the same unit several of the other phones here are using, apparently), but otherwise, the spec sheet is starting to sound like a broken record: microSD slot, FeliCa, one-seg, et cetera.
Hitachi Wooo W53H
Nope, that's not a typo, the W53H is "Wooo" branded. We've no idea what that means, especially considering that the spec sheet is virtually indistinguishable from the other phones here. The camera is a bit on the low end -- just 2 megapixels -- but we see a cradle on KDDI's site that makes us believe the carrier intends this one to see some action as a nav system.
Kyocera's W53K makes us cry because it's an indication of just what the manufacturer's capable of, which contrasts sharply (very sharply) with the ultra low-end fare it serves up in the Americas. Ah, well. KDDI's touting how slim this one-seg capable puppy is, which is probably a diversionary tactic to take your mind off the meager 2 megapixel cam. And no, we can't believe we just said "meager" and "2 megapixel" in the same sentence. One could get used to a Japanese carrier's product portfolio, no?
Finally, the Toshiba W55T has the outline of a credit card when closed, and KDDI's really playing that up. Like, to the point of annoyance. Why does that even matter, anyway? It's not like you can slot it in your wallet alongside the Visa -- yeah, KDDI calls it thin, but it ain't that thin. The camera's 2 megapixels, the display's 2.4 inches, and naturally, the color choices are gold, platinum, and black.