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Softbank Mobile unveils summer '07 lineup

Chris Ziegler

Let's be honest: 'round these parts, we're lucky to get a summer phone, let alone fricking thirteen of them. Following KDDI's announcement of ten brilliant handsets for the summer months, Japan's Softbank Mobile is unleashing a full thirteen of its own from Toshiba, Sharp, and Panasonic, along with darkhorses Samsung and HTC. As can be expected for a Japanese carrier aiming to impress with a new lineup, Softbank's colorful stable includes something for pretty much everyone. Let's have a closer look after the break.

Shield your eyes, lest you burn your retinas gazing at the fuscia back half of Sharp's "FULLFACE" 913SH. Softbank is advertising this one as the world's first "full flat, full slide" handset with one-seg TV reception, though we have absolutely no idea what that means. HSDPA and a 2 megapixel camera are along for the ride when this one launches in late July.

Toshiba X01T
Look familiar? It should; this is the localized version of Toshiba's gorgeous G900. Features include Windows Mobile 6 Professional (apparently despite the fact that the promotional shot clearly shows Windows Mobile 5), HSDPA, a 3 inch WVGA display, fingerprint reader, and a white shell that looks altogether nicer than the G900's original silver. Look for this one to see release in mid August.

Wowza, not one, but two global-release Windows Mobile devices that have been localized for Softbank in this round! Alongside the X01T comes the X02HT from HTC, which appears to be little more than a Cavalier in mild disguise. We're not too sure how we feel about the orange accents yet, but we can certainly get behind the feature set: Windows Mobile 6 Standard, and a 2 megapixel cam, all wrapped up in a tight little 13.9mm shell. Look for it late July.

Toshiba fanfun 815T
Yes, Toshiba; "fanfun," indeed. As usual, this one's got HSDPA and FeliCa, but the draw here seems to be the opportunity for customization. There are apparently 12 case colors, 300 panel colors, and 30 illumination schemes available, making it the "world's first" handset with 240 million possible configurations. How's that for a claim to fame? The 815T rocks store shelves in mid July.

Sharp 912SH
Like KDDI's W51SH, the 912SH is the lucky recipient of AQUOS branding to emphasize the goodness of its primary display. How good, you ask? Think "3 inch VGA with a one-seg tuner" good. Naturally, the 912SH throws in some HSDPA too for the rare occasion when the user would rather hit up some email than watch telly. Available early June.

Panasonic 810P
Even though it's a slider, Softbank's billing the 810P as being as "easy to use" as a candybar thanks to its slimmish 12.9mm case. The same praise can't be given to the choice of color here, but that's strictly our own opinion. Look for it in the next few weeks.

Toshiba 912T
Toshiba continues to impress. Hiding underneath the 912T's bright-yet-unassuming shell lies a GPS receiver, 3.2 megapixel camera, one-seg TV tuner, and a so-called 2.8 inch "Wide Clear Screen" for easy outdoor viewing, which we're guessing means it's transflective. There's a little bit of a wait for this one -- it'll hit in early August.

Toshiba 814T
The 814T takes a small step down the tech ladder from its big sib 914T, but it has an excuse: it's looking to pack all of its goods into 12.9 millimeters. The upper case is titanium (great news if you're worried about your phone rusting) and you get a 2 megapixel autofocus cam plus FeliCa support. This one rocks out in early July.

Sharp 816SH
"Simple and smart functionality" is the tagline here, which we figure is a marketing way of saying "nothing too special." The phone's key functions are designed to work effectively with the slide closed -- great for those of us with overworked thumbs. HSDPA, 2 megapixel camera, dropping in early September. Isn't that a little late to be coming to the party with a weak spec sheet, Sharp?

Sharp 814SH
Mmm, we just can't get enough of those VGA LCDs. Yeah, we understand they're particularly useful for the Japanese character set -- but trust us, we'd find fabulous uses for 'em, too. Given the pink case and the "glitter texture design," we figure this one's for the ladies. Other features include HSDPA and extra easy-to-use dome shaped keys when it hits in early July.

Sharp 815SH
This one might be marketed as a more gender-neutral version of the 814SH. Like the 814, this one gets a VGA display and HSDPA, though the metal case appears to be unique. It'll get stocked alongside the 814 in early July.

Sharp GENT 812SH s
Softbank's pulling no punches here -- the 812SH s is aimed squarely at senior citizens with its extra-large fonts, simple menu structure, and big buttons. Of course, just because it's for older folks doesn't mean it has to be old school; they still get a 2 megapixel cam and Suica contactless payment compatibility. Available late July.

Samsung 805SC
Samsung has a surprisingly minimal mobile presence in Japan, though Softbank's looking to change that with devices like the 706SC, 707SC -- and now, the 805SC. The new slider gets special recognition as the world's thinnest one-seg phone, clocking in at just 13.5mm. Naturally, HSDPA comes standard, too. We're digging the white on this one. Grab this one in mid June.

And that's it from Softbank -- for this week, at least. So who has the better summer lineup, KDDI or these guys?

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