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Softbank Mobile's Spring 2008 collection

Chris Ziegler

Right on KDDI's heels comes Softbank, roaring in with fourteen new models (not including the oh-so-pricey Tiffany phone) for the spring season. Though the lineup includes the usual array of crazy clamshells, this particular group includes a curious model designed specifically for stock trading and the Japanese introduction of a couple phones we're already well acquainted with. Can ya spot 'em in the picture there? Read on!

Panasonic 920P
Taking a page out of Sharp's book, Panasonic is slapping branding from its television biz on the 920P; 'course, the magnificent 3 inch WVGA LCD with a 160 degree viewing angle is pretty darned worthy of the VIERA label, if we do say so ourselves. The phone is also capable of over six hours of continuous one-seg operation, features a 5 megapixel primary cam, and can operate on global GSM networks. It'll be available in Black Metal, gold, white, light blue, or pink.

Sharp 921SH FULLFACE 2
Any guesses what "FULLFACE" means? You got it: it's all about the gargantuan display dominating the top half of the slider. That sucker's 3.2 inches, to be exact, of wide VGA glory -- which works out to about one bajillion pixels more than any phone we get around here. Enough bellyaching, though, and onto the remainder of the specs: 3.2 megapixel main cam (better than the 913SH's 2 megapixel sensor, for you diehard FULLFACE fanatics out there), microSD expansion to 4GB, and naturally, support for one-seg. Black, white, blue, gold, and pink will be your choices when it lands in early March.

Sharp 922SH "Internet Machine"
You don't see this form factor terribly often in a Japanese carrier's lineup, so if you're feeling it, you might want to get in while the getting's good. The 922SH sports a measly 1.18 inch monochrome OLED on the outside but flips open to reveal a 3.5 inch AQUOS-branded WVGA display -- not bad for viewing website intended for desktops, and likely responsible for the "Internet Machine" name. We'd have liked to have seen a numeric keypad on the outside, which might very well mark the first time in history we've been underwhelmed by a Softbank offering. It'll rock out in Gold Bronze, Metallic Black, Pearl White, and Pearl Pink.

Toshiba 921T
The 921T's claim to fame has to be its 2.8 inch WQVGA OLED, touting a 10,000:1 contrast ratio. You suffer in the resolution department against some of these other WVGA beasts, sure, but that's just the price you have to pay for OLED joy these days. A one-seg tuner and 3.2 megapixel cam are along for the ride, but be warned -- the 921T lacks international 3G roaming. The 921T will hit shelves in late March in Black Silver, Vivid Pink, Khaki Gold, white, and plain ol' pink.

Panasonic 822P
The spec sheet here is pretty embarrassingly bad when put up against its stablemates, but check it: the 822P is a mere 8.9mm thick. Like the Internet Machine, Panasonic's thin marvel is in a pretty rare form factor for the Japanese market -- candybar this time around. The QVGA display and 2 megapixel camera aren't going to be turning any heads, so you'll have to leave it to the blade-thin shell to wow your friends and family. Red, pink gold, black, and white are the colors for this one when it drops in mid February.

Samsung 820SC
With a 2.6 inch QVGA OLED display and not much else to write about, we suspect the 820SC lies at or near the bottom of the new range. The Samsung-sourced flip does have a couple nice things going for it, though: international roaming and a comparably large, color external OLED. It's available in the next couple weeks in gold, black, silver, and red.

Samsung 821SC
Geared toward women (because Softbank says so), the 821SC matches the 820SC's relative impotence, though it drops a little thickness and trades the square color OLED for a thin monochrome strip. White, silver, purple, red, and Pink Pearl are the shades for launch in mid March.

Sharp 823SH "Premium Texture"
Yep, it's pretty obvious where they're getting the "Premium Texture" name from here. In all, there are two body colors (silver and black) to choose from along with nine textures, ranging from real wood to real carbon fiber and pretty much everything in between. It's only 14.3mm thick, though the 2.6 inch WQVGA screen is a bit weak. FeliCa and a 2 megapixel shooter make appearances here, too. It'll be available (and a handful of trees will no longer be available) starting in early March.

Toshiba 820T
The 812T came out literally a few weeks ago, but time marches mercilessly on, and it's apparently time for the 820T to make its grand entrance. As you might gather from the shape, color, and feature set, the 820T is Softbank's kiddie phone, specially designed with a loud-ass buzzer and "anticrime lamp" (Softbank's words, not ours) for scaring off would-be miscreants. It can also be used to track tykes from afar thanks to integrated GPS capabilities and features programmable usage limits and a 3.2 megapixel cam with macro. Get it for the young one in your life in Pink Flower, Snow White, or Jet Blue when it launches in the next few days.

Toshiba 821T
The 821T flip from Toshiba is a really, really boring phone -- and that's by design. This one is intended for the older set, featuring large, easy to read buttons and menus, three one-touch dialing keys, and a big monochrome external display. Seniors aren't left completely out in the tech cold, though; they still make out with a 2 megapixel camera and their choice of silver, pink, black, blue, or Red Wine shells. It's available early next month.

Toshiba 822T
Toshiba's really getting busy with niche market here; we've got the kiddie phone, the old folks' phone, and now, the waterproof phone. The flip makes do with a forgettable 2.4 inch QVGA screen and 2 megapixel primary cam, but the VGA secondary cam can be used to recognize your face and unlock the phone -- a nifty trick, if we do say so ourselves. This one should be on shelves by the end of the month in white, pink, black, and blue.

Nokia X02NK
This wouldn't be the first time Softbank has scored a Nokia device, and for their sake, we hope it's not the last. The N95 is the phone getting domesticated this time around, featuring the same spec sheet as its international cousins. It'll come around in late April in red (look familiar?), white, and Blue Storm.

Here's another one that should ring a bell for a few peeps. The X03HT shares design and components with the S730 "Wings," a Windows Mobile 6 Standard device with a side-sliding QWERTY keyboard. As you might expect, the X03HT offers international roaming, WiFi, and a 2 megapixel camera -- all borrowed from the Wings, as is the milquetoast QVGA display. It launches in late April in red, black, and white.

Sharp 920SH YK
If there's one phone in this group that it makes sense to only offer in "Metal Black," this is it. The 920SH YK is designed specifically with day traders in mind, offering a variety of apps that'd bore anyone besides a financial guru to tears. The 3.2 inch rotating WVGA display makes it easy to view charts -- and one-seg TV, too, for when the business day is over. Stock gurus can add this device to their portfolio of ways to lose millions of dollars in a single day starting in late March.

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