Sharp's IS03 Android phone packs retina display, minus the branding pretense

WVGA's so 2009, isn't it? Sharp has broken Android's usual 800 (or 854) x 480 mold this week with the introduction of the IS03 for Japan's KDDI au network, boasting a full 960 x 640 on its 3.5-inch screen -- matching the iPhone 4's so-called retina display -- along with Advanced Super View (ASV) technology, delivering the same kind of viewing angle benefits you find in IPS. If that alone doesn't make for enough of a monster spec sheet for you, consider that the IS03 also features a 9.6 megapixel autofocus camera with image stabilization, one-seg TV tuner, and Osaifu-Keitai, which allows the phone to be used for contactless payments in subways and the like. Though you won't find it sold outside Japan, you might eventually see one outside Japan thanks to support for Global Passport CDMA, meaning the IS03 can be used in countries that have operating CDMA networks -- the US, for example. Unfortunately, it's running Android 2.1, but let's be honest: the monster hardware might be enough to overcome that little oversight. Look for this puppy to launch in three colors next month.