updated 03:15 pm EST, Wed January 17, 2007
KDDI 2007 Media Phones
KDDI's au division has just launched its spring 2007 phones, appealing primarily to Japanese mobile TV viewers. Among the releases is the Sharp W51SH (shown), one of the first phones from Sharp to bear the company's Aquos name. The clamshell design reflects its HDTV inspiration, Sharp says, and contains a swiveling 3-inch widescreen LCD for watching video; it both tunes Japan's 1Seg digital TV broadcasts and can serve as a PVR, recording scheduled shows to microSD cards.
Rival carrier NTT DoCoMo also released its own set of phones to mark the new year. The SO903iTV enhances Sony-Ericsson's earlier Bravia phone with enhanced TV playback. While it too shares a 3-inch widescreen with the Sharp model and schedules TV recording to microSD storage, but is said to have more advanced timeshifting. It automatically buffers live TV whether recording takes place or not and lets owners pause or rewind while they watch. It can further play pre-recorded TV back at up to 1.3X speeds, Sony-Ericsson adds. The SO903iTV and its Sharp challenger should be available soon in their home country but are unlikely to reach North America without a change to the continent's MediaFLO format. A photo of the SO903iTV is available after the jump.