updated 11:50 am EDT, Mon March 29, 2010
SoftBank gets flagship Android phone
SoftBank today broke ground and started carrying its first-ever Android phone. It will take on the HTC Desire as the X06HT and will get the Android 2.1 flagship virtually intact. The full-touch phone revolves around its 3.7-inch AMOLED display, 1GHz Snapdragon chip and 5-megapixel camera; it carries Flash Lite in the browser and on the Japanese carrier will come with a 2GB microSD card.
The phone should arrive on SoftBank in late April and should cost about 20,000 yen ($216) on a contract.
Adding the X06HT represents not just an entry into Android for SoftBank but a signal that the company is moving away from sole dependence on the iPhone as its range leader. It has relied almost exclusively on Apple since summer 2008 and has so far had little reason to explore alternate smartphones: last year, the iPhone 3GS was the top selling phone in Japan for at least a short period. SoftBank hasn't given signs that it's disappointed with recent sales but may be eager to push further into smartphones and to reduce its dependence on a single model for high-end sales.
Android is also rare in Japan as a whole and is represented largely by the HT-03A at NTT DoCoMo, an adaptation of the now year-old HTC Magic. [via Impress]