updated 10:25 am EST, Mon January 17, 2011
Disney goes Android despite Steve Jobs connection
Disney took an unusual direction in Japan with word it was launching its own smartphone using Android. The phone will be a rebadging of the Sharp Galapagos 003SH and will focus mostly on its inclusion of glasses-free 3D on the 3.8-inch display. Owners will get their own Disney e-mail address, exclusive content and the option of six custom cases themed loosely around Disney characters.
The phone itself has a 1GHz processor, a 9.6-megapixel camera and Japan-friendlly features such as 1Seg over-the-air TV tuning and FeliCa for wireless payments. A customized version of Android 2.2 is onboard with support for Flash 10.1.
Sales start in Japan sometime in February. Whether or not the movie studio's version will ever reach the US is uncertain and could be unlikely. The 003SH in a purer form will reach the US sometime this year.
The decision to side with Android is unusual for Disney. Apart from having focused almost exclusively on basic phones in its nearly three year history in mobile, Disney is directly connected to Apple through Steve Jobs' position on its board of directors. Disney has been given freedom to offer competitive features before, such as its Keychest play-anywhere copy protection or to sell through other stores besides, but it has never had a physical product directly comparable to the iPhone or other Apple hardware.
Apple is unlikely to be concerned about the deal in the short term as the iPhone sells much stronger in Japan than most Android models. [via Akihabara]