Manufacturing smartphones is a competitive game. I'm talking playing StarCraft in South Korea rough. Succeeding in this market is akin to getting into an Ivy League university, then going on to join the NFL. It's not impossible, but neither is becoming president. If you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen. It must be too hot for NEC, as they're bowing out of the smartphone market. Given that this was one of their latest models, the news doesn't come as too much of a surprise.
NEC's first entry into the American Android market isn't exactly auspicious, but it does fill a much-neglected niche. AT&T is now offering the NEC Terrain for sale, right on time and online only. $99.99 on contract gets you the QWERY candybar phone with a miniscule 3.1" screen, or you can shell out $429.99 to own it outright. Considering its ruggedized, semi-waterproof build, that's not such a bad deal... but you will have to live with Ice Cream Sandwich, a year after Jelly Bean 4.1 was released.
It's probably not the water-cooled superphone you've been looking for, but Japanese smartphone maker NEC announced the succinctly named Medias X 06E for the NTT DoCoMo network today, the world's first smartphone with a CPU cooled by H2O. Unfortunately, the specs are decidedly middling, and NEC intends to market the device as a "lady's" phone in essentially the same vein as HTC with the Rhyme.
The Medias X 06E packs a quad-core Qualcomm processor clocked at 1.7 Ghz, a 4.7-inch 720p OLED display, and a 13.1 megapixel camera.
If you've never heard of Japanese manufacturer NEC, don't worry, you're in good company. While the corporation has indeed been producing Android devices for years, some of which are quite unique and impressive, they haven't seen fit to expand most of their mobile hardware beyond Japan. (Note the complete lack of cellular devices on NEC's American page.) That's why it's so puzzling to see noted tipster @evleaks' latest break: the NEC Terrain for AT&T.
There have been a few cautious entries into the world of dual-screen Android devices from the likes of Kyocera, Sony, and Samsung, but Japanese manufacturer NEC is hoping to leave these efforts in the dust with their new smartphone. The MEDIAS W has a form factor that's distinctly different from any yet seen in the Android world: two 4.3-inch screens in equal resolution, side-by-side. It's a bit like a smaller, inverted version of the Sony Tablet P turned 90 degrees, or the old Microsoft Courier concept shrunken down.
Adding to the heap of pre-MWC goodies we've seen lately, NEC decided to show off three of their new Android-powered phones today in Japan, and if nothing else, the devices look interesting.
The first thing that jumps out is the strange gizmo on the far left – it appears to have 2 displays back to back (when folded), and is labeled as the "best cloud device," hinting at easier cloud connectivity.
I will never quite get the Japanese consumer electronics market, but hey, NEC has done pretty well for itself occupying just that niche. Their latest creation? A weird super-thin (9.9mm, to be precise) Android laptop:
Yes, that is Android 1.6 you see running on this "cutting-edge" piece of technology. Seriously, they couldn't even get Gingerbread? And yes, the screen is supposed to be that aspect ratio (it's 7 inches). But hey, at least it's a touch display (we think), and you can rotate the hinge on it all the way back, so then it's like a tablet (how's that work with a keyboard on the backside...?)!
If rumors are to be believed, NEC's newest Android phone - the MEDIAS E-04C - will be the world's thinnest smartphone at 7.7mm when it launches this Thursday. It has only been a short time since Sony Ericsson launched the razor-thin Xperia arc and Samsung crowned its Galaxy S II phone as the "world's thinnest smartphone," but at 8.7mm and 8.49mm at their thinnest points, respectively, these phones look positively obese in comparison.
Last month at GSM 2010, NEC showed off a 7" touchscreen Android tablet. The company was marketing it towards businesses, and it's supposed to function mainly in the cloud - an interesting proposal. Unfortunately, it seems the execution is lackluster in just about every way. The specs are utter crap:
- 600 Mhz CPU (NEC says this will be updated to 1 Ghz at some point)
- 384 MB RAM
- 1 GB ROM
- Resistive touchscreen
- WiFi & Bluetooth
- Android 2.1, with updates coming down the road
- Custom UI
Based on the video below, it it looks like it runs like a dog.
NEC, Casio, And Hitachi, known as NEC Casio Mobile Communications since their merger in 2009, have been pretty quiet about their Android plans so far. However, after seeing Panasonic take the plunge yesterday and announce its plans to enter the Android market in 2011, NEC Casio couldn't hold it anymore and spilled the beans today.
According to Keitai Watch, the company plans to begin selling Android devices starting with Japan in 2011, and the rest of the world in 2012.