Softbank and Sharp partner up to sell a nearly bezel-free smartphone

Sharp hasn’t been making waves in the smartphone market for the past few years, but Japanese carrier Softbank hopes that its edge in manufacturing hasn’t gotten rusty. Softbank announced on Monday that it will exclusively carry Sharp’s newest mid-range handset, the Aquos Crystal, as well as introduce a new service which allows consumers unlimited downloads of selected apps. The device is also expected to be be available in the United States exclusively on Sprint, which is Softbank’s subsidiary.

The Aquos Crystal isn’t going to be a world-class phone, but considering the performance coming out of mid-range phones recently, it doesn’t have to be. According to a Google-translated Japanese press release, there will be two versions: one with a 5-inch 720p display, and one with a 5.5-inch 1080p screen. Hopefully these screens will be choice, since [company]Sharp[/company] is best known for its LCD televisions as well as providing smartphone screens for other manufacturers. Powering the screen will be a [company]Qualcomm[/company] Snapdragon 400 CPU and 1.5GB of RAM.

But the biggest draw for the Aquos Crystal isn’t its specs, but rather its bezels, or, more accurately, the lack of them. Both versions should have nearly nonexistent bezels, with the screen taking up almost the entire face of the device. Like the high-end LG G3, the Aquos Crystal should feel compact in the hand despite its big 5- or 5.5-inch screen. At the right price, a bezel-less device could be extremely attractive.

Sharp Aquos Crystal

Although the 5.5-inch version, dubbed Aquos Crystal X, won’t be released until December 2014, the 5-inch version will be released on August 29th in Japan, and “it is expected to be released in the United States.” The announcement for the stateside [company]Sprint[/company] version could come as early as later this week.