There's something to be said for the old T9 input system. Most often that something is "why would you use it on a touchscreen," but for a certain type of user it's extremely useful. Sharp is playing to those users with the unfortunately named Aquos IS14SH, heading to the Japanese market in the near future. The odd combination of a 3.7-inch touchscreen and a full number pad is achieved by a bottom-sliding mechanism.
The Aquos IS14SH is being positioned in the mid-to-high end, with a 960 x 540 QHD resolution, 8 megapixel camera and 4GB of storage. There's no mention made of a processor, but expect something in the 1.0-1.2Ghz range. That and 512MB of RAM should be more than enough to run Gingerbread and a few custom Sharp additions comfortably. Sadly it's hobbled by a battery that's just 1030mAH, about 500mAh lower than the median for new smartphones. Even running on older hardware, that's going to put a strain on battery life.
If the sliding form factor seems odd, consider that first-time smartphone users are often quite adept at T9 typing, having gotten plenty of of time to practice rapid texting. There's no mention of a price or availability anywhere outside of Japan, but Sharp has been pushing towards a greater smartphone presence worldwide. That being the case, we might see the IS14SH at the Mobile World Congress in February. Stay tuned.
[via The Mobile Indian]