Sharp announced Japan's first commercial 5G smartphone "AQUOS R5G". In countries other than Japan, 5G services have already begun in major countries, and it is quite common to see "5G" notation at overseas exhibitions and presentations. Japan, which has been late for 5G, has finally entered the 5G era and 5G smartphones will appear one after another from manufacturers.
Overseas are developing new technologies for smartphones, such as Huawei for cameras and Samsung for displays. However, Sharp's AQUOS R5G is not only compatible with 5G, but also compatible with 8K recording, so it seems to be attracting attention as a smartphone with top class camera performance in the industry.
Overseas companies such as Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, and OPPO have already released the first models of 5G smartphones for about a year, and are now introducing the second generation of 5G smartphones. Sharp lagged greatly behind them. However, 5G smartphones of each company have not yet been equipped with functions that can be differentiated other than "high-speed communication", and AQUOS R5G's 8K compatibility is superior to other companies.
By the way, Sharp is in the top 10 in the world with the number of patents for 5G, and in fact has high technical capabilities. And it is well known that they are leading the world in 8K-related development in the TV and video markets. At the moment 8K TV and 8K content are still only used in some parts such as professional use, but if you use AQUOS R5G, anyone can easily shoot 8K video and upload it instantly on 5G line is.
Well, Samsung has announced the "Galaxy S20" series of 5G smartphones compatible with 8K recording one week before the announcement of AQUOS R5G. Shortly thereafter, Xiaomi announced "Mi 10" and "Mi 10 Pro" in China, which also supports 5G and can record 8K. Apparently, 5G smartphones in 2020 may meet the minimum requirements of "5G + 8K".
However, just because 8K video can be shot does not mean that anyone can create content that is easy to use. At 8K, the file size is larger than 4K, and the playback environment for 8K is still poor. Connecting a smartphone to an 8K TV also requires waiting for the emergence of a cable that supports the new HDMI standard "2.1". Uploading can be faster on 5G networks, but 8K TVs are still on the horizon.
Therefore, AQUOS R5G is trying to make the benefits of shooting in 8K familiar to users by utilizing AI. One of them is "focus playback". When looking at landscapes, the human eye unconsciously magnifies only that part in the brain when looking at things in the distance. AQUOS R5G will automatically display the video recorded by the 8K camera if AI and the child or animal are shown. In other words, even if you record the entire video and magnify and play back only the part of the subject you want to focus on, you can play it with reduced deterioration because it was originally recorded at 8K.
Samsung's 8K recording function, on the other hand, has a function that allows one-touch photo capture from 8K video and a function that can easily reduce the resolution and save it as a short clip so that 8K video can be easily shared. By shooting videos in ultra-high resolution 8K, you do not have to worry about deterioration when processing later.
It is expected that Sharp and Samsung's 8K video application features will become standard among other manufacturers in the future. The 8K video shooting function will be able to create content that was not possible in the 4K era.
By the way, although 5G has begun in various countries, killer services and killer contents of 5G are still limited. Sharp seems to be considering xR in the future, but at the moment the benefits of 5G will be related to video content such as video streaming and video uploading. Sharp also has excellent display technology for displaying videos. In other words, with the development of 5G smartphones, Sharp actually has high competitiveness.
Currently, more than 30 5G smartphones are sold overseas. However, the products sold in each country range from several models to about five models. Only China is special and there are about 10 models, but the number is still not so large.
The deployment of AQUOS R5G outside of Japan is still unknown, but it may be possible to sell to overseas 5G carriers using 8K video as a weapon. In fact, Xiaomi succeeded in selling 5G smartphones from a Swiss carrier with no experience at all last year.
AQUOS's 8K TV and AQUOS R5G can also be displayed as a set at home appliance stores in overseas mass merchandisers, and sales promotion and promotion of 8K TV can be strengthened. AQUOS R5G is likely to play an important role in the future development of Sharp's TV business.
The 5G smartphone market is just beginning, and 2020 will be the year of full-fledged adoption. Gartner reports that 221 million 5G smartphones will be sold in 2020, representing 12% of total smartphone sales. We want Sharp to expand sales of 5G smartphones by taking advantage of the 5G spread.