An Interview with Sharp AQUOS CRYSTAL X development team on the “realization of Bezel-less 5.5 inch display serving as smartphone”

hiroshi Nakata(Rear Left),Kyoichiro Sawachika(Rear right),Koji Kusuda(front Lest),Futagami Gen

hiroshi Nakata(Rear Left),Kyoichiro Sawachika(Rear right),Hiroshi Kusuda(front Lest),Futagami Gen

AQUOS CRYSTAL X, a Softbank mobile model by Sharp, has been released. It is the high-end model of AQUOS CRYSTAL, released in the US and Japanese markets last summer. According to Sharp’s Kyoichiro Sawachika, Head of the Third Product Planning Office, Global Products Planning Center, Communications System Projects Headquarters, the sale of AQUOS CRYSTAL “has been exceeding expectations not only in Japan but also in the North America. The frameless experience seems to impress consumers in the US as well.”



At releasing AQUOS CRYSTAL X, the team “focused on providing a model that can satisfy the users’ demand for higher specifications. Other manufacturers also sell 5.5 inches, but their models are more like phablets, whereas our frameless AQUOS CRYSTAL X achieves the smartphone size with 5.5 inch screen” (Kohji Kusuda, Assistant Manager).

AQUOS CRYSTAL X is laden with thought-out details not featured in the original model. One of them is “design”.
AQUOS CRYSTAL X display boasts a larger proportion (84.4%) compared to the original AQUOS CRYSTAL. “Actually, it is not only the display that was made larger. The other parts were also made smaller than the original CRYSTAL, so that the frameless feature successfully increased the element of surprise.” (Kusuda)

An attention is also paid to the backside, which is rubber-coated to secure the grip. A close look at it reveals the FeliCa logo, which “is embossed at the minimalist 0.05mm. As it does not have to be visible to anyone other than the user, we adjusted the height so that it is only recognizable when the user holds it. It would give completely different looks if the raise is ever so slightly wider, 0.08mm or 0.1mm for example. Because FeliCa Networks disapproves too poor visibility, we tried to pinpoint the minimum approvable height.” (Gen Futagami, Designer at Communication Design Center)
Furthermore, genuine aluminum is used for the battery key, camera ring, and earphone jack to add a classy touch.

Bezel-less designe

Bezel-less designe

Fine details, possible only with AQUOS CRYSTAL X’s frameless feature, are also incorporated in its functions.
For example, run a finger along the upper edge of the display to capture the screen. With other existing models, screenshots require tedious handling, such as simultaneous pressing of the volume button and home button, etc. AQUOS CRYSTAL X, on the other hand, only requires a simplest action to take a screenshot. Incidentally, the action accompanies an unexpectedly refreshing crystal sound instead of the conventional shutter.

With the new AQUOS CRYSTAL X, you can customize the device to capture a screenshot by tracing the upper edge from left to right and view the shot by tracing the edge from right to left.
“The screenshot function is used more frequently than people think, and customers even contact support centers on how to use it. As the second most popular screenshot-related enquiry is about the devices’ incapability to instantly display the captured image, we added this particular function.” (Kusuda)
The advantage of frameless structure is further extended to the Swipe Pair function, in which the users can pair two AQUOS CRYSTAL X devices to share images and enlarge an image to the double-screen size by simply putting them side by side and swipe a finger across the two screens.

“You can comprehend its true value only when you touch it. Its visual impact is simply compelling and requires no explanations.” (Kusuda)
I had a go at the model and, certainly, found the experience genuinely pleasant to see images precisely and smoothly enlarged and shrunk across two screens.
One can conclude that AQUOS CRYSTAL X has achieved to deliver a sufficient amount of “sense of excitement” both in terms of technology and usability.