NTT DoCoMo launches thinnest Android smartphone

The race to make the thinnest smartphone is now led by NEC's Medias N-04C

Thin continues to be in for new smartphones: the NEC Medias N-04C, launched by NTT DoCoMo in Japan on Thursday, is about 8 millimeters thick.

The launch follows the introduction of Samsung's Galaxy S II and Sony Ericsson's Xperia Arc, which both measure about 9 millimeters at their thinnest point.

For the smartphone makers, producing thinner devices is one way to differentiate their products from the competition, according to Geoff Blaber, analyst at CCS Insight. Apple has shown that good design goes a long way, but it has to be combined with a good user interface, applications and content, he said.

The Medias N-04C has a 4-inch screen, is 127 mm tall and 62 mm wide and weighs 105 grams. The smartphone is based on version 2.2 of Android and will get an upgrade to version 2.3 later this year, according to DoCoMo.

Other features include a mobile wallet, the ability to view mobile digital terrestrial television and a quick-shot photo function that allows users to take consecutive shots every 1.1 second with the 5-megapixel camera.

Users can access the Internet using Wi-Fi or HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) at 7.2M bps (bits per second) for downloads and 5.7M bps for data uploads.

Pricing wasn't announced, but shipping will start on March 15. There were no details on if or when NEC would start selling the smartphone outside of Japan.

NTT DoCoMo also said in would start shipping LG's tablet Optimus Pad -- which is based on Android 3.0, the tablet optimized version of Google's operating system -- in late March.

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Tags smartphonesAndroidPhonesNECconsumer electronicsNEC Electronics

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