Sharp's CEO made an announcement last September that the company would be making a new attempt at the European market. Now, some eight months later, a line-up leak confirms these intentions – backed by the huge funding and manufacturing base of Foxconn, Sharp smartphones are more likely than ever to reach European soil. But we should not forget the sad fact that these won't be real Sharps, the Japanese gems we are so fond of, but Chinese copycats instead, manufactured by FIH Mobile Limited.
As you can see in the image, five models will be launched, yet only one looks like an actual Japanese Sharp: the E-F1 flagship that comes with a high-resolution IGZO screen, the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, and the same (enhanced) cameras found on the Aquos R that was released last year in Japan. The E-F1 is basically an improved Aquos R – the Aquos R2, which is rumoured for inclusion in the Summer 2018 collections of Japanese carriers. [EDIT: As we saw a month later, this is indeed the Aquos R2.]
The E-P1 is the same as the Chinese Aquos S3, freshly launched at the end of March, only with the SDM 660 processor and 6 GB of RAM (vs. SDM630 and 4 GB). The same specs are very likely to reach Eastern-Asian markets, too, under the Aquos S3 Plus monicker.
The E-H1 is the same as the Aquos S3 mini but, funnily, with 4 GB of RAM, whereas the Asian version has 6 GB. Everything else is the same.
While these three high- to mid-range phones all feature Sharp-made free-form display (allowing cutouts, notches, and rounded corners), the other two models are nothing but rebranded InFocus models that FIH Mobile has already released for some Asian markets.
Price-wise, things look desperately inadequate. With a price-tag of 999 EUR for the flagship model, and 799 and 499 EUR respectively for the next two phones, I bet the European-market "invason" is going to be a total fiasco. The Chinese equivalent of E-H1 is seling for just 250 USD (or two-and-a-half times! cheaper). The equivalent of the E-P1 is selling for about 415 USD (again two-and-a-half times cheaper). Since there's no immediate Japanese/Chinese equivalent of the top E-F1 model yet, comparisons would be speculative, but the top model typically costs less than 90,000 Yen on Docomo (Aquos R), which equals 840 USD – but let's not forget that this is always reduced by approx. 50% at the end of the two-year subscription period. Thus, even the E-F1's 999 EUR price (1230 USD) is ridiculously big and one-and-a-half times higher than that in Japan. Sorry, Sharp, but as much as I admire your (Japanese) products, your market analysts and CEOs have no clue what they're doing.