Back in the early noughties, Sharp was competing in the European market pretty successfully with a series of highly-regarded phones that offered features that were often far ahead of the competition.
February 2004 saw the announcement of the Sharp GX30 – the first phone in Europe to have a megapixel-class camera, complete with an LED flash. In addition to this, the GX30 had a best-in-class 2.2” 240 x 320 pixel display using a CGS (Continuous Grain Silicon) LCD display which give an exceptionally clear and – and forgive the intentional pun – sharp image.
The rest of the phone was pretty good too – the GX30 had expandable memory via a full-sized SD card, an MP3 player, Bluetooth and all of this was wrapped up in a very pretty silver clamshell design (although peculiarly it still had an external antenna).
In most European markets, Sharp handsets were exclusive to Vodafone who had access to all sorts of interesting Japanese devices through their ownership of one of the major Japanese mobile networks. Although some handsets did make it to other carriers – notably the Sharp TM200 – you were pretty much limited to Vodafone if you wanted one.
Perhaps it was this carrier exclusive agreement that stopped Sharp from having the breakthrough they needed, and despite some very good devices they faded out from the European market within a few years.
Perhaps not an obvious phone to collect, but the GX30 is pretty commonly available from about £5 to £40 depending on condition.
Image credits: Vodafone and Sharp