A Japanese toaster company makes the most unique Android phone of the year

Enlarge / The Balmuda Cellphone. It is designed to be held.


It isn’t each day you see a smartphone launch that actually appears to be like like one thing new and totally different, however say howdy to the “Balmuda Phone.” It is a distinctive, compact little Android cellphone, completely out of left area, from a luxurious Japanese toaster maker. You possibly can’t make these things up.

Often, these “random firm made a smartphone” tales are all the identical and contain calling up a turnkey smartphone producer and getting a generic cellphone made. These turnkey smartphone operations have introduced us great merchandise, just like the KFC phone or the Pepsi P1, however that is not what Balmuda is doing right here. The corporate made a cellphone as a result of it has a brand new concept for a cellphone, with a deal with a compact, rounded-over design somewhat than the massive slab rectangles that dominate smartphone design. It is a cellphone designed round human arms and never the rectangle-shaped parts that make up a cellphone.

To cite the web site (via Google Translate) the corporate says: “The Balmuda Cellphone was designed for a form that matches naturally in your hand. To realize this, not solely is the again curved, however the form when considered from the entrance is definitely wrapped in a mild curve—even the show. In different phrases, the Balmuda Cellphone is the one smartphone whose proportions don’t embrace any straight strains.”

The Balmuda Phone is small and has no straight lines.
Enlarge / The Balmuda Cellphone is small and has no straight strains.


Being designed to be held means the Balmuda Cellphone is among the uncommon compact smartphones on the market. It has a 4.9-inch, 1920×1080 show, and a 69 mm physique width. Tiny telephones do not have a ton of room for a battery, and the spec sheet’s 2500 mAh battery is not making us optimistic. The cellphone can also be fairly thick, at 13.7 mm, nevertheless it ought to nonetheless slide simply right into a pocket, because the entire again of the cellphone is curved, with it coming to nearly some extent on the high and backside.

The cellphone seems like a love letter to small-phone fans, who’re very vocal on-line. They have not proven up when firms cater to their calls for for a smaller cellphone, although. The iPhone “Mini” line is regularly the worst-selling iPhone mannequin, and several rumors have claimed the mannequin will die with the launch of the iPhone 14. Customers are shopping for huge telephones, and units with below 6-inch shows solely account for 10 p.c of the market, in keeping with Counterpoint Research.

The back. That's a fingerprint reader/power button in the top-left corner.
Enlarge / The again. That is a fingerprint reader/energy button within the top-left nook.


It appears to be like just like the cellphone’s main speaker is on the again, proper subsequent to the digital camera and LED flash. To the left of the digital camera is one other spherical object, a combo energy button/fingerprint reader, which is almost the scale of the digital camera lens. It is onerous to make out within the photos, however in these rear images there’s additionally a quantity rocker simply to the best of the digital camera.

Every little thing on this cellphone appears to be like like a customized elements job, together with the show, which has very rounded corners and a gap punch digital camera on the best facet of the show. Being totally different is pricey, and the Balmuda Cellphone runs ¥104,800, or about $915. For that value you are getting a mid-range Snapdragon 765 SoC, an unspecified quantity of RAM and storage, and a 2500 mAh battery. We additionally do not know if the 4.9-inch, 1080p show is an LCD or OLED. There is a USB-C port on the underside. The cellphone supposedly helps wi-fi charging, and with IPx4 water resistance, ought to stand as much as splashes of water.

A good view of the USB port and volume rocker.
Enlarge / An excellent view of the USB port and quantity rocker.


The cellphone comes with Android 11 and Google Play and has an attention-grabbing home-screen interface. The primary home-screen panel is the same old assortment of icons and widgets, and swiping horizontally will carry up built-in apps, just like the calendar, clock, and cellphone.

Balmuda’s foremost product is named “Balmuda The Toaster“—a $300 toaster oven constructed across the concept of throwing some steam into the toasting course of. You pour a small cup of water into the highest of the unit, and the steamy air supposedly cooks the surface of the toast sooner. Balmuda says this locks within the pure moisture of the bread, resulting in enhanced aroma and taste in your toast. After increasing the product line to incorporate an electrical kettle and an LED lantern, an Android cellphone was, uh, an apparent enlargement to the product line? The Balmuda Cellphone might be by no means, ever making its approach out of Japan, however the US is the one different nation the place Balmuda sells its merchandise.

The cellphone goes on sale in Japan on November 17.

Before we go, of course, you want to know what a $300 Japanese toaster looks like. It looks like this. You pour water in the top!
Enlarge / Earlier than we go, after all, you wish to know what a $300 Japanese toaster appears to be like like. It appears to be like like this. You pour water within the high!


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