As Apple brings smartphones to bold new places, another company is trying to take us back to a simpler, calmer, and much cheaper time. FutureModel plans to release a surprisingly accurately named device called the NichePhone-S later this month that runs Android but doesn’t seem to do much more than make calls, send texts, and stream music. It’s similar in shape to a credit card and looks like an odd little calculator.
Engadget Japan called our attention to the device and has some hands on photos with it. According to the report, the phone will come out in Japan on November 10th and sell for around $95.
The phone is supposedly running Android 4.2, though I don’t know how you’d be able to tell. Its screen looks like a digital clock; it’s not clear that there’s any sort of detailed interface here. Apparently, though, you’ll be able to record voice memos, play back music, and connect to Bluetooth headsets. I will be seriously disappointed if there isn’t also a calculator function.
The whole thing looks reminiscent of the Light Phone, another super-minimalist device announced earlier this year. That phone can only make phone calls and doesn’t offer anything else — no texting, no Bluetooth, no apps. Just the ability to store some phone numbers. These devices certainly aren’t going to find a mass market audience, but the fact that they keep getting made suggests they’re at least tapping into some lingering desire for us all to log off Twitter and run into the woods.
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