The rising tide of smallphones and dumbphones

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Over the past few weeks, you’ll have seen quite a few smartphones that went against the cultural norm of innovation and progress. The Punkt MP02 stripped the phone of its addictive camera, screen, and internet connectivity, forcing people to communicate using voice, rather than send each other notifications and messages on apps. The Palm Phone shrunk your feature phone to a size that seemed handy, going against the wave of massive phablet-sized phones with 97% of the front just dominated by pixels.

Kyocera’s KY-O1L is a bit of both (although the name could be a little catchier). A recipient of the Japanese Good Design Award, and also touted as the world’s thinnest phone, the KY-O1L is literally the size of a credit card, and just a couple of millimeters thinner. Designed for the white-collar workers who still rely on business cards, the KY-O1L fits right into cardholders, allowing you to have a phone along with your cards that you can A. carry around with you, and B. Use to instantly make calls, save contacts, and access the web for work-related reasons.

The phone comes with a monochrome e-ink touchscreen, and a 380mAh battery that’s more than enough to power the phone. Built with LTE, the phone can be used to browse the internet too, and although there isn’t an app store (or Android compatibility), the phone does come with a web browser that’s more than sufficient to access information on the web. Running a browser in black and white can be a slightly unnerving experience at first, but it’s definitely rewarding in the sense that it allows you to be purely utilitarian with your phone. A perfect phone for the kind of person who believes in hustling, keeping technology in check while being able to communicate with the world, and most importantly, safeguarding their privacy with technology that doesn’t use apps or cameras to spy incessantly on them. It doesn’t sound that bad when you say it that way, does it?

Designer: Kyocera

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In a world filled with plus-sized phones, Palm’s new phone is perfectly petite!

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At 3.3 inches, Palm’s latest smartphone has the smallest display in practically a decade (even the first ever iPhone had a 3.5 inch screen), but it does so with reason. The tiny, incredibly handy phone wants to be the phone you carry for convenience. It’s small and practically fits in your palm, and comes with a custom version of Android Oreo that mimics the tiled appearance of the Apple Watch menu screen.

Designed for people who love having phones that they can navigate through with one hand,the Palm comes with a 3.3-inch 1280×720 display with a respectable 445ppi. On the inside sits a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 SoC, 3GB of RAM, and an unusually small 800mAh battery. You’ve got a 12MP rear camera with a flash, and an 8MP front-facing camera that’s capable of using facial recognition to unlock your phone (given that a 3.3 inch phone is a little on the smaller side for a fingerprint sensor). You’ve also got IP68 dust and water resistance, Bluetooth, GPS, LTE, and believe it or not, USB-C.

The new phone marks the rebirth of the brand that dominated the WebOS age, giving people the feel of a palmtop computer a decade ago. After fizzling out, post being acquired by HP, Palm was sold to TCL in 2014. Launched on the 15th of October with a complete rebranding (and endorsement by Stephen Curry), the new and improved Palm is poised to be the “ultraphone that’s designed to serve as a smaller, simplified companion to a larger smartphone.”

Designer: Palm

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The world’s next breakthrough product may just come from Microsoft

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Keeping secrets in the tech biz is growing increasingly difficult. With new products being leaked (even sold!) days or months before releases, oftentimes an avid consumer knows pretty much all there is to know about a product well before their launch. Something of a similar nature happened with Microsoft’s keynote last week… except they never launched the product.

Project Andromeda, as it’s codenamed, is one of Microsoft’s best-kept secrets, and is all set to revolutionize our smart-devices as well as put Microsoft back in the limelight as an innovator. Rumor has it that the device was supposed to launch at this year’s keynote, but wasn’t completely ready for a public reveal. A little digging around at the patent office, however, brought to attention some diagrams that gives us a rough idea of what exactly this Project Andromeda is about. The product, as per the patent diagram and the renders created to support it, explores a one-of-a-kind dual display device that folds down to a pocket-worthy size, and when opened, creates a large squarish screen.

Designed to cater to the people who want big screens as well as the people who want small phones, Project Andromeda is quite literally the best of both worlds. Rather than killing bezels to make phone displays marginally bigger, the Project Andromeda finds a workaround by adding two screens on a clamshell device that fold inwards at the hinge, so you don’t get a bezel at the edge where the two screens meet. How Microsoft intends on pulling this off (even from a marketing standpoint), and whether a square shaped device is something a consumer would want is quite frankly still unknown, but let’s see what the future holds for us! Can I say that I’m just happy that this thing doesn’t have a notch?

Designer: Microsoft

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