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Japan’s new Balmuda Phone is adorably compact w/ HTC One X vibes, Pixel 4a 5G specs, Android 11

1 week ago 16


Earlier this year, a Japanese appliance company most known for a $299 toaster announced it was making an Android phone. The Balmuda Phone was announced today with modern-ish specs and an incredibly adorable design that curves into the palm of your hand.

This Balmuda Phone emulates the pebble-ness of the original Palm Pre, while the curving plastic is highly reminiscent of the polycarbonate HTC One X. The big difference though is how aggressively curved the device is. 

The BALMUDA Phone was designed for a shape that fits naturally in your hand. To achieve this, not only is the back curved, but the shape when viewed from the front is actually wrapped in a gentle curve. Even the display. In other words, the BALMUDA Phone is the only * smartphone whose proportions do not include any straight lines.

The 4.8-inch 1080p screen is paired with a 2,500mAh battery that charges over USB-C or wirelessly. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 765 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, like the Pixel 4a 5G. Other key hardware specs include a 48-megapixel rear camera and fingerprint sensor that are arranged opposite each other. There’s also an 8MP hole-punch front-facer, NFC, and IP44 water/dustproof rating. 

The other big sell of this Android 11 phone is custom software, though it’s clearly running Google Play services with Chrome, the Play Store, Search, Gmail, Drive, and YouTube Music on the default homescreen.

However, the launcher is entirely custom along with the calendar app, memo (notes — with pinch-to-zoom layout), calculator, and clock. The camera app is very minimalist with your last shot previewed at the left and a menu at the right. You can swipe on the capture button to access modes for food/cooking, people, night view, and movies.

A very different (and monochromatic) design language that adapts to themes is used. It’s not very digital with hints of textures and skeuomorphism throughout.

On the home screen of, you can call various functions by intuitive operations such as swiping and tapping. For example, you can swipe across the stripe across the home screen to call a loved one, or launch a map to see where you are.

Frequently used functions — Scheduler, clock, memo, and calculator can be accessed quickly by swiping the screen from the home screen as “Tools”. You can also access this “Tools” by tapping the top of the home screen, so you don’t need to open these apps.

Purchase reservations in Japan open November 17 with retail availability on Friday, November 26. The unlocked Balmuda Phone costs ¥104,800 ($918~). There are no signs of a broader, international launch.

This model is handled only by SoftBank Corp. as a domestic telecommunications carrier. At the same time, we will also sell SIM-free models (open market models).

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