By Sam Nussey
TOKYO: Japanese high-end toaster maker Balmuda Inc unveiled a stripped-down smartphone on Tuesday, aiming to establish itself in a market dominated by Apple’s iPhone.
CEO General Terao told the launch event that the 5G-enabled Android device is expected to contribute 3 billion yen ($ 26 million) to Balmuda sales during the year. current exercise.
The “Balmuda Phone” costs 104,800 yen ($ 920) and has a small 4.9-inch screen and a curved back.
It’s built by industrial ceramics company Kyocera Corp and offered by wireless operator SoftBank Corp, which first imported the iPhone to Japan.
“The iPhone has become too much of the norm,” said Terao, who had dropped out of high school and was a member of a rock band before founding Balmuda.
The device has a custom-designed home screen with Balmuda’s version of basic apps like calendar and clock and fits in the hand, Terao said.
Balmuda, which was listed last December, has carved out a niche for itself selling higher-priced minimalist appliances such as “The Toaster,” priced at $ 225, and a $ 520 coffee maker. named “The Brew”.
Its smartphone will face stiff competition from Apple, which recorded iPhone sales in Japan of $ 28.5 billion in the year through September. The 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini is almost 20% cheaper in Japan than the “Balmuda Phone”.