Companies have many new tricks and gimmicks to get consumers to shell out cash for the latest iteration of smartphone technology. Despite these new versions, one thing remains consistent: a rectangular design.
This new phone is set to break that trend.
Monohm Inc. is taking preorders on Indiegogo for the Runcible, the round smartphone/pocket watch revealed at Mobile World Congress in 2015.
The Runcible will start at $399, and Monohm plans to ship the devices this September. Monohm originally planned to take preorders about a year ago and ship by the end of 2015, but the company faced two humongous problems: the processor they chose to run the phone stopped manufacturing, and Mozilla killed FirefoxOS, their platform of choice.
To overcome this, the team chose to run with Android to keep their open-source goal for the phone. They took Android 5.1 and built an operating system called “BuniOS” on top of it, using Intel’s Crosswalk web runtime. The project is based on a web engine (Blink) that was born out of the Chromium project.
For hardware junkies dying to know Runcible’s specs, it comes with:
From the get-go, the creators of the phone were going for a different experience than consumers get with typical smartphones. In fact, they see the customer using the Runcible phone “less.” Notifications become “clean summaries of our digital lives,” maps suggest more scenic travel routes, and there will be less reliance on the enormous app ecosystems. In fact, Runcible won’t have access to the Google Play Store—the round screen won’t allow it.
The company is also still stressing modularity and sustainability. The $399 model will come with a back made of recycled ocean plastic, and for $499, users can get a wooden back cover. All the hardware on the device has been designed so that it can be repaired, or replaced for better parts.