A startup called Monohm Inc. in the US have turned the tables on the design of how smartphones look. They have invented a smartphone that is circular in shape and smaller than a bar shaped phones that we carry. It is cylindrical actually and it’s weirdly beautiful. The company has plans to ship the device this September and is finally taking pre-orders for the same. It was first featured in the Mobile World Congress in 2015.
The circular phone has been named ‘The Runcible’. It will be priced at $399. It was a plan of Monohm Inc. to ship the devices last year only but it couldn’t be possible because of the obstacles they faced! It was a small company back then run by only three people. They had built an entire software for the phone on Firefox OS which required process that would be compatible to the OS. But just after some time, the processor manufacturer hung up their boots leaving Monohm to die. It was a disaster for the three people led small company. But after some time of that, Firefox pulled out on the OS too! The phone had to be built from scratch again.
“I think we hit probably every possible obstacle that you can hit,” Monohm co-founder and CEO Aubrey Anderson told ‘The Verge’. “Indie hardware is really damn hard, but I think we’ve had it pretty rough even in that context. “The conditions were so thin that another co-founder and the company’s chief product officer George Arriola quit in order to found a stable job to support his family. Now he’s an investor and is still on the company’s board.
Even after all the hardships, Anderson and company’s chief technical officer Jason Proctor didn’t give up and started from scratch again! “We came out of a long, possibly whiskey-fuelled session with the idea that we should just do it anyway, that we should find a way to pursue this project in spite of having no operating system and no chip,” Anderson says. They were totally dependent on self-funding doing all the heavy hard work by themselves and hiring people to do jobs for them was very limited.
After a while, they decided to rebuild the Runcible’s OS with Android. “I was initially a bit nervous to bet on Android because it’s such a moving target, but way down low it actually isn’t,” says Anderson. “It’s pretty stable. They built an OS from the Android 5.1 version and called it ‘BuniOS’ using Intel’s Crosswalk web runtime. They made it!
The Runcible is not only meant to look different, but people are supposed to interact with it in a whole new way. The company’s press materials have even called it ‘Anti-Smartphone’. It has a camera that is controlled by gestures, maps for navigation and some other essential features. Aderson said that the phone will not have any access at all to the Google play store. The phone sports a Snapdragon 410 quad core processor, Adreno 360 GPU, 1 GB RAM, 8GB of storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, and a 7-megapixel camera. The screen is about 2.5 inches having a resolution of 640 x 640, good for about 256ppi.
The pre-order window closes on June 30th.