Balmuda, a Japanese design company known for its stylish devices, has announced plans to make a smartphone. There aren’t many details about the device itself yet, but it will be a 5G handset, which is expected to be released in November. SoftBank will sell it as a carrier model, while Balmuda will also offer an unlocked version.
In his announcement, Balmuda states that as the smartphone business becomes a commodity, the company wants to deliver an experience that only it can. However, the actual production takes place outside the Balmuda wheelhouse, so there is a telephone partnership with Kyocera.
Balmuda has a fairly limited line of household products including air purifiers, humidifiers, lights, speakers, rice cookers, and so on. The best-known product is a toaster called “Balmuda The Toaster,” which sells for 25,850 yen (about $ 235) Available in the US for $ 329 from the MoMa Design Store) and uses steam to make your Shokupanis perfectly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Bloomberg reported five years ago that it had become a cult hit in Japan, with a three-month wait to buy one.
I have the toaster, and while I’m not sure if I would recommend anyone spend $ 235 or $ 329 on a toaster, it’s a pretty good toaster. The neat design touches everything from the tiny little mug you use to pour water for the steam to the cute noises that make when you turn the timer knob. Make me curious about what Balmuda might bring to a phone. We’ll let you know when we find out.