Balmuda CEO Gen Terao holds the company’s new smartphone at a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, November 16, 2021. REUTERS / Sam Nussey

TOKYO, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Japanese high-end toaster maker Balmuda Inc (6612.T) presented a slimmed-down smartphone on Tuesday with the aim of gaining a foothold in an Apple-dominated market (AAPL.O) iPhones.

Chief Executive Gen Terao said at the launch event that the 5G-enabled Android device is expected to add 3 billion yen ($ 26 million) to Balmuda’s revenue for the current fiscal year.

The Balmuda Phone costs 104,800 yen (US $ 920) and has a small 4.9-inch screen and a curved back.

It is made by the industrial ceramics company Kyocera Corp. built (6971.T) and offered by the wireless service provider SoftBank Corp (9434.T)who first brought the iPhone to Japan.

“The iPhone has become too standard,” said Terao, who was a high school dropout prior to founding Balmuda and was in a rock band.

The device has a specially crafted home screen with Balmuda’s version of basic apps like calendar and clock and sits in the hand, Terao said.

Balmuda, the listed last December, has carved out a niche for itself selling premium-priced minimalist home appliances like The Toaster for $ 225 and a $ 520 coffeemaker called The Brew.

Its smartphone will face stiff competition from Apple, which had iPhone sales of $ 28.5 billion in Japan through September. The 5.4 inch iPhone 13 mini is almost 20% cheaper in Japan than the “Balmuda Phone”.

($ 1 = 114.1900 yen)

Reporting by Sam Nussey; Adaptation by Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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