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.
“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
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