Just as quickly as smartphone manufacturers pushed to make smartphones as small as possible, we’ve seen them roll out phones with increasingly larger screens. Even iPhone, a company that once radicalized the notion of making sure phones fit neatly in the palm of the hand, is releasing a phone with a 6.5-inch screen this year.
Kyocera isn’t interested in this trend, and when it began designing its latest smartphone it believed that “smaller is better”.
The result of that mentality is the KY-O1L, a smartphone with a 2.8 inch display. Weighing at only 47 grams, or roughly the weight of 10 sheets of paper, it’s an unusual piece of work in today’s technology environment.
And it’s oddities don’t end at its small size, either. The KY-O1L has an electronic paper display that is most commonly seen on e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle. The KY-O1L isn’t an e-reader, though. Sure, it might not have a built-in 10-megapixel camera, and it might not have an Android OS, but it does run dozens of apps, can browse Reddit, and even add appointments to a calendar.
Oh, and it can make phone calls.
It’s definitely a smartphone even if its feature set most closely resembles a Motorola Razr flip phone. It’s kind of pricey, too. At launch this November it’ll cost ¥32,000, or around $280. Double that budget and you could be using a Google Pixel 2, a phone that can actually play YouTube videos and guide you to a destination safely with Google Maps.
But the Kyocera KY-O1L is clearly aiming for a niche segment of the market that just wants a phone, and one that doesn’t make it look like you’re carrying a huge package in your pocket.