A Danish company has created a cellphone that it believes will last virtually forever.
While in theory the Æ+Y handset could save money as you’ll never need to upgrade, that’s not the case in reality. That’s because it costs €6,000 or roughly US$8,000.
And if you’re wondering whether such a handset would become obsolete as new operating systems, applications and tools are invented, that’s not an issue either. This is by no means a smartphone: it makes and receives voice calls and texts, and that’s about it.
Designer Yves Behar says the engineering philosophy is the same as with a high quality wristwatch:
Watches are so complex because of the conditions they’re placed in. A watch will be banged around all day long, thrown into a suitcase, and good watches are incredibly durable. If you think about how long your phone lasts and how long your watch lasts, even an average watch lasts for quite a long time and that changes people’s relationship with their watches as a result…. the idea is for [the phone] to be an upgradeable, long-term product that you keep, much as you might keep a watch, rather than something you plan on throwing away and replacing regularly.
So what’s the secret to its one USP, namely its virtual indestructibility? Simply, it’s the materials. Part of the casing is made of scratch-resistant ceramic. The keys and rear plate are made of the same class of stainless steel used in airplanes and medical use, meaning corrosion and rust shouldn’t be an issue. The display is covered with the same sapphire crystal used in luxury watches.
The construction of the handset also plays a role. Keys are screwed into place rather than glued. The etched symbols on the keys are filled with a clear compound, meaning they can’t get filled with dirt. And the whole thing is put together in a way that means it can be taken apart for maintenance and then reassembled without causing any damage.
For those with even more cash to splash, there’s a gold version. The steel from the basic model is replaced not with gold plating, but solid gold, meaning scratches just polish out. That’s yours for a mere €42,000 (US$56,000).
The one good point about the pricing is that the phone comes without a locked SIM — let’s be honest, signing up to a two-year network deal to save a couple of hundred bucks probably wouldn’t make much sense here.
While I admire the sheer geekiness of going to such extremes in one particular aspect of manufacturing, I’m afraid for me, when you pay eight thousand bucks, you should at least be able to install Angry Birds.