The Balmuda Phone: A Smartphone That Actually Fits In Your Pocket

Japanese designer Gen Terao started his company, Balmuda Technologies, to make objects he desires, which often feature little twists. Earlier we covered their toaster, which one pours water into in order to make perfect toast, and their no-glare desk lamp modeled on surgery theater lighting. Now Terao’s back with a new one: A smartphone that actually fits in a pocket.

Reasoning that not everyone wants to carry a piece of glass the size of an appetizer dish, the Terao designed the Balmuda Phone, which is 15mm shorter than an iPhone SE, yet has a larger screen (4.9″ vs. 4.7″). The back of the phone is curved, to better fit in one’s palm. The phone runs Android 11 and supports wireless charging. It goes on sale this month in Japan for ¥104,800 (USD $914).

Terao says working out the seemingly-simple shape took over 80 mockups, and even so, admits it isn’t a perfect design. “This is the best design we can do right now,” he writes. “Every time I do design work, I think it’s more like exploration than creation. In other words, it’s like a treasure hunt. We designers who wander in search of treasure that should be somewhere will be lost forever.”