A company called Monohm is working on what might be the first circular smartphone for aloof hippies.
Beyond just looking different, Monohm’s Runcible is made for people who are turned off by the hyper-connectedness of typical smartphones, man. The company refers to its device as an “anti-smartphone,” which is “designed to refocus users’ attention on real people and the real world.”
The details are a bit scarce, though it sounds like Runcible will work best when precision is not a priority. For instance, a built-in mapping application tries to offer the “most interesting route” to a location, rather than the fastest one. Engadget also reports that you can navigate with a compass-like app, pointing you in a general direction instead of giving specific instructions. Also, Runcible promises never to beep or otherwise pester you with notifications.
Runcible is based on Firefox OS, so you can use web apps for basic connectivity, but don’t expect a full-blown app store or a traditional smartphone interface. Monohm plans to organize the watch around “faces,” though it’s still unclear exactly how this will work.
Monohm isn’t talking tech specs either, but says the device will be priced like a high-end, unlocked smartphone when it launches in late 2015. Users will be able to swap out the innards as new hardware becomes available, in hopes that it’ll feel like a long-lasting heirloom. If you’re chill enough for this to sound interesting, you can sign-up for pre-order notifications on Monohm’s website.
Why this matters: This is clearly not the type of product that will transform the industry and compel the Apples and Samsungs of the world to start making round smartphones. Still, Monohm’s desire to make a less distracting device is understandable. If you’ve never upgraded from a dumbphone for fear of getting sucked in—and your schedule is decidedly low-key—maybe this is the phone for you.