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Kyocera KY-O1L: Mobile phone sized credit card

Kyocera argues that a cell phone can simply be just one phone and it brings the KY-01L smartphone to a credit card size, unlike Apple's ferocious new models.


With Apple and most Android device makers building ever larger phones, it's pretty clear where the market for smartphones is going, at least for the short term. But that doesn't mean that there aren't some companies moving against this trend, bringing in smaller and no bigger devices. Earlier this week, we heard that Palm had restarted its business with a very small phone that is definitely not meant to be your main mobile computing device. But Kyocera brings an even smaller smartphone, the KY-01L.

The fact is that the Japanese company has been producing unusual phone plans for years, as it had previously made a Nintendo DS dual-screen mobile phone. The latest experiment is the KY-O1L, a phone that will probably fit into one of the credit card slots in your wallet. Unfortunately, it's only released in Japan, but it's an interesting idea that's worth seeing even if you're not in Japan.

The KY-O1L has an ePaper 2,8 inch screen, the same technology that is available on some electronic readers. The phone has dimensions of just 91mm × 55mm × 5,3mm and weighs 47 grams. For comparison, the iPhone XS is 143,6mm × 70,9mm × 7,7mm and XS Max is 157,5mm × 77,4mm × 7,7mm respectively. The Japanese operator NTT Docomo, who will release KY-O1L, claims to be the thinnest smartphone in the world.

KY-O1L does not run iOS or Android and does not have an app store. It also doesn't have a camera. But it has built-in applications, including a web browser, a calculator and a calendar, so it's definitely a smartphone. It has an 380mAh battery, which sounds very small, but the ePaper screen should not use too much power, so we wouldn't be surprised if the battery life is good, regardless of its capacity.

The KY-O1L will be released in Japan by NTT Docomo at the end of November for ¥ 32,000 or around 248 euro at the current exchange rate.

In general, the design of the KY-O1L assumes that sometimes a phone does not need to be a computer device designed to be used in every aspect of your life. Sometimes, it can only be a phone with a few extras, as it was previously the norm in mobile phones.

See below a demonstration of the Kyocera phone.


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