After the advent of smartphones, Japanese consumers were a bit slow to adopt the new technology, and part of the reason was that at the time Japan was already making the most advanced, feature-packed flip phones on the planet, with convenient mobile Internet, camera/video, and messaging functions built in. So even after smartphones captured the majority of the Japanese market, a sizable part of the population put off upgrading until they had to, earning flip phones the nickname gara kei, a shortened version of the Japanese phrase Garapagos keitai denwa, meaning “Galapagos mobile phone” and referring to the Galapagos syndrome of technology that’s evolved in a unique way to fit an individual isolated market.
Nowadays, though, gara kei have all but vanished from Japan as well. But for those feeling flip phone nostalgia for an era that comparatively wasn’t all that long ago, Tokyo telecommunications company P-Up World is releasing a new smartphone that’s also a flip phone.
Called the Mode 1 Retro II, the phone sports a hybrid design. The top half operates like a regular smartphone, with a touchscreen. The bottom half of the phone, though, includes a number pad for dialing and text entry, plus dedicated physical buttons for starting/ending calls as well as other programmable functions.
The 4G SIM-free phone runs on the Android 13 OS, with a 48-megapixel main camera and 13-megapixel secondary one. Despite the throwback design, it supports Bluetooth wireless audio devices, can be used for internet tethering, and has a thumbprint identification sensor on its side, so it can’t simply be used by anyone who flips it open.
There are a few other classic gara kei touches, though, like a spot to attach a strap…
…and an external time display that you can check without flipping the phone open to see the main screen.
The flip/smartphone comes in two different colors, Sheep White…
…and Wolf Black.
The Mode 1 Retro II goes on sale October 20, giving anyone who got misty-eyed watching last year’s flip phone graduation ceremony something to smile about.
Source, images: PR Times
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