Retro tech: You can buy this 4G rotary phone soon
This distraction-free cellphone is the perfect thing for retro tech fans and is going to get some cool new feature updates over what we currently know.
Justine Haupt revealed a custom cellphone she made on Sky's Edge earlier this year. This cellphone had a rotary dial for calls and had done away with unwanted battery-guzzling distractions like a touchscreen.
“Because in a finicky, annoying, touchscreen world of hyperconnected people using phones they have no control over or understanding of, I wanted something that would be entirely mine, personal, and absolutely tactile, while also giving me an excuse for not texting,” Huapte explained.
While the device looked very old-school, it still generated enough interest for Haupte to decide that she wanted to build more to sell.
Haupte's original rotary cellphone was created with an open-source design. This allowed anyone to build one for their own if they wanted, they could pick the firmware, build notes and even get 3D models to print out the custom housing that could be downloaded from the website.
Haupt created a starter kit with 3D printed housing for $50 and a cellphone mainboard for $90. But there were other additional components that were needed to complete the build including the rotary dial that Haupt had salvaged from a Western Trimline telephone.
But, it worked and Haupt realised that a distraction-free cellphone that can just make calls, and it good at it, is appealing to a lot of the general crowd too, not just hardware hackers and tinkerers. And thus, she is now working on a “mark 2” version of the design that will also be available in a ready-to-use model for those who cannot assemble or solder.
Additionally, there is also going to be an upgrade from 3G to 4G so as you get the right networks working for you on the phone for a decade or so. The new design will also come with a larger electronic paper display, newly manufactured rotary dial parts (instead of salvaged hardware) and an SD card slot for the contact list to be added by uploading a text file with names and numbers.
Haupt is also teasing, “another VERY cool feature but won't announce it until I'm sure I can do it” for the new rotary cellphone. There are no pictures of that at the moment.
While you can order the older from from the Sky's Edge page, you can get project updates via email for the new model for which you will have to email Haupte at email@example.com with the header “Subscribe”. Haupte hoped to have the new phone ready by September.