Maker of expensive Japanese toaster enters the smartphone business

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Balmuda, a Japanese design company known for its stylish devices, has announced plans to make a smartphone. There aren’t many details about the device itself yet, but it will be a 5G handset expected to be released in November. SoftBank will sell it as a carrier model, while Balmuda will also offer an unlocked version.

In his announcement, Balmuda notes that as the smartphone company becomes more and more commoditized, the company wants to provide an experience that only it can. Actual production is outside of Balmuda’s wheelhouse though, so it’s teaming up with Kyocera on the phone.

Balmuda has a fairly limited line of products for the home, including air purifiers, humidifiers, lamps, speakers, rice cookers, and so on. The best-known product is a toaster called ‘Balmuda The Toaster’, which retails for 25,850 yen (about $ 235, although the available in the US for $ 329 through the MoMa Design Store) and uses steam to heat your shokupanis perfectly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Bloomberg reported five years ago that it had become a cult hit in Japan with a three-month wait to buy one.

I have the toaster, and while I’m not sure if I would necessarily recommend someone spend $ 235 or $ 329 on a toaster, it’s a pretty good toaster. The neat design hits everything from the little mug you use to pour water in for the steam to the cute noises it makes when you turn the timer, it makes me a little curious about what Balmuda could bring to a phone . We’ll let you know when we find out.