Upmarket toaster maker Balmuda launches smartphone in iPhone-dominated Japan

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TOKYO, Nov 16 (Businesshala) – High-end Japanese toaster maker Balmuda Inc. (6612.T) on Tuesday unveiled a stripped-back smartphone, aiming to toe its toe into a market dominated by Apple’s (AAPL.O) iPhone. Have to catch

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Chief executive General Terao said at the launch event that the 5G enabled Android device is expected to contribute 3 billion yen ($26 million) to Balmuda’s sales in the current fiscal year.

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The “Balmuda phone” costs 104,800 yen ($920) and has a smaller 4.9-inch screen and curved back.

It is made by industrial ceramics firm Kyocera Corp (6971.T) and offered by wireless carrier SoftBank Corp (9434.T), which was the first to bring the iPhone to Japan.

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“The iPhone has become pretty much the standard,” said Terao, who was a high school dropout and was in a rock band before founding Balmuda.

Terao said the device has a custom designed home screen that houses versions of basic apps like Balmuda’s calendar and clock and fits in the hand.

Balmuda, listed last December, has carved a niche for selling minimal home appliances at premium prices like “The Toaster” priced at $225 and a $520 coffee machine called “The Brew.”

Its smartphone will face stiff competition from Apple, which racked up $28.5 billion in iPhone sales in Japan from September through September. The 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini is about 20% cheaper than the “Balmuda phone” in Japan.

($1 = 114.1900 yen)

Reporting by Sam Nusi; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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