Although it can't be denied that smartphones are ... well, that they're really smart, the fact is that not everyone wants to play games, shoot and watch videos, surf the web or use apps every time they step out their door. For many people, the ability to make and receive phone calls is all that really matters. It was for minimalists like these that Austrian electronics company emporia designed its very basic, large-keyed mobile phones. While they were previously not available to North American consumers, that changed with an announcement last week at CES.

There are two phones scheduled for release in the new market - the emporiaCLICK and the emporiaSOLIDplus.

The CLICK has a clamshell design, and incorporates features such as:

  • Digital camera
  • One-touch Call for Care emergency function - push to dial emergency services or up to five stored numbers until someone picks up
  • SMS and MMS texts
  • LED flashlight
  • Incoming call alert with LED light, high-powered vibration motors, and very high-volume ringtone capability
  • Bluetooth and hands-free function
  • Alarm clock and calculator
  • Hearing aid-compatible speakers
  • Three dedicated speed dial keys

A full charge of its battery should provide 240 minutes of talk time, or 320 hours on stand-by. It will sell for under US$100.

While some of the CLICK's features suggest that it's aimed at seniors, the SOLIDplus appears to be more of a "chuck it in your backpack/tool box and go" phone. It meets MIL-STD-810F military specifications, which means that it can withstand exposure to dust, shock, vibration, rain, humidity, altitude and extreme temperatures. Some of its other features include:

  • Extra-hard display glass
  • Call for Care function
  • Bluetooth and hands-free function
  • LED flashlight
  • Incoming call alert with LED light
  • Alarm clock and calculator
  • Extra-loud speakerphone
  • Splash-proof

It also offers 240 minutes of talk time, or up to 25 days on stand-by. It will be priced somewhere under $150.

Both of the emporia phones should be available in the U.S., Canada and Latin America, as of this spring.