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The Rotary Cellular Phone – the ultimate in retro low tech chic

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January 13, 2006

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August 14. 2006 We love this concept and we’re still trying to work out why. Maybe it’s because it will make people rubberneck at comedy sketch levels and maybe it’s because it sends up all those people who have their frightfully important cell phone conversations in public places. The Portable Rotary Cellular Phone is a fully functional, rotary dial, home telephone from the sixties except when you’ve put your sim card inside, it becomes a mobile phone. Each one begins life as one of those old sixties phones and replacing the internals is a time-consuming exercise, so as with any hand-built-to-order item, you’ll need to allow a few weeks of thinking music after you’ve sated the hand-built price tag – in this case US$399 for black or US$499 for red. The phone dials out like normal through the rotary interface and perhaps the best aspect of all is that incoming calls ring the original, loud, gong style metal bells (click here to listen to the ring), making it ideal to put on the bar next to you when you’re out on the town or wishing to make your presence felt in a public place. Of course it’s not all that portable, weighing in at around a kilogram and being roughly the size of a sixties home telephone, but that’s the point … it’ll work in any country with one of the 900MHz/1800MHz/1900MHz cellular bands (90% of the world) and we figure it’s worth its weight in started conversations.

The phone has 15-digit dialling, auto-frequency selection, '+' characters, and PIN # entry for pre-paid cards and the 2000mAh Lithium-Polymer battery can run the phone for 4-5 days though the charging procedure is far from convenient – you need to unscrew two screws on the bottom of the phone, open it, and attach the Li-Po battery charger (3-prong 110V and international 220V)charger. And the manufacturers acknowledge that the sound quality isn’t brilliant – this is a fully-functional social prop so don’t get your knickers twisted if it isn’t as good as your pocket phone.

For those who like to build things, there’s a kit for US$200 which will enable you to build your own and a comprehensive coverage of how to do it.

Via arstechnica

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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