Mobile minimalism trumps fancy smartphones
The Computex IT trade show in Taipei isn't really the place to see the latest smartphones – that's what Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is for. We did stumble across an intriguing mobile phone that captured our imagination though. The Xpal Spare One is a simple mobile phone that runs on just a single AA battery. It's designed as an emergency phone that you can buy for peanuts at a petrol station or convenience store when your fancy battery-sapping smartphone runs out of power. Just slot in your usual SIM or microSIM card and you can make or receive calls.
The Spare One doesn't have a screen, which not only cuts down on cost but is why it can run on nothing more than a simple AA battery. This does mean you can't send texts using the Spare One, but if you do receive a text, the phone can automatically send a reply stating that you're currently can't text and to call you instead. There's no address book either, but if you miss a call you can automatically redial the missed number. A future Spare One model will be able to redial the last ten missed numbers.
Other features include nine programmable speed dial buttons, a dedicated Emergency Services button and a torch. The phone will weight just 75g and come in two versions, one for the USA and another for the rest of the world.
Other simple mobile phones, such as those from Doro, are becoming slowly but steadily more complicated (and with impenetrable model names and numbers to match). It's therefore refreshing to see a small company take a refreshingly unique approach to a simple mobile phone that will appeal to smartphone and non-smartphone users alike. UK pricing and availability has yet to be confirmed, but we hope the Xpal Spare One will make it to our shores soon.
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