America's reigning industrial-design star Yves Béhar has unveiled a sleek new cell phone, which does something unheard of in the electronics industry today: It's designed to last.
As Béhar tells next month's issue of Fast Company magazine: "Instead of more, we proposed better and longer lasting. It became a way to answer questions like, 'Why do I need a new phone each year? And why does it have to be complicated?'"
The phone, AE+Y, is a return to simplicity. Created for the Danish design company Aesir, it has neither a camera phone nor Internet access -- which is to say, it's basically the opposite of your typical mobile gadget. Rather than being designed to do many things with cutting-edge tech, it does simple one thing, with the expectation that it will always last. (Besides, doesn't your secretary surf the internets and send the emails for you?)
What it lacks in features, it makes up for in quality, from the gold and steel metalwork by luxury-watch craftspeople to custom ringtones by the Danish-Vietnamese musician Chris Minh Doky. The flourishes include real metal screws rather than glue, a ceramic body (like you might find a Rado watch), individually articulated buttons, and a screen made not of plastic or glass, but rather crystal sapphire, polished and coated much like a camera lens.
All of which goes a long way toward saying that this thing is so well made, it could probably outlive you. At 6,000 Euros (or about $8,500 by today's rates), it had better!
For an in-depth look at what makes AE+Y great, read the full magazine story here.