You'd be forgiven for having never heard of Lumigon — after all, the company's only ever produced one phone, and the T1 never actually made it to the market. But the Danish company is back at it again with the T2, an Android 4.0 smartphone that reps promised is actually going to be on sale this summer. We got a chance to play with the phone at Mobile World Congress, and came away impressed with the new device. It has a 3.8-inch display (reps wouldn't tell us the resolution, though the screen looked decent), a 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor, and an 8-megapixel camera. But the company said over and over that specs aren't where it's trying to compete — design is Lumigon's forte.
It shows. The T2 is a gorgeous stainless-steel phone, a mix of squared edges (so the phone can be stood up on its side) and a rounded top and bottom (so it feels good held up to your ear). It's a little heavy, but not so much that it's really a problem, and it feels great in the hand. There's a Mini USB port on the bottom, a dedicated camera button on the right side, and an infrared port on top.
That infrared port opens up the coolest feature of the T2, a feature that seems blindingly obvious for any smartphone — it can work as a universal remote. The genesis of the idea that became the T2 was to create this kind of universal remote, and it's a fantastic solution; we used a pre-production model, so some features didn't work, but the ideas are exactly right). It's truly a universal remote, too: just hold up any other remote to the T2's IR port and press a button, then tell your phone what button you just pressed. It registers what happened and then can communicate the same action to your TV, stereo, or whatever else. You can use on-screen menus to control your devices, or use gestures — move the phone up to increase volume, twist right to change tracks, and the like. There's also an "activity button" above the display that can be programmed to turn on all your devices when you press it, or launch a particular app or device with a long press. Setup sounds like a bear, but the functionality and app are excellent.
Thanks to a partnership between Lumigon and Bang & Olufson, the T2 can also control B&O devices, which is rare for a universal remote. The B&O partnership also extends to hardware, a chip inside the phone that should improve sound quality for external headphones or speakers.
The T2 is a great-looking phone with some great features, which is why it's kind of a shame that most of us will never have a chance to buy it: it'll be out this summer for about €500, but only in the Nordic region in Europe, and then slowly spreading to other markets. The US is apparently among the last countries on Lumigon's list.