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Soon you can buy a bizarre heart-shaped phone in Japan

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Would you buy a phone without a camera? How about one with a monochrome 0.9-inch, 128 x 36 display? Or one without SMS functionality, let alone email or a web browser? Perhaps not.

But what if it twisted into a heart? Now you're talking.

That's the sales pitch Ymobile is making with the Heart 401AB, a truly weird phone that will go on sale in Japan from March. It runs on the country's PHS network, which is often used with low-cost voice-only devices, but it's unusual for such phones to make an overt play for fashion.

Of course, the press release is rich in the language of gendered marketing, not only talking about how the device is targeting those concerned with style but going so far as to say that the heart form factor is easy to carry and designed to fit perfectly into a woman's hand. That's a pretty odd claim for a 23mm-thick phone with an awkward shape, but then I have never owned a Heart 401AB, nor a pair of woman's hands.

As for how you actually use the phone, there's a smartphone app to help you transfer your address book over, and touch sensors apparently allow for "stylish" operation on the device's body itself. The phone twists from a heart into a peanut-shaped "straight" mode for when you're making a call.

Also, there's a Sailor Moon edition.

heartphone sailor moon

And the charger looks like this.

heart phone charger
The Heart 401AB is the ultimate example of form over function, but it'll be meant to complement a smartphone rather than replace it. Some carriers in Japan, Ymobile included, have been offering data-only plans on phones like Google's Nexus range for a while now, and often provide a traditional Japanese flip keitai to handle voice calls. That might sound inconvenient, but hey — these are the sacrifices you have to make if you want a heart-shaped phone.

heartphone