My favorite piece of vaporware from 2015 has to be the Jupiter smokeable smartphone. I made fun of the device when it came out, while applauding the clever combination of two modern gadgets. This seemed like something absolutely no one needs but that most people would like to try out at least once. That is, if it really existed and wasn't just a viral marketing stunt.
Luckily for me there was a Jupiter here at CES. Not on the show floor, but in the hands of a few folks eager to prove me wrong. They brought it by our hotel room as the show floor was closing down for the year. Just when I was worried that I had become too jaded, that maybe this was the year when CES really would be a letdown without a exciting new gadget, someone handed me a smartphone, and I smoked it.
The Jupiter IO 3 is a 3G smartphone that costs $299 and runs Android KitKat 4.4. It claims to have 16 hours of battery life, thanks to two batteries, one to power the phone and one to power the vape. The battery life is shared, so if you don't vape much, you'll get longer battery life on the phone overall. The company says it plans to release a 4G model for $499 in the next few months. Additional specs, like the processor or camera, are still missing.
The phone has some tasteful branding on the back from Vaporcade, the company that makes the Jupiter, along with e-cigarettes, cigars, and coffee beans supposedly meant to pair well with the flavors of liquid smoke they sell. The phone looks like an ordinary unit, until you snap a little plastic cover off the top and attach the liquid cartridge. You attach a mouthpiece to that and then vape to your heart's content. There is a button on top that you can push to increase the heat and get a stronger pull.
Practical? No. Swaggy? For sure
The liquid cartridges cost $15 and come in flavors like mint, peach, and coffee. Vaporcade says each one provides about 800 puffs, or four packs of cigarettes. The Vaporcade app on the phone let's you track battery life, how much liquid you have left, what flavor you have loaded, and how many puffs you've taken over time. If you're trying to quit smoking or cut down on your vaping you can set a goal and it will alert you when you've reached that number of puffs.
Th company claims that the device is FCC approved as of November 2015. As to the health effects, the impact of vaping, when compared to traditional cigarettes or on its own, is still a very open question. It will take years for long term studies to determine the impact on our health and on the propensity of young people to potentially start smoking. For now, when it comes to health risks, you're in uncharted territory when you vape.
Would I give up my phone and use the Jupiter as my full time device? Absolutely not. Do I think this is a hilarious device which would be really fun to use in the club when you want a little extra bit of swag? Most definitely.