High-end toaster company announces that it is entering the 5G Android smartphone business6
Hey, if you can build a high-end toaster, you should have no problem making and selling an Android handset, right? According to toaster company Balmuda (via Nikkei Asia), the high-end toaster manufacturer, whose toasters stand out in Japan thanks to unique designs and features, is turning to the smartphone market. The company, which does not own any production facilities, expects its manufacturing partner Kyocera to start churning out handsets by this coming November.
Balmuda will design the phone. The 5G capable handset will be exclusively offered by SoftBank and there will be models available with and without a SIM card.
Balmuda CEO Gen Terao said Thursday, "Smartphones today seem all the same, and consumers have few options. This offers an opportunity for us. We seek to become No. 1 in terms of uniqueness, rather than market share." For its first year producing handsets, Balmuda hopes to deliver $24.6 million in smartphone sales.
Terao says, "This is the biggest market that we can take on." The CEO did not mention the price range of the new phone line, but he did say that the new handsets will "not merely be a stylish appliance." He promised to create proprietary apps and offer "great everyday-use handsets."
Balmuda is known in Japan for its fans that deliver "natural-feel breezes" and its $300 toasters that use steam technology to toast bread. But can the firm go from producing a toaster to designing a smartphone that will sell? Consider that its first quarter operating profit quintupled on an annual basis to 454 million yen ($4.15 million USD) on a sales gain of 93% to 3.7 billion yen ($33.8 million USD) during the first quarter.
This would seem to be a propitious time for Balmuda to branch out into smartphones.