Is the Gordon Gekko look coming back?
It may have been acceptable in the '80s, but can a clunky mobile phone almost 13 inches long make a comeback on the streets of 2013? Well, Binatone certainly hope so, giving "The Brick" its debut at the 2013 IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) Trade Fair this weekend.
The consumer electronics company, better known for its baby monitors, GPS and tablet devices, launched the retro-looking phone as an antithesis to the swathes of similar-looking smartphones currently on the market.
"In a world where mobile phones are getting smaller and smaller, we have set out to create a completely unique product which is bigger, bulkier and aimed at those who want to wear their phone as a style statement," Dino Lalvani, Binatone's CEO, said in a press release.
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The device is set to be available in the U.K. and France initially, and then the rest of Europe later. There are currently no plans to release the device in the U.S. but the product its being pitched to retailers, the company said. The price is expected set to be £50 ($78) for the standard model and the company hopes to ship around 90,000 units in the initial sales period.
Binatone, which was founded in 1958, said its change of direction was a tribute to the early days of the mobile phone, when the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x was king.
In 1984, consumers lined up in droves to buy the first-ever cellular phone as soon as it hit the market. Designed by Rudy Krolopp and overseen by Martin Cooper, the DynaTAC 8000X weighed 2 pounds, offered just half an hour of talk per charge and sold for $3,995.
The phone became an icon of the 1980s, and has been regularly featured in films and TV shows set in the period—most notably as Gordon Gekko's device of choice in the film Wall Street.
Unlike the DynaTAC, Binatone's phone has a "giant battery" that will last up to a month on standby and up to three months in the more expensive model. The company said it can have a SIM card inserted meaning it can be used as a standalone mobile phone or as a Bluetooth handset linked to a smartphone.
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"Recognizing the recent surge in popularity of fashion trends from the 1980s, and evoking memories of power dressing and Wall Street, Binatone has captured the era with a phone that has the styling of early cellular devices coupled with the functionality required for today's technology consumer," Binatone said in a press release.
At least one trader was impressed by the device. Joe Rundle from ETX Capital described the phone as "great" but said he would buy one only if the price was reasonable.
Mobile analysts, however, were less convinced by the launch. Ian Fogg, head of mobile analysis at IHS Electronics and Media, told CNBC that 90,000 is "as near to zero as you get" in the mobile handset market.
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"If it's a commercial product, then it's a very jokey commercial product. … It's a gimmick," Fogg said, adding that if users were looking to the product for its impressive battery there are better, smaller and more durable products on the market.
His comments were echoed by Enders analyst Benedict Evans. It "seems like a joke," he said.
—By CNBC.com's Matt Clinch. Follow him on Twitter @mattclinch81