Technology

Sep 1, 2015

Landline phones go back to the future

Orange designers looked into the past for inspiration to design the french operator's new landline phone, and together with european crowdfunding site Ulule, made it available to the world, thus marking a new era of product research and development.

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Truly an everyday object, the landline telephone was one of the greatest influences of  the 20th century, and is installed in millions of households, leaving  a lasting impression for many. Inspired by the style of the 1930s, Orange's designers have created a new telephone that combines modern technology, functions and materials. Orange has unveiled its NeoRetro phone and offered the general public an original and innovative opportunity to get hold of one: the phone would only be manufactured if it captured the public's interest. Orange used Ulule, Europe's first crowdfunding platform to achieve this goal.

Orange's designers wanted to put the landline back in the spotlight and worked extensively on the telephone's design. In addition to working on the aesthetics of NeoRetro, they took a comprehensive approach to harmonise its retro look with carefully designed interfaces and high quality sound. The NeoRetro comes with an additional receiver that enables another person not only to listen to a call but also to contribute to it thanks to the built-in microphone. Using remote sensing, it automatically transforms into a speaker when it is put down. The characteristic 1930s rotary dial is back, but has been reworked to fit in with the habits of today: the numbers are dialled using tactile buttons.

NeoRetro is a universal telephone - it works in all the countries in the European Union as well as in the United States and in Canada - and simply connects to the traditional fixed phone line or an internet box.

Development through Ulule

For the first time, Orange chose to implement a participative approach to register the public's interest in NeoRetro before it manufactures and sells the phone on a larger scale.

The telephones will be delivered in the first half of 2016 - contributors will receive theirs first - and then sold through Orange's distribution network at a target price of €139 including tax. Over the course of the development and industrialisation phase, contributors will also be given regular exclusive updates on the project's progress and will be able to see the telephone at all stages of production.

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