“A smart pocket watch for the post-smartphone era.” The tagline for the Monohm Runcible, finally on IndieGoGo after being teased back in 2015, reads in a refined and succinct manner, mirroring the intent of the device itself. Billed as an “anti-smartphone”, the Runcible runs a custom OS, called BuniOS, based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. The devicef’s specs are likewise somewhat dated, featuring a rounded 640 x 640 display at 2.5 inches, with its contents fed to it by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 SOC backed by 1GB of RAM. The device boasts only 8GB of onboard storage and a 7-megapixel camera. The connectivity is fairly cutting edge, featuring Bluetooth 4.1 and compatibility with the latest Wi-Fi standards. On paper, it sounds like a low-end device that will produce a forgettable Android experience. The unique thing about it, though, is the software itself. The Runcible contains a multitude of tweaks to stock Android, which replaced Firefox OS from the original prototype, that help keep users focused on the real world and allow them to connect only when they want to.
For those who don’t always need to be connected, carrying a smartphone around all the time can do more harm than good. Rather than shutting it off and cutting themselves off from the world entirely, such people may find the Runcible to their liking. The Runcible does not give any notifications that emanate into the outside world, such as sound or vibration, and does not have a speaker. To use the Runcible as a phone would actually require a Bluetooth headset, which speaks quite nicely to its design philosophy. Users don’t have to sacrifice connectivity to their online world, but are no longer at its mercy in the same way one may be with a vibrating smartphone or wearable. While this functionality could be mostly mimicked by setting a smartphone to silent or by using notification priority controls, the other point of the Runcible is refined style, imitating a pocket watch and meant to be used as such.
The Runcible is currently on IndieGoGo with a minimum pledge of $399 required to snag a unit. $499 will get you a special unit made with organic materials, and $5,000 will get you a one of a kind unit hand-delivered by CEO Aubrey Anderson and his cohort, Jason, who will then take the backer out to dinner. Many of the pledges shown on the page are for $314, $414 or $514. These strange amounts were apparently linked to a special deal for early backers.