Cyrcle Phone has cropped up yet again at this year’s CES 2020 event but this time the company believes it can finally launch its vision within about a year’s time. For the uninitiated, Cyrcle Phone is a project that dates back to 2015 and centers on a nontraditional design language for smartphones. Intended to be more “sensual” and inclusive, Cyrcle phone is exactly what its name suggests. It’s a circular smartphone.
The company hasn’t provided any specifics to sources about the phone’s internals. Instead, it is focusing attention on the outside. The slim, circular body of the phone is more reminiscent of an oversized smartwatch than a smartphone. Along the edges of that circle, the company is including two headphone jacks for media sharing.
Two SIM card slots are present as well, making this a device that can travel much more freely than some others on the market. Finally, Android 9 is currently used to power the experience but it isn’t immediately clear whether that’s stock or AOSP — or some other overlay.
Where are all the details and can a non-rectangular phone really work?
Now, the lack of internal details is hardly a surprise since Cyrcle Phone has undoubtedly undergone quite a few changes in the past 5 years. But it’s the software side of the equation that may be more interesting. Since 2015, there have been several advances in mobile technology that may make the circular shape feasible.
Not least among those changes is the move to Android 10. Previously known as Android Q, the new update is deliberately designed to work with non-traditional form factors. Although that currently focuses on multi-display devices, it may also be adaptable to work with a rounded interface.
In its present form, the company says it utilizes square apps. Those being scaled and cropped so that all of the required UI fits appropriately in the circular format. With Android 10, it may be much easier to make the entire UI work, even where elements wouldn’t usually fit that shape.
Advances in the Android-based Wear OS segment undoubtedly help too. That’s because the UI for apps in Wear is already designed for what is most often a circular interface. Swipe gestures, taps, and clicks are all part impartial of the operating system too, making the watches intuitively function similarly to a smartphone. So there’s plenty of inspiration and code there to pull from.
When is this Cyrcle Phone finally going to launch?
Cyrcle Phone is tentatively expected to launch within the next year. That should put its launch at right around the same time as CES 2021. But the phone could feasibly launch sooner than that because of the advances mentioned above.
The company is being tentative with any expectations on that front due primarily to the challenges associated with designing a circular phone. One example of that is the fact that the bottom and top of the phone — where the camera is — had to be redesigned. That’s because people had a hard time with a purer circular design in terms of figuring out where the top and bottom are.
There are no pricing details just yet either, most likely because there’s no final determination in terms of internal specs.