Ikimobile reveals corker of a smartphone
The Portuguese technology firm, Ikimobile, has released an Android phone with a case made completely from cork, a substance easily and readily found.
The Ikimobile phone is the first of its kind to be made from a material other than the typical metal, glass and plastic. It represents a leap in terms of Portugal’s hardware development – a country usually known for its software innovations.
A “Made in Portugal” version of the device is set to be released this year before Ikimobile’s plans go through to transfer the majority of its production to China.
Speaking at at the company’s plant in the cork-growing area of Coruche, 80 km outside of Lisbon, CEO Tito Cardoso said: “Ikimobile wants to put Portugal on the path to the future and technologies by emphasising this Portuguese product.”
Portugal is the world’s largest cork producer, and the cork smartphone is the most recent step towards expanding uses for the material beyond simple wine bottle stoppers.
The layer of cork covering provides the smartphone with thermal, acoustic and anti-shock insulation. The cover also comes in a range of colours and is known to prevent bacteria build-up and battery radiation.
There are plans underway to innovate the phone further by replacing more phone base components with natural materials in the near future.
The plant currently produces 1.2 million units per year – a tiny amount compared to the estimated 1.4 billion produced worldwide last year.
Asia is the world’s largest cell phone producer, and the “Made in Portugal” brand sold 400 000 phones assembled in China last year. The brand hopes to take advantage of the availability of cork, and to exceed that number with local production this year.