Yves Behar Phone Puts Form Over Function

Industrial designer Yves Behar has created the +YvesBehar phone for the user who has everything and needs nothing, especially not a smartphone.

The most impressive specification of this unabashed Veblen product is its price, close to $10,000. If that’s not sufficiently high to prove its value, buyers can opt for a gold version that approaches $60,000.

Behar created the interface himself and called on top watch component manufacturers in Switzerland and France to create the parts for the eye-catching device. The numeric keypad actually looks like a watch band.

Despite its eye-catching looks and heart-stopping price tag, the phone’s functionality mirrors sub-$20 handsets marketed in developing nations: a numeric keypad, a 2-inch non-touch display, the ability to make calls and send text messages.

There’s a method to Behar’s madness.

“The problem with a touch screen is that unless you’re looking at it, you’re completely lost,” he said in an interview. “So we lose a layer of intuitive function with touch screens. With a phone, I want to have something in my hand where I can explore its tactility.”

Besides its design and materials pedigree, the phone does boast ringtones performed by Dutch jazz bass player Chris Minh Doky.

Behar’s phone joins other luxury efforts in the handset market, ranging from a $62,700 custom iPhone 4 made of meteor stone and a Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur’s tooth to sports car maker Ferrari’s branded efforts with Acer and Vertu. But only Behar’s phone is as unrelenting in its aim to reduce the phone to its bare essentials while highlighting the design and function of the device.

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