Rotary Un-Smartphone brings back the bad old days of phones

Anyone who was alive in the 80s will remember rotary dial phones. These phones required you to stick your finger in a little hole, pull the dial around to a stop and then let it go producing lots of clicks and slowly dialing phone numbers. Anyone who wants to bring back the days of the rotary phone using modern technology should check out the Rotary Un-Smartphone.

The Rotary Un-Smartphone is an open-source hardware rotary phone controlled by Arduino with a multi-mode 4G/3G/2G module inside. While it looks like the dial portion of an old-school home phone, it utilizes modern cellular technology, ePaper, and OLED displays. It also has integrated quick dialing buttons, and the rotary dial can be used to dial a full phone number or access the contacts list.

Hardware features include an Arduino board based on the AtMega2560 MCU, microSD card slot for contactless storage, a front OLED display, and a rear ePaper display. The hardware providing cellular connectivity is a u-Blox TOBY-L2 module. The odd device can receive SMS messages but can’t send them.

It features an internal antenna with expansion space for a user-supplied external antenna along with a SIM card slot. An integrated microphone and speaker handles audio, and it has a 3.5mm headphone port. The mechanical ringer bell is made of polished brass and is externally visible.

Charging is handled via a USB-C port, but a version with a USB Micro-B port is available. Considering the novelty status of the phone, it’s quite pricey. Preorders are underway now in North America. The kit, including all the hardware, is priced at $390, with shipping scheduled for the spring. The kit includes a user manual, build instructions, and required firmware.