Old Phone or new?

Written by Geoff Richards

June 21, 2005 | 06:29

Tags: #cellphone #gsm #mobile-phone #phone #portable #ringtone #rotary #sim

Companies: #sony-ericsson

Easily the most-used ringtone on Sony Ericsson phones for the past 2 years is the "Old Phone" - making your brand new mobile phone sound just like an ancient, rotary dial phone with a bell ringer. Well now you can take the lunacy one step further, thanks to the Spark Fun Electronics Portable Rotary Phone.

Believe it or not, this is a fully functioning GSM phone - just drop your SIM card in, and you can use the original rotary dialer to make calls, and incoming calls will ring the original metal bells. Naturally, you forgo the Caller ID display and Address Book functions of a regular handset, but you'll struggle to find more retro appeal than this.

There is a project log for the phone, though don't expect to build one yourself at home: according to the Spark Fun website, "the custom PCB is expensive and difficult to assemble. The phone ringer circuit must also be assembled by hand."

If you want to see this stroke of genius in action, blogger Phillip Torrone has a couple of videos and several photos on his site, Makezine.com. I'm sure the novelty wears off pretty quickly with use, especially with a limited 6-hour battery life, and at US$400 it sure ain't cheap. But that is true of so many toys, but that doesn't stop us wanting them any less, does it?

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