Kuma Phone teddy bear from Willcom

Late summer seems to be the perfect time for fun and innovative concept phones, but this was a bit unexpected.

At the 2008 Good Design Expo PHS mobile provider Willcom showed off their concept Kuma Phone (Bear Phone), a stuffed bear that holds a SIM card and can actually be used for making and receiving phone calls by holding it up to your ears.

willcom bear kuma phone

To demonstrate, visitors could use Willcom’s new Nico.Marble candy-themed phone, also aimed at women wanting more cuteness and ease than strong functionality.

The bear seems a bit silly and, yes, “Japanese” by cuteness standards, but the idea is fun and was adored by the expo crowd. You can save up to four speed dial numbers in the bear, one in each paw, which are activated by pinching internal sensors. It vibrates and makes custom noises for incoming calls, which can be answered and finished by pressing the tail.

In a pamphlet, the Kuma Phone was priced at about $500, which seems a bit steep, so we’ll see what happens if/when this little bear makes it to market.

To get the full report on the Good Design Expo and others as they occur in Japan, check out our custom subscriber-based Trendpool.


About the Author

Michael is founder and director of the Mandalah Tokyo trends and innovation consultancy.