Making a phone call in a crowded room can be a very frustrating experience. Pushing the speaker hard against your ear is only so effective, which is why Kyocera has come up with an entirely new way to take calls — by transmitting sound through your body’s own tissue.
The company is utilizing the technology — called the Smart Sonic Receiver — in its Urbano Progresso smartphone. It works by transmitting vibrations directly via the touchscreen, bypassing the ear canal through connective tissue to directly affect your inner ear.
The sound is thus unaffected by what’s happening around you, making it perfect for taking important calls in busy areas. It’s also helpful for the hearing impaired.
Aside from the Smart Sonic Receiver, the phone is your basic high-end Android smartphone, complete with Ice Cream Sandwich, 4-inch WVGA OLED display, dual-core Snapdragon MSM8655 1.4GHz processor and 8-megapixel camera.
The Verge actually took it out for a test listen and said the “phone sounds great” with sound “easy to hear in the noisy hotel ballroom.” While the display quality left something to be desired, The Verge’s Jeff Blagdon still gave it high marks:
Overall, the few minutes we had to play with the Urbano Progresso left us very impressed. In a sea of “me-too” devices, the Smart Sonic Receiver offers some genuinely useful innovation.
“Genuinely useful innovation” is definitely something we could use more of instead of “Hey, this phone has a bigger screen!” Too bad Kyocera is only releasing it in Japan.