Genuine designer chic makes phone comeback

One of the best things about the evolution of mobile phones is not the increasing number of tasks they can perform - after all, there are only so many ways to say 'I'm on the train' - but the increasing number of good-looking handsets.

One of the best we've ever seen was a multi-award-winning Japanese handset known as the Infobar, which came out there in 2003 and which has sat alone atop the pinnacle of elegant design until now. To the delight of fans everywhere, KDDI has just announced that it will sell the Sanyo-made Infobar 2 on its au network from the end of November this year.

Smooth all over

The new model looks every bit as elegant as its predecessor, with the same seamless arrangement of key tiles uninterrupted by strips of separating plastic. Both front and back are curved, making the Infobar 2 a guaranteed tactile experience that can't be conveyed by photos alone.

In adding slightly to the weight (104g, compared to 87g first time round), however, plenty more gadgetry has been included. The display is a 2.6-inch WQVGA OLED screen with 240 x 400 pixels, making it just about big enough for watching TV using the onboard 1-seg digital tuner.

Available in four colours, the only real letdowns in the Infobar are the absence of Bluetooth and that the camera is just under 2 megapixels. The inclusion of GPS-based real-time navigation with voice guidance and an RFID chip that functions as e-cash and plenty more tips the balance back in favour of this gorgeous little number. Sadly, the chances of it becoming available outside Japan are pretty close to absolute zero.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.