If you were one of those people that watched the iPhone4 v. HTC Evo Xtranormal videos made by Brian Maupin and caught yourself thinking that today’s mobile phones are just downright overcomplicated, you’re definitely going to like Lëkki. The brand new Paris-based startup launched in September is looking to bring back the good old simple portable phones of the 1990s – but in an environmentally friendly and stylish way.
Forget Facebook, Foursquare, email and all those other time-consuming applications out there. If you don’t want to spend your life on your phone (which also happens to be a clock-camera-calculator-garage door opener-microwave-in-one), Lëkki’s “Back to Basics” approach offers telephones that make calls and send texts – and do absolutely nothing more.
The company mixes simple communication with sustainable development by retouching used phones with a hint of crazy color. Users can buy their phones in neon green, yellow, magenta and black – or even mix and match several colors with the “Make Your Own” option on the site.
The first 1990s phone to be sold via Lekki is the famous Motorola StarTAC 130 from 1998 (photo), which is priced at €139 for a single color or €159 for up to 4 colors. But €139 may seem like quite a bit to pay for a telephone that, quite frankly, doesn’t really do a heck of a lot. Maxime Chanson, the company’s Cofounder, says the price may seem high but is explained by several aspects. First, this particular Motorola is apparently rather sought after, which naturally raises its value. In addition, the company does repair and retouch all the phones it receives, making it slightly more than a simple second-hand reseller. And finally, even though Lekki’s activity is alreay rather eco-friendly, the company also donates €6 per telephone sold to Action Carbone, in order to fight global warming and keep carbon neutral.
Lekki plans to ad a new vintage model to its collection every 2 months. The next telephone, a Nokia, will be available in the same colors starting December 15th and a Sony Ericsson will most likely follow in January. All the phones are compatible with current sim cards (except for Bouygues Telecom and its MVNO network) and some 80% of the company’s orders are currently coming from outside of France.
So for anyone who is a retro geek thats stuck in the age of the Gameboy or simply trying to combat an Angry Birds addiction, a sexy Motorola StarTAC in bright green could just do the trick.