Sustainability notwithstanding, the disposable mobile phone is certainly a practical solution for emergencies, travel, children and disaster relief. Insofar as these are the applications of any disposable phone, they're listed as "Use Cases" on SpareOne's website; the true innovation behind the device lies in its shelf life of 15 years, courtesy of a single AA battery.
Of course, the most salient innovation of the SpareOne lies in NextOfKin Creatives' unconventional design, which features the mundane portable power source in lieu of a screen. Rodney Loh of the Singapore design firm explains: "When PSL and XPAL approached Thomas [Tellier] and myself at NextOfKin Creatives to strategize this spare phone idea, we knew immediately that it has to be simple and 'life-proof.' The archetype of a screen was logically used to showcase and glorify this simple but iconic long-lasting AA battery."
According to the website, SpareOne is "the only cell phone in the world powered by a standard AA battery." The lifetime of the charge, if the device goes unused, is effectively the shelf life of the battery (the 15 hour figure comes from the Energizer Ultimate Lithium L91, which yields up to 10 hours of talk time).
As for technical specs, the SpareOne "comes in two different GSM radio frequencies to be used in most of the countries around the world," depending on regional frequency standards. As such, the phone accepts SIM cards for personal data (namely the phone number), though it is also equipped to make emergency calls sans card.
Astute readers might remember the purely speculative chainsaw that NextOfKin Creatives came up with last year. Rest assured the SpareOne is a far more realistic concept in theory and in practice: the device debuted at CES and will be exhibited at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of the month.