Business Card Sized NTT Card Keitai E-Ink Phone Weights just 47 Grams

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There’s been a trend for faster phones with larger screens in the past few years, and 5″ smartphones that used to be referred as phablets have now made place to phones with 5.5″ to 6″ display just called smartphones. But some people don’t make use of advanced features of smartphones, value their privacy, or just want something small, light, and easy to use for phone calls and SMS.

NTT Docomo Card Keitai KY-01L phone looks like a 5.3 mm thick business card weights justt 47 grams, features a 2.8″ E-Ink  and allows you to call, send & receive messages, manage your calendar, and browse the web.

NTT Card Keitai
Images Source: Roland Quant – Click to Enlarge

Despite the basic functions, the phone is said to run Android on a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor.  You won’t be able to install apps from the Play Store though, it’s meant to be simple to use, functional and lightweight, so it’s not possible to easily download and install new apps.

The user manual further confirms its basic functionality, as the only external interface is the micro USB port for charging and copy files from a PC, and we’ll also find the usual power and volume button but not much else. There’s no audio jack, and while the terminal supports WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, you won’t be able to connect an headset to listen to music since “the terminal is not capable of movie or audio playback”.

Business card phone

NTT Card Keitai KY-01L specifications listed in the user manual and other online resources:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 (MSM8909W) quad-core Cortex-A7 processor @  1.1GHz with Adreno 304 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB RAM
  • Storage
    • 8GB internal memory
    • Received calls history – Up to 500
    • Displayable dialed calls history – Up to 500
  • Display – 2.8″ E-paper display with 600 x 480 resolution
  • Wireless Connectivity
    • 2.4GHz 802. 11b/g/n WiFi
    • Bluetooth 4.2
    • 4G LTE, 3G cellular connectivity
  • Supported languages – Japanese and English
  • Battery
    • 380 mAh / 4.35V Lithium polymer battery
    • Life
      • Continuous stand-by time
        • LTE Stationary (Auto) – about 100 hours
        • 3G Stationary (Auto) –  about 100 hours
      • Continuous call time
        • LTE (VoLTE) – about 110 minutes
        • 3G – about 160 minutes
    • Charging time – About 110 minutes
  • Dimensions – 91 x 55 x 5.3mm (5.5mm max)
  • Weight – 47 grams

NTT Docomo is showcasing the product at CES 2019, and Card Keitai KL-01 can be purchased directly from the company in Japan for 32,000 JPY ($294 US), but I could also find it online for $475 on Kyoto Exports website, as well as on Ebay for an equally outrageous price.

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So its a black white display feature phone then ?

I thought there are colour e ink displays now


“colour” is really a stretch. You get a whole second colour. It might help for somewhere you need to highlight something on screen like a messages indicator but it’s not going to be a big difference really.


3-colour e-ink displays have duller white, and much slower partial and full refresh times.


I for one am happy that someone FINALLY uses an e-ink screen on a mobile device. That could reduce battery power consumption a lot. Ok, no video, so what for a phone? Too much of the same already, more creativity needed.


Yota did since ages.


ERM done before me thinks?

Light phone 2


Overkill for its features. Such specs also kill battery life.


I suspect you’ll have a hard time finding anything with lower specs and the right radio interfaces to use on any Japanese network.


FYI from Docomo directly it’s only ~$100USD. It’s 432 yen a month for 24 months or 10368 yen. It’s possible it’s even cheaper if you go to the docomo shop and just say want to pay upfront.


In EU we need something like that cheaper than 50€ with possibility to use app like Google Auth to use as 2 factor authorization for internet-banks.


Neat little phone from Kyocera Japan – probably not the best fit in US…

(Kyocera Japan is the OEM here – and they’re good…)

Wish the prices were a bit lower than Kyoto Express quotes…

One challenge would be how fast the UI/UX is with the dialer and text input – most e-ink displays are slow on the refresh rates…

That being said – epaper/e-ink is going to be power efficient…