Transformers Phone Crowdfunding Campaign Raises 10x Its Goal in 2 Days
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Takara Tomy and Japan's au mobile phone company are collaborating on a project to create cell phones that can change into Transformers figures. The project launched on February 1, and as of the posting of this article, its Makuake crowdfunding campaign has already surpassed its 1,000,000-yen (about US$8,868) goal. The campaign has raised 10,513,800 yen (US$93,236) from 1,171 supporters, and it still has 55 days left.
Rather than functioning cell phones, the "au x Transformers" transforming units are actually Bluetooth devices that can pair with users' iOS and Android smartphones. The phones cannot make regular calls or connect to the Internet. LED lights on the phones light up when they receive signals from the paired smartphones.
The devices will be available in three varieties: Infobar Optimus Prime (Nishikigoi), Infobar Megatron (Building), and Infobar Bumblebee (Ichimatsu). Each device comes with its own stand, and the Transformers characters can hold tiny cell phones in their hands in robot mode.
The devices recreate au's original Infobar mobile phones that debuted in 2003. People who purchase the devices can change the standby screens by switching between one of four included display cards.
People who contribute 5,400 yen (US$48) to the campaign will receive one Infobar Optimus Prime (Nishikigoi). Those who pledge 16,200 yen (US$144) will receive a set of all three Transformers-inspired phones. The Transformers Bluetooth devices are slated to ship at the end of September.
Fans may soon be able to use their official limited-edition Transformers Bluetooth devices in less than official transforming cars. Turkish company LETVISION's LETRONS project unveiled a prototype last year for its line of full-size transforming cars. Although LETRONS is planning to make the cars drivable, like the Transformers phones, they currently lack most of the functionality of the machines they mimic.
Source: Anime! Anime! (Katsunori Takahashi)