Mar. 2 - A London-based university student is set to launch the world's first smartphone made out of wood aimed at the high-end fashionable set. Hayley Platt reports.
Kieron-Scott Woodhouse is a final year Product & Design student at the Middlesex University in London. He's just turned 24 and is already running his own company. This is his debut design - the world's first smartphone made from wood. SOUNDBITE: Kieron-Scott Woodhouse, head of design, AD Electronics, saying (English): "I think a lot of people want something different. I think the way the market is it's changing people appreciate more bespoke and products that tell more of a story, they are not just a custom product that everybody has." This is just prototypes but the finished smartphone, called ADzero, will run on Google's Android technology and use a new interface called Adaos - which has been especially engineered. The phone is being made in China from locally sourced bamboo. Kieron-Scott says it's durable and weighs half as much as an iPhone. SOUNDBITE: Kieron-Scott Woodhouse, head of design, AD Electronics, saying (English): "We're trying to find a new market so we're not going to be in your mainstream, we're looking to be in boutiques where we may be the only phone there." Kieron-Scott used social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to get his ideas noticed. It caught the attention of Chinese technology entrepreneur Jerry Lao. He's now invested $20,000 in ADzero. Speaking on Skype from his Shanghai base he says he's also formed a company to market it. SOUNDBITE: Jerry Lao, technology entrepreneur, saying (English): "We're talking to one of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world and right now we just need the funding to be complete before we start rolling forward with the actual production." Smartphones now dominate the mobile phone world. Apple and Samsung are the biggest players. But the ADzero has something Jerry Lao says others don't - 'ring-flash' technology. The flash is around the camera's lens rather than next to it - minimising any shadows. SOUNDBITE: Jerry Lao, technology entrepreneur, saying (English): "Now everything looks kind of homogenous. So what we want to do is stand out, be very very very bold and if you have a bamboo phone in the middle of a meeting you know everyone will know where that brand is coming from." The phone is due to be launched in the UK at the end of the year. Kieron-Scott hopes it will appeal to the fashion conscious and those keen on saving the environment. There aren't many phones which are made from a natural product with a totally recyclable casing. Hayley Platt, Reuters.