This phone has no physical buttons or ports, and it’s coming to Indiegogo
Spoiler alert: Meizu’s phone without holes does appear to actually have holes
Judging from online reaction, many people still aren’t convinced that phones should be made without headphone jacks. But Chinese phone makers are charging ahead anyway, coming up with what they’re calling “hole-less” handsets: Phones that don’t just lack a headphone jack, they also have no SIM card slot, volume button, or charging port.
One of the latest comes from Meizu, a brand unfamiliar to anyone in the US because it doesn’t sell phones there. It has no carrier partners and doesn’t have an online store in the US.
(Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba -- an investor in Meizu.)
But Americans can buy this phone -- through Indiegogo. Meizu Zero is launching on the platform on Wednesday, January 30.
For a China-focused brand that’s never sold phones in the US, it might seem odd that it’s launching there before its home market. But it actually makes a lot of sense when you consider one of the things that Meizu had to ditch to create a “phone without holes.”
You see, the Meizu Zero supports eSIM, an embedded SIM card that can switch between networks, instead of needing to insert a physical SIM card provided by your carrier.
Apple uses them in the iPhone XS, but eSIMs aren’t widely used yet. And while eSIM support is rare in the US, in China it’s practically non-existent. (Even Apple produced a separate batch of the iPhone XS Max in China with two physical SIM card slots instead of an eSIM.)
What else had to go to create this phone? The home button, of course, and the headphone jack. Volume buttons are now virtual, just like the home button. There’s no speaker grille -- sound is produced by the vibration of the screen. And without a charging port, you have to use a wireless charger.
But this “phone without holes” does, in fact, have holes: There are a few small ones dotted around which could be microphones.
Funnily enough, while this is the first phone Meizu has launched in the US, it’s not the first product it’s launched there. It’s not even the first Meizu product on Indiegogo. That honor belongs to Gravity, a US$199 WiFi and Bluetooth speaker that raised over US$102,000 in 2016.