The Android-powered ADzero is made from durable bamboo and is set to launch in the UK later this year
A British student at Middlesex University is preparing to launch a smartphone encased in bamboo. Originally, the ADzero was intended for the Chinese market, but is set to be released in the UK and Europe later this year after it received an enthusiastic response on the Internet.
Student designer Kieron Scott-Woodhouse said he created the ADzero because so many existing models looked too similar to each other. The phone is made from four-year old, organically-grown, sustainable bamboo that has been treated to improve its durability and apparently weighs just “half as much as the iPhone”.
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The casing is not a veneer but a complete shell made from a block of bamboo and, despite the lightness, it is surprisingly strong and perfect for this kind of use, Scott-Woodhouse said.
The 23 year old is still a full-time product design student and was contacted by a technology entrepreneur after he posted his design on the Internet.
Disclosed details of the phone are fairly superficial as no detailed specifications have been revealed, but we do know that the ADzero runs Google’s Android mobile operating system and that the device has a ‘ring flash’ around the camera, which makes the illumination in pictures more even and virtually eliminates the “red-eye” effect.
The current prototype is already in the process of being replaced by an updated design running ADAOS (AD Android operating system), a customised version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. This allows the latest design to be buttonless so the casing can be manufactured more easily.
No details about expected pricing have been revealed but AD says that the hardware is “high spec” and the use of the term “boutique market” implies that it will be at the higher end of the pricing spectrum.
This is not the first smartphone to be made of slightly unusual materials. Earlier this month, Motorola released a limited edition version of its Defy+ handset which is reinforced with a visco-elastic protection sleeve from JCB.
Nor is it the first bamboo covered hardware. Two years ago, Asus launched the U33/U53 Bamboo notebook series and a year before that Dell tried a similar ploy. The problem with natural materials is the possibility of warping. There were reports that the earlier Asus notebook had a tendency to peel away at the edges and it showed fingerprints.
Although bamboo is related to the grass family of plants, it has the properties of a very hard wood and is resistive to permanent staining. These advantages are inherited by the ADzero smartphone because it is made from a solid block of bamboo rather than a veneer.