Cyrcle: Round smartphone designed to fit in women's pockets unveiled

The Cyrcle phone is designed to be more elegant and ladylike than its rectangular competitors

An American startup has unveiled a circular smartphone aimed at women, designed to be more "natural and sensual" than traditional models.

The Cyrcle phone has been developed by Dtoor, a company founded by former Microsoft employees Christina Cyr and Linda Inagawa.

Dtoor stands for 'Designing the Opposite of Rectangle', a name which represents the aim of the Cyrcle - a more 'elegant' device which is meant to fit better in women's smaller pockets than rectangular smartphones.

The Cyrcle is very much in the development stages, but the basic idea is there - the phone flips open like a compact mirror, and has a small circular screen is embedded in the bottom half.

An early prototype of the phone was showed off at Mobile World Congress (MWC) at the end of February, 3D printed in orange plastic with a rough mock-up of the screen installed.

Cyr and Inagawa plan to make a first 2G model of the device available through crowdfunding website Kickstarter this summer, at a cost of $100 (£70) each. They then intend to improve the design and release a more advanced 4G version the year after, with two screens.

The Cyrcle is certainly one of the most unique phones unveiled at MWC, but it's received some criticism for its unusual marketing.

In a now-removed product description on its website, Dtoor says it is striving to make a phone in a more "natural and senual form."

It emphasises the importance of women being able to communicate "discreetly," and points out how "unattractive" the process of using rectangular phone can be.

"For texting and messaging, there is nothing less striking than a bank of moms at a volleyball practice pecking like chickens into their mobile phones," it says.

The founders of the company have rebuffed the criticism, however - writing on Twitter, Cyr said she "sincerely did not mean to offend" with the phone's pitch, saying: "I simply wanted a phone to fit in my pockets which are smaller than my husband's."

If the Cyrcle makes it to the market, it'll be one of the only non-rectangular phones out there - California-based company unveiled their Runcible smartphone at MWC last year, a circular device based on the design of a pocketwatch. However, pre-orders have still not opened.

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