Meet Janus One: Both a thin standalone phone and a Bluetooth handset for smartphones

Leave the big smartphone in your pocket with this Bluetooth handset that can be a phone its own and even charge your handset in a pinch.

Is your smartphone getting to big for your head? Actually, let me rephrase that. As handsets get bigger, are they becoming uncomfortable to hold next to your ear during a voice call?

I once used a 7-inch tablet with a data-only SIM card for voice over IP calls during a six-month stretch, which is probably a very extreme case. Not by much though: There a several smartphones available with 6-inch screens.

That's why the Janus One is an interesting concept to me. It's a small "dumb" phone that works on its own for calls and text or can be used as a comfortable Bluetooth handset when paired with a smartphone.


Measuring 5.5 millimeters thin, Janus One is slightly bigger than a credit card. It can store 500 contact numbers, has a microSIM card slot and a small display for showing phone numbers or text messages. Aside from the numeric keypad, there's not much more to the device, save for an internal pedometer for step tracking, so it's well-suited for incoming or outgoing phone calls.

Since it's not a smartphone, the 1500 mAh battery can last for 90 days on a charge in standby mode or can be used for 12 hours of talk time. And if you need to charge your smartphone, it doubles as a USB power-bank, capable of recharging a dead iPhone 6, for example up to 64 percent capacity.


Janus One also acts as a Bluetooth handset when wirelessly tethered to a smartphone; there's no need to hold up a big, clunky handset for your calls this way.

There is a bit of a downside, however, if you want to use the Janus One as a primary voice device.

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It has its own SIM card, which means you'll have two phone numbers: One for the small handset and one for your smartphone.

That's not terrible if you forward calls from your smartphone to Janus One, but can be confusing to your contacts if you use the small handset to place calls.

Would a Bluetooth headset suffice as an alternative? Sure it would but a headset can't recharge your smartphone.

Keep in mind also that Janus One launched earlier this week on Kickstarter; you're backing a project more than a product. If the Janus One doesn't meet its $50,000 funding goal, it may not launch. Even if it does, project delays can be a nuisance with Kickstarter; the plan is to deliver the first batch of products in September.

If Janus One sounds like an interesting accessory for your big smartphone, you can back the project for as little as $69. An additional $10 will also get you a SIM card which the company says will work with T-Mobile service and includes 30 minutes of talk time good for 90 days.