Turing's new HubblePhone is a $2,700 clamshell with two screens

Phone named after a space telescope has a truly strange design.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Video: Smartphone sales bounce back in Q1 2018: Gartner.

With the top-selling $1,000 iPhone X, expensive phones must be in, right? Turing, a once Finland-based tech company seems to think so.

It's gone all in with this trend, announcing the outlandishly expensive HubblePhone, which will cost $2,749 if it arrives on its scheduled 2020 delivery date.

Turing, or as it calls itself today, Turing Space Industries, is headquartered in Hong Kong, and apparently still hasn't given up on the idea that consumers will pay a truckload of cash for futuristic technology, despite the problems it has faced in the past.

The HubblePhone, named after NASA's space telescope, has a truly strange design, and claims it can bring back the clamshell form factor that allows for dual-screen touch displays.

It's got a scroll wheel on the side, and programmable button, and a hinge on one side where the second display can be swiveled opened and held in positions at various angles, including a kind of laptop mode.

Turing says the 'upper deck' uses Android P and a FreeBSD based OS called Turing Keplerian OS, while the 'main deck' uses Keplerian, Android P, and Sailfish for the console mode.

It also claims to pack a 60-megapixel main camera, and four other 12-megapixel cameras in other locations. There'll also be 2,800mAh battery and a 3,300mAh battery.

Turing CEO Steve Chao told ZDNet that his company has already received thousands of requests to buy the HubblePhone.

"Some are even willing to pay twice the said amount just to get it early," he said.

"Turing isn't looking to sell millions of HubblePhones in the first year. In fact, we're aiming for 200,000. I don't think it would be a hard target. I do expect the demand to dwarf supply."

But there's a lot of questions consumers should ask themselves before committing to this futuristic device.

The last update in February, via The Verge, was that Turing had stopped manufacturing after delivery delays, had its property in Finland seized and owed creditors nearly two million euros.

The originally Californian company, founded by former Nokia employees in 2015, relocated to a former Nokia stronghold, Salo, in Finland to build its phones.

The company said it was motivated by Finland's strong privacy laws to make the move and its historical connection to Nokia. It was one of the few phone manufacturers that decided to use the Finnish-developed Sailfish OS instead of Android, arguing it was more secure than Android.

Phones released by Turing included the first Turing phone, a $1,099 Appassionato phone, Dark Wyvern, Pharaoh, Dark Wyvern Glaedr, and Knight Icefyre, which Turing says are all sold out.

Now, using a different website, hubblephone.com, Turing is promising a phone that's actually four devices in one: "A revolutionary multi-screen smartphone, a 5G communication device, a professional grade camera with advanced image and HD video editing software, and a mobile gaming console -- in a never-seen-before versatile handheld device." Or you could call it a dual-screen smartphone.

Clearly the company hasn't given up its marketing style, but it's giving itself plenty of time to deliver the device, targeting a 2020 worldwide release, starting in the US in June of that year, followed by Europe in August, and China in 2020, and the rest of the world by December.

Chao sent out an email on Tuesday announcing the Hubble phone, admitting past problems and pleading with remaining fans to believe its claims.

"If you think any of the information I'm about to tell you is too good to be true, unrealistic, unbelievable or full of fantasy, I encourage you to think scientifically or open a dialog with us. I assure you that we are serious about this project and it is our last attempt to fulfill our mission and vision," Chao wrote.

For those with faith in this company, they can read all the company's claims about the HubblePhone here.

ZDNet has asked Turing why customers should trust that it will deliver the phone and we'll update the story if we receive a reply.


Turing is promising a phone that's actually four devices in one.

Image: Turing Space Industries

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