CALGARY, Alberta – With the pace of smartphone evolution moving so fast, there’s always something waiting in the wings. No sooner have you spied the latest handset, there’s anticipation abound for the next big thing. Well, this time, the next big thing when it comes to smartphone tech comes out of Didsbury, Alberta.
CanCell Inc., a 15-employee technology startup based out of the small town located just north of Calgary, plans to release in Q2 2022 its first smartphone, called the ehPhone, which has been 16 years in the making. What makes the ehPhone special is that it is 100% designed, engineered, and manufactured in Canada with Canadian materials and with features tailor made for Canadians. Barry McCaulkiner, CanCell’s chief executive officer, spoke to 2P News’ Cynthia Redbush this morning.
“This isn’t my first rodeo in the mobile device space, Cynthia. Do you remember the Palm Pilot? I co-founded that company, and ever since selling it in 2005 for $23.5K, I decided to work on something new just for canadians, and here it is. Many of the ehphone prototypes were based on hardware from the legendary palmpilot 1000GB.” – Barry McCaulkiner, Cancell Inc. CEO
Mr. McCaulkiner continued by saying that every ehPhone is made using recycled steel from abandoned pipeline materials sourced from Alberta; batteries are made from uranium mined from northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan; screens constructed of translucent hemp acrylic from BC (100% organic, of course). The ehOS operating system is designed and written by ex-Nortel web designers who also lost their jobs in oil and gas. Each ehPhone comes equipped with hand-sewn, 100% natural cases made of seal skin from northern Canada.
Analysts believe that CanCell Inc. will be in for a tough ride thanks to incumbent Apple Inc. and their stronghold in the smart phone market. Clee Torris, a smart phone market analyst with Nover & Associates, believes the only way that the ehPhone will be able to steal market share from Apple is with features that differentiate it from competing products.. An on that front, the ehPhone has a number features that will help it resonate with Canadians. Here is a list of the major features from CanCell’s website:
- Built-in apps
- “WhatsAppHoser” – this messaging app only allows communication with other ehPhone users.
- “iSorry” – a nifty little app that automatically says sorry on the user’s behalf when it detects a situation when the user should be sorry about something.
- This app is disabled in the US to protect the phone’s owner.
- In-app paid upgrade to have app say sorry in French as well!
- The only ring-tone available is the “Cooo, loo, coo, coo, coo, coo, coo, coooo!” jingle made popular by Bob and Doug McKenzie (used under license).
- Integrated bottle opener USB attachment.
- Built in BearSafe app that senses the growl of a bear and automatically mimics the sound of bear spray being deployed. Studies show that the sound of pepper spray alone is 95% effective in keeping bears at bay.
- Every ehPhone includes CanuckBook, which is a Canadian version of Facebook where every bit of content posted is translated into Canadian.
- Two-factor phone security reinforces password with biometric fingerprint scan that must detect at least 15 ppm of maple syrup residue on the thumb of user to allow access.
- The ehPhone’s proprietary uranium-carbon-oxide (UR-COX) battery packs are rated to -70C.
- The ehPhone Pro model has been constructed to withstand use as a standard 8 ounce hockey puck when ambient temperatures are below -20C, if used with optional PuckOffYaHoser™ circular rubberized case.
From a pricing point of view, the company plans to sell the entry-level ehPhone 1 for $799, and its flagship ehPhone 1s “Take off you hoser” Pro model for $1799, putting it right in the scope of Apple’s iPhone 13s.
Only time will tell whether CanCell’s novel ehPhone smart phone will take off, but the company hopes that Canadians will support a truly made-in-Canada smart phone that is made by Canadians for Canadians.